You may not know it, but Charlotte is a hotbed of poetry and spoken word art. In August, 2012, the city hosted the National Poetry Slam, the Olympics for poets, for the second time. More than 70 poetry teams from around the world competed, among them two home-grown Charlotte groups, SlamCharlotte and Respect Da Mic. You can see these poets and other local talent at poetry readings and open mics around town, as they prepare to compete in this year’s National Poetry Slam, as well as other competitions such as the Women of the World Poetry Slam in March, the Individual World Slam in October, and the Southern Fried Poetry Slam, scheduled for June in nearby Greenville, SC. If the muse moves you, sign up for a class and join their ranks.
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
551 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Date: Second Saturday of each month – writing workshop 12 p.m, youth showcase 1 p.m., poetry slam 2 p.m.One of Charlotte’s nationally ranked poetry slam teams gives workshops monthly at the Gantt Center in Charlotte’s Uptown. The events, usually held on the second Saturday of the month, depending on the center’s schedule, include a free poetry writing workshop, followed by the free “Spit Dat” teen slam, open to youths 12 to 18, and an adult slam or open mic. Team Respect Da Mic reached the semi-finals in national competition in both 2007 and 2012.Related: Best Bookstores In Charlotte
McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
Charlotte NC 28202
Date: Third Friday of each month – 8 p.m.Winners of the National Poetry Slam in 2007 and 2008, SlamCharlotte hosts a monthly slam at Spirit Square. Twelve poets, including out-of-town visitors, compete for cash prizes and the right to compete on the regional and national levels. Founded in 2003 by Terry Creech, the city’s longest running slam team is now under the direction of Slam Master Boris “Bluz” Rogers who ranked 13th in the world in 2007. The Grand Slam Finals, scheduled for April 19, will determine the top four poets on the slam team competing at the National Poetry Slam in August this year.
2000 South Blvd., Suite 610
Charlotte, NC 28203
Date: Last friday of each month – 7 to 9 p.m.Poetry readings take place on the last Friday of the month at this wine bar and retail store in South End’s Atherton Mills. Main Street Rag Publishing and the Iodine Poetry Journal, a local publication edited by Jonathan K. Rice, sponsor the events. The free evenings begin with featured readers followed by open mic poetry. Rice also hosts poetry readings on the second Thursday of the month at Jackson’s Java in the University area.Related: Best Open Mic Venues in Charlotte
3306N. Davidson St.
Charlotte, NC 28205
Date: Thursdays 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Price: $10, $15 after 11 p.m.Located in the heart of NoDa, Wine Up sponsors the Respect Da Mic poetry slam team and hosts a smoke-free evening of poetry every Thursday. The “We Are Art” evenings, organized by Touch One Productions, begin with live music and open mic poetry, followed at 11 p.m. by a featured spoken word performance. Specials on drinks and billiards are available during and after the performance. Wine Up is a private club, with membership applications available on its website.
With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.