Would you be surprised to learn that St. Louis is home to a plethora of artistic outlets for talented poets? It’s true. There are several monthly readings (especially during the academic year), a series of free workshops for budding poets and even a poetry slam competition for those who like their poetry fast and furious. If you love language, take time to visit some of these events.
River Styx at the Tavern of Fine Arts
Tavern of Fine Arts
313 Belt Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63112
River Styx is a nonprofit literary and arts publication based in St. Louis. Poets and writers published in the magazine have gone on to become US Poets Laureate and Nobel Prize winners, as well as recipients of Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards and other recognition. The publication has hosted a season of poetry readings since 1975. This is the longest-running and most recognized poetry event in the city, sometimes packing the house with scores of guests. In 2012, the readings moved to the Tavern of Fine Arts in the Central West End. The popular series runs September through May. Readings begin at 7:30 p.m. on the third Monday of every month. Admission is $5.
St. Louis Poetry Center’s Sunday Workshops
University Center Library Auditorium
6702 Delmar Blvd.
University City, MO 63130
If you are a budding poet, you need to know about this series of free workshops. Each month, the Poetry Center brings in a noted poet/critic to comment on pre-submitted works in a supportive group environment. Submit your poem in advance and even if it’s not the work chosen for commentary, you will receive some written critique. These workshops are free and open to the public; you do not need to submit a poem to attend. Workshops are held the third Sunday of every month from September through April at 1:30 p.m. See the Poetry Center’s website for details about submission and guest poets.
Fort Gondo Poetry Series
3151 Cherokee St.
St. Louis, MO 63118
This series is one of the newest in St. Louis, but has a lot of energy surrounding it. The readings are popular, often packing the house, and the event has already been named Top Literary Event in St. Louis Magazine‘s 2012 A-List. Readers are a mix of local and national names. All Along Press sponsors the event and produces unique letterpress broadsides for each poet, binding them into an anthology at the season’s end. Readings take place monthly through the academic year, on Fridays at 7 p.m. Watch the Fort Gondo website for dates of upcoming events.
St. Louis Poetry Center’s Observable Readings
7260 Southwest Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63143
St. Louis Poetry Center’s reading series won the Riverfront Times “Best Of” award in 2012. The series is held in the very casual Crown Room at Schlafly Bottleworks, so you can enjoy some hometown boutique brews with your local poets. The poets chosen to read are published and prizewinning authors. Readings begin at 8 p.m. on selected Monday evenings. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is requested. Visit the St. Louis Poetry Center website for dates, poets and other information.
The Saint Louis Poetry Slam
The Focal Point
2720 Sutton Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63143
What is a poetry slam? It’s a competition of the spoken word. Poets recite their work aloud and each performance is judged by selected members of the audience. At the Saint Louis Poetry Slam, the event is opened with a reading from the “I Ching,” then a featured poet gives a performance. The competition is in two rounds, with an intermission in between. The winner receives a $50 cash prize, a contract to distribute his/her work and a chance to compete for a position on the National Slam Team. The event takes place on the third Wednesday of every month, with doors opening at 8 p.m. and the show beginning at 9 p.m. Admission is $5. Food and drinks are available via the adjoined Maya Café.
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Lauren Haas is a writer who specializes in finding the fun! Lauren was the publisher of the St. Louis Area Family Gazette for eight years, and now writes freelance articles on St. Louis events and attractions, budget travel, arts and entertainment and fitness topics. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.