A Noob's Guide to Experiencing Live Poetry and Spoken Word in Dallas
To develop this guide, I spoke with some of the city's most prolific and involved poets, to find which venues had the most competitive slams, and which provided the best front row seat to Dallas' best poets. "Every venue is a different experience," says local poet Duane Madden . "It's like a different counseling session on different days of the week. Spoken Word is therapy."
"There are a lot of hidden gems," adds Alexandra Marie, Co-Slam Master, Dallas Poetry Slam. "If one takes the time to look."
Mad Swirl (above)
When: 8 p.m., first Wednesday of the month
Where: Absinthe Lounge, 1409 South Lamar, Dallas
What to expect: A dark, musical affair, the basement of Absinthe Lounge hosts a small yet intimate gathering of poetry enthusiasts. The ability to smoke (once you become a quick member) adds to a noirish mood to the narrow space, where women in cocktail dresses split walls of smoke with swaying hips. Jazzy interludes and stiff Martinis make this one of the most laid back poetry events of the month.
Natty Roots and Rhyme
When: 9 pm. Second and fourth Wednesday
Where: Jamaica Gates Caribbean Cuisine, 1020 W. Arkansas, Arlington
What to expect: Local poet Princess McDowell, a frequent performer here, describes the event as "a place where even if you've never been, it feels like home. Everybody makes you feel welcome. The music, the good, the vibes, the people -- you'll be cracking up with people like y'all were old friends by the end of the night."
Sweet Rose Poetic Saturdays
When: 8 p.m., Saturdays
Where: Sweet Rose Coffee & Wine Bar, 1030 W. Arkansas, Arlington
What to expect: Again, McDowell: "Although a newer venue, if you want to hear great poetry, it's there. It's a beautiful space with a warm owner. Try their pound cake if you're there. Host B. Randall always has quality local features who deliver."
Dallas Poetry Slam & Open Mic
When: 8 pm. Fridays
Where: Heroes Bar and Grill, 7402 Greenville, Dallas
What to expect: Where hip-hop and poetry meet. Many of Dallas' behind-the-scenes members of the hip-hop scene frequent this event. Mga-Czar, Simon Phoenix, Satori Ananda and Mic Smith have attended and/or performed. In addition to the open mic, top poets are chosen to join the Dallas Poetry Slam, giving them an opportunity to compete in individual and team competitions on the local, regional and national level.