Best Open-Mike Poetry Reading (2000)


Usually an open reading serves a particular clique, but when Mike Alexander started running things at the Mausoleum, he made an effort to create the kind of environment where anti-intellectual anarchists could follow the academic folks from the creative writing programs. A selected poet opens the reading every Wednesday at 9 p.m., and poets who sign up to read are randomly called up to the stage, with rotating hosts. Just about every subgroup of poetry is represented here. Angst-ridden teenage death poems, Afrocentric rants and political rallying cries can be heard the same evening as AIDS poems, the sappy-rhymed verse of bored housewives and even the poetry of a staff-wielding regular known as Merlin. The night we were there, a drunken redneck staggered in, as if looking for some venue with a liquor license that hadn't banned him from the premises. "What is this -- open-fag poetry night?" he kept shouting after each shot glass he emptied. Yes, sir, it is. And it ain't too bad.


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