Poetry, Buffet Style: Locating DC's Popular Open Mics

One of my son’s favorite stories is the classic “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” by Eric Carle.

"On Monday, the caterpillar ate through one apple and he was still hungry. On Tuesday he ate through two pears and he was still hungry.” The story goes on for each day of the week until the caterpillar is full and in a cocoon.

Like the book, the DC poetry scene is a smorgasbord of Webster’s finest, and if you are lucky, by the time you get to Saturday you will be full and ready to reflect on words spoken from people who walk different paths in life.

On Monday, you can venture out to The Movement’s weekly open mic at Bar Nun and munch on the rhythms of the mighty Sound Poets who back up artist from Roots Reggae, to the love-struck poet, the revolutionary poet, or the hip-hoper wannabe. R&B’s hippie Raheem DeVaughn started there, and each week you may very well walk up on the next big act to come out of Washington. Celebrating 10 years, Bar Nun boasts the longest running open mic in the city, and if you don’t want to listen to open mic, you can go upstairs to the Luv Lounge and participate in a talk show-style panel discussions on the battle of the sexes, hosted by DJ One Luv.

On Tuesday, D.C.’s hottest hangout spot Busboys and Poets, brings you a different host each week and every type of poet under the sun. With a name inspired by the classic American poet Langston Hughes who, like most poets, had another job as a busboy, this restaurant, bookstore, theater, lounge and full bar offers a buffet of artistry with a activism spirit.

On Wednesday, Artmesphere, in Mount Rainer cooks up a delectable stew of poets and music with DC’s local band Tri-flava, and hosted by Bomani Armah. In it’s early stages, Artmesphere runs across the boarder into Maryland’s artsy district.

On Thursday, Mocha Hut, which sits on historic black Broadway at 1318 U Street, a stone throw away from the Lincoln Theatre, you will find Droopy the Brokeballer and Dwayne B serving you urban chic at it’s finest, with a banana waffle and a cup of coffee on the side. Mocha Hut offers eager open micers, and funny satire between each poet.

On Friday, once the weather breaks, Sankofa on Georgia Avenue cooks up outside. The coffee shop recently opened, and along with political and personal prose, Sankofa also offers films and books to discuss over a selection of teas and coffees.

So there you have it: fill up, go home each night and crawl into your cocoon with some food for thought. Reflecting on new perspectives, you’ll become a beautiful butterfly.

For an extensive listing of all the open mics in DC and around the country visit www.4luvofpoetry.com. There are other monthly shows and weekly shows around town.

3311 Road Island Ave.
Mt. Rainer, Md.
7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Bar Nun
1326 U St. N.W.
Washington, D.C.
Doors open at 8 p.m.

Busboys and Poets
1390 V St. N.W.
Washington, D.C.
Doors open at 7 p.m.

Mocha Hut
1318 U Street
Washington, D.C.
8 to 11 p.m.

2714 Georgia Ave. N.W.
Washington D.C.

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