***2020-2022 Note: Obviously, everything on this page is in flux right now because of the pandemic. I’ll leave this page up, but please keep that in mind. You may have to do some internet searching to make sure any event listed here is still happening, and/or happening in some other space or format. Also, be sure to check out my new spoken word resources hub.***
Things are always changing, events come and go, but here’s an introduction to the spoken word and slam poetry scene in the Twin Cities. This is not a comprehensive list, just a starting point. Be sure to check out the individual websites, as some dates, times and locations are subject to change. Dive in! I wrote up a more basic guide to getting involved here too.
Re-Verb Open Mic (all ages)
Organized and hosted by TruArtSpeaks, this open mic is intimate and supportive, with optional feedback from the audience. There’s also a writing workshop every first Thursday of the month. Link.
The Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series (teens)
This is a series of slams and workshops working toward an end goal of selecting a team to represent Minnesota at the annual Brave New Voices international youth poetry slam festival. It takes place every January through March, and also features the Flip the Script! youth writing and performance conference every February. Be sure to check out the TruArtSpeaks site for more information.
Button Poetry LIVE
Formerly known as the home slam of the two-time National Poetry Slam champion Soap Boxing team, this event is now a poetry slam with a high-profile feature organized by Button Poetry. Button also organizes non-slam readings featuring touring artists regularly. FB page.
The Free Black Table
The Free Black Table is a free of charge, all ages open mic, dedicated to the writings of black artists and people of color. It isn’t on a specific schedule, but happens fairly regularly. Check out Black Table Arts for more, including a writing group called Black Lines Matter.
Urban Lights is a record store, but occasionally has open mics too. Link.
Poets and Pints
Long-running poetry reading w/ featured performers and an open mic. Link.
Equilibrium at the Loft Literary Center
This isn’t an open mic, but it’s one of the best ongoing spoken-word series in the Twin Cities. EQ highlights spoken word artists of color. Link.
Loft Literary Center Writing Groups and Classes
Lots to explore here, especially for people looking to build community. Link.
Camp Bar Open Mic
“Open Mic night at the Camp Bar in downtown Saint Paul Minnesota! Come join us most Monday nights around 9:30pm and listen, laugh and learn!” FB page.
Fifth Element Hip Hop Open Mic
This open mic caters to Hip Hop artists; check the schedule here.
College Slams and Open Mics
Hamline, Macalester, the U of MN, MCTC and Carleton all have (or had) regular slams or open mics that are big and fun. Other colleges and universities in town probably do as well. I linked to the ones I could find, but a quick google or Facebook search should turn something up for your school. And usually, you don’t have to be a student to watch the show or even sign up to perform.
Story Club Minneapolis
“The premiere open mic for true personal stories in Minneapolis… The Story Club stage showcases true personal stories like The Moth does, but without judges, scores or competition.” Find dates/times/locations here.
BALLS is an experimental cabaret open to artists of any and all disciplines at any and all levels of experience; every Saturday night at midnight at the Southern Theater. Link.
Eclectica (and other Avant Garde events)
Last I updated this list, this was a new open mic presented by The Avant Garde at Reverie Cafe & Bar. That organization, though, does a bunch of open mic-style events. Check out their site for more.
Slam MN Poetry Slam
Looks like Slam MN is back! Check out Word Sprout for the umbrella organization that runs other shows too.
Well-Placed Commas: A Weekly Poetry Workshop
Sundays, 12-2pm; More information here.
OUTspoken Queer Open Mic
“OUTspoken! is the Twin Cities’ queer open mic. We empower queer voices and identities by building community through artistic expression. All are welcome!” via Word Sprout.
The New Sh!T Show Minneapolis
Started in San Francisco by poets Sam Sax and Nic Alea, the New Sh!t Show is now a chain of performance series across the United States in which performers and audience members are treated to something they’ve never seen before — the new shit. Performers from all walks of art debut brand new material meant to encourage creativity and liven discussion about the Twin Cities performance scene. Via Word Sprout.
This is a slam-style show for storytellers, featuring different story topics each month. Via Word Sprout.
Freedom of Xpression Open Mic
Emerging artists of all ages are invited to take part in the Capri Theater’s monthly Freedom of Xpression open mic sessions. Performing artists in all genres, including music, spoken word/poetry, and dance are welcome. Website link (may not be running right now).
Word of Mouth Open Mic
Happening January-April 2018 and potentially beyond. Switches between the Rice Street Library and In Progress, both in Saint Paul. Link (may not be running right now).
Other events and organizations you should know about:
Strike Theater: has open mics and a range of theater and spoken word events.
Word Sprout: an organization that organizes lots of spoken-word and storytelling events.
League of MN Poets: organizes contests, readings, retreats, and more.
Kulture Klub Collaborative: “Engaging art and artistic practice to provide enriching multidisciplinary opportunities for youth experiencing homelessness.” Regularly hosts open mics. Link.
The Asian American Literary Collective‘s mission is “to create a community of Asian American writers to learn about our collective past, to explore our identity in the Asian diaspora, and to support our literary pursuits moving forward.”
Poetry Asylum: new! “dedicated to poetry and refuge and freedom. run by poets su hwang and sun yung shin. based in minneapolis.”
err “is an artist collective that features emerging artists at their monthly events in the name of art, community, and collaboration.”
Palabristas: “Originally a Minnesota-based collective of poets, spoken word artists, writers of chican@/latin@ heritage– members of the Palabristas now live in Minnesota.”
Speakers of the Sun: “a collective of Asian American activists and spoken word artists in the Twin Cities focused on cultivating artistic voice and providing a space for growth.”
There’s also the MN Spoken Word Association, the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, Intermedia Arts, the Saint Paul Almanac, the Canvas, SteppingStone Theater, the Fallout Urban Arts Center, and many other spaces and organizations that host open mics. This list is only a starting point!