Since April became National Poetry Month in 1996, the Academy of American Poets has worked to celebrate and recognize up-and-coming, seasoned and past poets. Los Angeles knows how to live it up for the art of the written word. Browse the best venues to hear late, great and budding poetic brilliance here.
Santa Catalina Branch Library
Price: most events free
Hours: click here for event dates and times
The 2012 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival kicks-off April 7 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., during which anyone can read an original poem or simply listen to the works of others. Each poet will have a chance to win $100 if his or her name is drawn out at the end of the reading. Similar opportunities to exhibit work and to listen to others’ inspiration are scheduled for April 14, 21 and 28. To participate, poems must be submitted by designated dates on the library’s website above.
Poets Jazz House at Vibrations
Hours: Thurs – 8 p.m. to midnight
Vibrations is an event space in Inglewood used for arts exhibits, book signings, lectures, private parties, and more, but on Thursday evenings it hosts an open mic night of poetry and music during which poets stand up to speak about what is on their minds, what they’re grateful for, and about their pasts and their futures using beautiful words that sometimes rhyme or simply flow smoothly. Over 800 friends of the Poets Jazz House socialize also online on its Facebook page.
Tia Chucha Centro Cultural
Hours: Fri – 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.; spanish first and second Wed every month – 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Aside from being a bookstore and a coffee shop, Tia Chucha offers a place for poets and musicians to gather and share their muses. Friday is open mic night for poetry, songs, stories and spoken word in general. Some Fridays also showcase well-known poets and artists. Tia Chucha opens its doors to poets who write in Spanish as well, with an open mic night the first and second Wednesday of the month. Visit Tai Chucha’s Facebook page for details and exciting events.
Beyond Baroque is a center dedicated to advancing public awareness about the literary arts. Its events include poetry readings, screenwriting workshops, book readings and films screenings. Its most popular open reading happens the first Sunday of each month at 5 p.m. at no charge, but the venue also hosts poetry readings by well-known poets for which there usually a $10 cover charge at the door. There is an event almost every day of the week at Beyond Baroque: see its schedule here.
Hours: Tues – 8:10 pm
Coffee Cartel often features a known poet on its Tuesday nights, but even when it does not, The Redondo Poets host an open reading. Everyone is invited to participate by signing up for the open mic starting at 7:50 p.m. The schedule of featured poets is available on the website listed above and or on The Redondo Poets’ Facebook page.
Dena Burroughs is a freelance writer living in Azusa, CA. She is a CSULA graduate with specialties in Creative Writing and Communications. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.