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Best Venues For Spoken Word and Poetry Readings In DFW

Dallas and Fort Worth have many rich and varied spoken word venues from readings by internationally renowned authors to "slams" featuring school age children and adults. Slams provide an avenue for poets to share their work with an enthusiastic audience. They are not hip-hop battles, but rather a diverse literary performances that takes weeks, sometimes months, to prepare and choreograph. Celebrate National Poetry Month this April with some of these amazing spoken word events in the Dallas and Forth Worth areas.

DMA-Dallas Museum of Art
(credit: Dallas Museum of Art)

Dallas Museum of Art Arts & Letters Live
1717 North Harwood
Dallas TX 75201
(214) 922-1818

Hours: Tues to Wed—11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thurs—11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fri to Sun—11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
See calendar of events

The Dallas Museum of Art presents an exciting literary and performing arts series for all ages. Arts & Letters Live features award-winning authors and performers of regional, national and international acclaim. This series is known for inventively combining literature with visual arts, music and dance. Many artists and writers use the DMA's extensive art collection for inspiration. In the spring of 2011, the museum joined forces with The Dallas Opera for the highly acclaimed world premiere of "A Question of Light: Six songs for Baritone and Piano." Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer used museum masterpieces as their muse.

Mad Swirl Open Mic

Mad Swirl Open Mic
Absinthe Lounge
1409 South Lamar, Suite 008
Dallas, TX 75215
(214) 941-9338

Price: Free admission
Hours: Mon to Fri—4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sat to Sun—6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Performances every first Wednesday of the month at 8:30 p.m.

Mad Swirl Open Mic hosted by Johnny O features poets, musicians, actors and singers. Located in the charming Absinthe Lounge, the venue is cool place nestled in an artistic district in the south part of downtown Dallas. Mad Swirl and Absinthe Lounge have a seven year history of providing creative entertainment inside the historic million-square-foot warehouse-style loft building of South Side on Lamar. Enjoy a poetry reading at Mad Swirl and make a night of it or explore other live entertainment venues within walking distance.

Brooklyn Jazz Cafe

Brooklyn Jazz Cafe Presents Sunday Spoken' (Grown Folks)
1701 South Lamar
Dallas, TX  75215
(214) 428-0025

Price: Free admission
Hours: Every Sunday night 7 p.m. to 9
Performers info: Mike Guinn (972) 704-5001

Right around the corner from the Absinthe Lounge and close to the South Side on Lamar Lofts is the Brooklyn Jazz Café. Smoke-free and known for its incredible jazz music, delicious food and laid-back atmosphere, this delightful historical venue hosts some of the nation's hottest national and local poets. After the DFW Spoken Word performances enjoy an after party with artist D.J. Twin.

I am Poetry by Mike Guinn by EliteVideoHQ on YouTube

Celebrating the Legacy of Spoken Word
Dallas Cultural Center
3400 South Fitzhugh
Dallas TX 75210
(214) 939-2787

Free admission, parking and free giveaways
Hours: Held every third Thursday of the month, Open at 6:30 p.m.; show starts at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Mike Guinn (817) 412-3964

Hosted by the gifted poet Mike Guinn, the Legacy of the Spoken Word DFW Youth Slam Team invites teens and adults from all over North Texas to share their poems. Guinn is DFW's top poetry promoter and a youth empowerment specialist. This event features very talented poets from North Texas and encourages creativity in a smoke and drama free environment. Performers need to confirm with Mike Guinn in advance.

Related: Best of the Dallas Arts District

Dallas Poets Community
Half Price Books
Northwest Highway
5803 E. Northwest Hwy
Dallas, TX 75231
(214) 379-8000

Price: Free admission
Hours: Dallas Poets Community open mic first Friday of each month at 7 p.m.

The Dallas Poets Community provides a comfortable setting where writers can create their best poetry and share information about publishing, performing, contests and other venues of recognition. They provide workshops as well as open mic readings.

Mike Guinn Fort Worth Poetry Slam

The Fort Worth National Poetry Slams and Open Mic Meet Up
Hosted by Michael Guinn
Must become a member for location, day and time information

The Fort Worth National Poetry Slams and Open Mic Meet Up is the number one poetry slam in Texas. They do not turn away poets or performers if they arrive on time. Poets and spoken word artists share their work in a friendly multicultural environment. They showcase many types of performing artists including dancers, poets and comedy acts. The ultimate goal is to inspire and meld novice performance poets with veteran poets in an artistic mentorship. Contact Michael Guinn for more information.

Related: ArtLoveMagic:Celebrating positivity with art

Marilee Vergati, is an international award winning art director and writer. As a native Dallasite and fifth generation Texan, she brings a unique insight to her beloved state, its events, arts, ecology and people. Her work can be found on

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