Poetry is an art form; from a certain viewpoint, poetry shares a lot of similarities with all the other rich art forms that Las Vegas has grown as a city to offer. Through open mic, poetry has offered a form of theatricality that sets into motion a stage where drama, comedy and music come into play. These past years there has been a generation of venues that have come and gone and 2013 will be no different. Throughout the week there are a number of open mics available. Some venues are offered on a weekly basis while others are offered more sporadically.
Every Monday, The Beat Coffeehouse is home to a perennial favorite among locals: The Human Experience. This open mic has garnered acclaims throughout its run. The weekly open mic runs the gamut ranging from comedy, improv, to acoustic music, with poetry being a continued focal point. This open mic has gone through various hosts but has managed to create a sense of community for those individuals who go on a weekly trek to the cultural hot-spot of downtown. It starts at 7 p.m. and is 21 and over. They also usually have eat and drink specials, including their specialty: the Slap & Tickle, a peanut butter sandwich with bacon and jalapenos. The Human Experience is one of many types of venues that bring poetry to the community, helping the written word become more accessible and enriches those who have never experienced the art form.
A local venue that has helped feature local and touring poets throughout the years, with various names and myriad locations, is Word Up! now at The Freakin’ Frog. This open mic has been a mainstay of Las Vegas for more than ten years and has managed to attract an audience of all ages as it gives up-and-coming poets a chance to find the spotlight. The new venue brings an actual stage and spotlights for a more theatrical feel. Some of the other venues that can be found in the arts community are: The Poet’s Corner, which is the longest running open mic in Las Vegas; The J.A.M. at the Arts Factory (J.A.M. standing for “Just Art & Music”), which offers a mix of poetry features along with performers singing and reading their poetry backed by the band Interzone. Provoke Infusion Poetry at The Coffeehouse in Henderson is a new entry and has attracted quite a following since its inception. The newest venues include Writer’s Block Open Mic at New Town Tavern and BattleBorn Slam latest offering downtown at The Downtown Project’s Container Park. A great source to RSVP to all these poetry events is the Las Vegas Poets Meetup Group, available at the link. It is free to join and it allows members to create their own profiles, offer feedback, comments and add their own poetry venue or event to the calendar.
In November, the Las Vegas Poets Organization will once again bring poetry to the masses at the 2013 Vegas Valley Book Festival. This year is going to serve as a celebration of the written word and there will be pre-festival events as well. There will be more information available in the coming weeks online at www.lasvegaspoets.org. The festival is brought together with the help of the Nevada Arts Council and Nevada Humanities. In late July the poetry organization will begin to offer a bi-monthly poetry workshop and an official Meetup for the organization. The meeting will offer people the opportunity to discover ways it can bring poetry into the community and will allow poets to get feedback on their own work. There is so much opportunity available for those who look to the written and spoken word for their avenue of expression, and one can only see in the community a drive and passion to cultivate and environment where souls influence other souls; it is something that helps to bring generations together, something that represents the mutual accord of the mind and spirit, and something that as artists everyone craves. Poetry is alive and well in Las Vegas and one can only look to themselves to bring the next chapter of the scene.