Poetry readings in London.
August 10, 2005 6:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for poetry readings and literary events in London.

I'm going to be in London in October, and fancy attending some poetry/spoken word/literary readings; I'm interested both in performing my own stuff (open mics are good, feature gigs that I can tee up before I go are better) and generally getting a feel for the local scene.

I'm especially hoping for personal recommendations (Googling turns up some gig guides, but it's hard to know which readings are good ones) for events that are sharp, snappy, fun, and well-attended. Anyone here into this sort of thing?
posted by hot soup girl to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For current listings, try the Visit London site, and click on poetry in the search box. Another source would be Time Out: London, available at any good international magazine store.
posted by rob511 at 10:48 PM on August 10, 2005

You'd start well at the Sable Poetry listings, and this open mic. I've heard good reports about Battersea Arts Centre. And the Foundry on a Sunday is... interesting.
posted by holgate at 11:17 PM on August 10, 2005

You'll probably be wanting the performance poetry crowd (who tend to gather in rooms above pubs). I've been out of the scene for just long enough that all the names of venues I can remember are turning up blanks.

The Poetry Society

The Poetry Cafe
Open mikes here. There used to be occasional slams, if attitudinality is your thing. I'm getting old, so it's all a bit shouty for me. I remember that people flyer the place quite heavily, so it'll be a good place to start.

More interactive:
Aforementioned slammery.

Express Excess
The one name I can remember that still has a site attached to it. All the people on that page are worth seeing, in particular John Cooper Clarke (original punk poet - very funny, if a bit stylised these days); John Hegley (dogs, glasses and a curious way of emphasising rhymes, but great) and Francesca Beard (low key, musical, sort of trip-hop performance poetry, unless she's discovered a more aggressive form of music in the last couple of years).

Of course your quest is inevitably going to involve some acts so bad that you'll be gnawing at your feet in search of distraction and interminably painful nights in horrible venues, so you might as well start preparing yourself now. It's all part of the fun.

Oh, and see Rachel Pantechnicon, if you can.

Remind me in September, and I'll email a couple of people who might have better and more up-to-date information (sorry if that's not very AskMeFi)
posted by Grangousier at 12:32 AM on August 11, 2005

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