2020-2023 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. I’ve tried to list the *currently-running* events first in this list:
Re-Verb Open Mic (all ages)
Organized and hosted by TruArtSpeaks, this open mic is intimate and supportive, with optional feedback from the audience.
Poets and Pints
Long-running poetry reading w/ featured performers and an open mic. Also has a FB group.
Something New: BuckSlam
“Give a buck, win a buck: admission is pay what you can and the winner gets one whole dollar: don’t spend it all in one place! Find the clearing in your schedule, second Wednesdays of every month at Boneshaker Books.”
Loft Literary Center Events, Writing Groups, and Classes
Lots to explore here, especially for people looking to build community. Link.
Button Poetry LIVE
For a few years, Button ran a monthly poetry slam; that’s not happening at the moment, but Button still organizes the occasional book release show, reading, and other poetry events. Button also offers some great virtual classes.
The Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series
In the past, this has been 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, thought it’s been evolving in the past few years. Be Heard generally takes place every January through March, and also features the Flip the Script! youth writing and performance conference. Be sure to check out the TruArtSpeaks site for more information.
Word Sprout (and Strike Theater) Events
From the old Slam MN poetry slams, to the Well-Placed Commas workshop, to the OUTspoken Queer Open Mic, to the New Sh!t Show, to Story Slams and beyond, Word Sprout has organized or co-sponsored lots of cool stuff over the years. Like everything on this list, it isn’t all currently running, but definitely good to have on your radar. Links: Word Sprout website and FB. Strike Theater website and FB.
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.
College Slams and Open Mics
Macalester still has a monthly slam, as of this writing. Hamline, the U of MN, MCTC and Carleton all have had regular slams or open mics in the past. 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.
Urban Lights is a record store, but occasionally has open mics too. Link.
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.
Fifth Element Hip Hop Open Mic
This open mic caters to Hip Hop artists; though I don’t think it’s currently running.
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.
This list is definitely just a first step into a larger world, and is almost certainly missing stuff. Aside from what’s already listed above, there are also events and programs from Kulture Klub Collaborative, the League of MN Poets, the Asian American Literary Collective, Poetry Asylum, the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, Palabristas, Cracked Walnut, and many other organizations, events, formations, and collectives. Dive in.
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