THROW OPEN THE DOORS! LIVE OPEN-MIC POETRY RETURNS TO VENUES

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Live, open-mic poetry is back, in case you hadn’t noticed! All around the country local groups have been returning to venues they haven’t performed at since the first lockdown in March 2020. And new open-mic nights have started up, too. Last Sunday night in Lewes veteran performance poet Janine Booth launched Spoaken Word, aided by guest poet and comrade Attila the Stockbroker, who is also Sussex-based (both pictured). A delighted Janine said: “It went very, very well.” She said the turnout was good, at more than 30, with “some excellent open mic turns. And a belter from our special guest Attila the Stockbroker. Lots of people commented on the warm, friendly and supportive atmosphere and promised to come every month (first Sunday, 7pm, The Royal Oak, Station Street).”

Another new night – well, afternoon - in the offing is at Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Spoken word at Monkton Arts on East Street will take place on Tuesday 21 September from 3.30pm to 5pm. No need to book, just turn up.

Meanwhile a long-established night – Puzzle Poets at Sowerby Bridge – have been celebrating their return to the Navigation Inn on Monday night, posting on Facebook: “Everyone who came, we are nothing without you. Next month we'll have our first post lockdown guest. It's been a weird old year but we're back and your words and generosity of spirit make us what we are. See y'all next month.”

What about Write Out Loud’s own nights? Well, Write Out Loud Wigan is returning to the Old Courts arts centre in Wigan, but retaining its well-established Zoom sessions as a separate night. It will be Zooming this Thursday 9 September, as will Write Out Loud Woking. On Thursday 14 October there’s a live event relaunch at the Old Courts, and live nights will continue on the second Thursday of the month after that. The event is moving to the Bailiff Bar rather than the Holding Cell as the room is bigger, in terms of Covid safety. Write Out Loud Wigan’s Zoom event will continue on the fourth Thursday of each month.

Meanwhile in Woking they’re Zooming this coming Thursday (9 September), and returning to the Lightbox art gallery live venue on the last Thursday of the month (30 September). There will be separate live and Zoom events each month after that.

◄ ​​​​​​​100 Poems to Save the Earth, eds. Zoë Brigley and Kristian Evans, Seren

Paul Muldoon on bill at Winchester festival's live weekend ►

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