Back in 2010, during my college years, one of our professors had taken us to a poetry slam at the Boat Club in Bandra. We were quite excited to be part of something like that—reciting your work amidst a group of strangers. However, over the past few years, a lot of these poetry venues were taken over by stand-up comedy, the flavour of the decade, it seems. But with the enterprising and creative efforts of some, poetry nights are making a comeback.
So pen down free verses and head to these cool venues to showcase your talent!
1. Tuning Fork, Khar (W)
Located a few blocks away from Khar railway station, this year-old venue is the hub for up and coming writers in the city. Their poetry nights on Mondays have already seen some great talent—The Brown Girl’s Guide to Gender by Aranya Johar went on to become viral after it was recited on Women’s Day.
“The aura of words and magic that is created at Tuning Fork is commendable. Finally there is a cure for Monday blues. The best part of ranting your heart out is that the strangers sitting in front of you become so involved in your poetry that you lose yourself in that moment,” says 21-year-old Tathagata Bhowmik, a regular at Tuning Fork’s poetry nights.
2. Caferati @ Prithvi, Juhu
The fourth Monday of every month is a treat for poetry lovers at Prithvi Café. There are 25 slots for writers on first-come-first-serve basis. From Urdu shayari to English sonnets, bring your original writing and present it at a café full of ardent listeners. Fun fact: You can use wigs, props and costumes for your monologues. And if you are lucky, Shashi Kapoor himself might be present in the audience to listen to you.
3. Words Tell Stories at The Barking Deer, Lower Parel
Spoken word artist Rochelle DSilva’s monthly initiative, Words Tell Stories is a close-knit community of poets that encourages more and more artists to pursue poetry as a full-time commitment. Rochelle recently released her debut EP of six spoken word performances, and puts things in perspective about the poetry scene in Mumbai. “Everybody writes in the city. Writing poetry is a hobby for all, but I really want to see them dedicate more time and commitment to it,” she says. Their next event is on April 8, 4pm onwards. For updates, follow their Facebook page here.
4. The Poetry Club at G5A, Mahalaxmi
The Poetry Club of Mumbai, which has been passionately living up to its name, has found a permanent place for reading sessions at G5A. Head to the cultural space every third Sunday of the month, between 4pm and 7pm to participate. To join their mailing list for more events, write to them on [email protected]
5. Cat Café Studio, Versova
This is a unique combination: imagine cuddling furry cats while reciting your favourite lines! The open-mic event for poetry here is a great place for both literary lovers as well as animal enthusiasts. There are generally around 15 slots per session and a cover charge of Rs 200. While you will remember to carry your poetry, don’t forget your ID proof. Yes, that’s a weird rule but anything for poetry, right? The upcoming event is on April 8, from 7pm to 10.30pm.
The Big Mic is yet another initiative for arts and poetry lovers in Mumbai. They organise poetry nights at many different venues across the city. For updates, follow their Facebook page here.
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