Best Poetry Events In DFW

April 1, 2013 8:00 AM

(Photo by: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo by: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Every year since its inception in 1996, April has designated as National Poetry Month by the Academy of American Poets. The purpose of the month-long celebration is to bring awareness to the contributions of American poets, cultivate new works from children as well as from adults and increase the publication and distribution of poetic art. Karen Minzer, Executive Director of WordSpace, a literary organization that supports world literature in North Texas, said that many poetry workshops and competitions take place during the year and not just during National Poetry Month. WordSpace is in its 19th year and hosts author readings to help established and emerging artists connect with new audiences.

There are two types of poetic performance: open mic and slam. Open mic performances are done to encourage artists to express themselves through public performance. A slam is a competition with a time limit, specific rules and a point system for adhering to or breaking those rules. Judges decide who moves forward to the next round in a slam based on the points awarded during the poet’s performance. Some slam competitions have monetary awards. Audiences at a slam can cheer and boo at a poet’s performance.

Dallas Poets Community
Half Price Books
5803 E. Northwest Highway
Dallas, TX 75231
www.wordspacedallas.comDate: April 5 – 7:00 p.m.

Come for the writing workshop, stay for the open mike. This is free event is open to all ages but is mostly attended by adults college aged and older who want to gain assistance in creating poetry and practice in performing in front of an audience. Audience attendance varies from a small handful to a full room.

Dallas Poetry Slam Youth Series
Half Price Books
5803 E. Northwest Highway
Dallas, TX 75231

Date: April 6 – 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

This is appropriate for children age 13 to 17 years old. The workshop on writing poetry starts at 4:00 p.m. with a competition performance after the workshop starting at 5:00 p.m. and going until 6:00 p.m. The competition performance is a way for children to build their confidence in speaking in front of a group of people. This is a free and family-friendly event.

Mad Swirl At Absinthe Lounge

1409 S. Lamar St.
Dallas, Texas 75215

Date: April 3 – 8 p.m.

You will want to arrive early for this open mic night! The Mad Swirl at the Absinthe Lounge, located in the historic South Side on Lamar building, fills up quickly. You can sign up for one of the 17 spots available that evening to perform. First to come means first on the list to perform. Every kind of performer from singers including Elvis impersonators to circus acts and poets are welcomed. This is a gregarious group. Liquor is served at this adults-only establishment.

Related: 5 Must-Read Books By DFW Authors

Bill’s Records
1317 S. Lamar St.
Dallas, TX 75215
(214) 421-1500

Date: April 25 – 8:00 p.m.

Sign up early. This open mic starts at 8:00 p.m. In business since 1981, Bill Wisener, owner of Bill’s Records, is a lover of poetry. “Music is poetry and they go together,” said Wisener who donates the stage in his record store to promote monthly poetry readings. Wisener admitted that he wasn’t a lover of poetry when he was studying it in junior high school.Later on, when he opened his store, he grew to appreciate it.In the late 1990s, Bill’s Records hosted weekly poetry readings. “Whether it was written in English or other language, it doesn’t matter, poetry is beautiful.Sometimes you can’t express yourself in regular sentences. Poetry gives you the ability to communicate your feelings and thoughts in a different form,” said Wisener. Wisener works to promote poetry and currently hosts readings on the last Thursday of every month in his store. This is a free event.

McKinney Avenue Contemporary
3120 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 953-1212

Date: April 17 – 7:30 p.m.

Join poet and playwright Octavio Solis for an entertaining evening. Solis is considered to be one of the most prominent Latino playwrights of the century. He has authored of more than 20 plays. His works pull from the Mexican-American experience to bring to the forefront strong characters of realism in honesty and truth about life. Solis’s appearance is in conjunction with Kitchen Dog Theater’s rehearsal for his play “Se Llama Cristina,” scheduled as part of the New Works Festival Main Stage, May 24-June 22. General admission is $15, $10 for Kitchen Dog Theater and WordSpace subscribers.

Dallas Poetry Slam
Heroes Sports Bar
7402 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75231

Date: April 26 – 8:00 p.m.

Check out this poetry performance by Da’Shade Moonbeam. A two-time National Poetry Slam finalist and internationally ranked Slam Poet, Moonbeam covers a wide variety of topics including the exploitation of women, men and children through human-trafficking, slave labor, and sexual exploitation; love lost and obtained, happiness; and issues and tensions within the “hood.” Moonbeam calls himself an “artist” but the term in reference to him is multi-faceted. His says his talents include being martial artist, poet, emcee, actor, cinematographer, stage and film fight choreographer, photographer, film editor, script writer, sketch artists, teacher, mentor, sound constructor and a singer.As his list of artistic titles increases the one that can be seen at Dallas Poetry Slam will be that of a poet.

Related: Best Venues for Spoken Word and Poetry Readings in DFW

Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her
appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-
respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and
enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at