Write Riot!

January 11, 2015

The Write Riot SlamThis is a guest post by Jessica Lohafer.

The first thing you have to know about poetry slam is that it’s a gimmick, a sneaky way to get people to come to a poetry reading. Now, I love going to readings, but that’s my gig. I’m a poet. I’m also a literary arts organizer, which means I know how hard it can be to get people to come out for poetry. Here’s the trick: people come to see what all the fuss is about, for the competition, for the drinks, but they stay because they end up experiencing something magic, something different. Live poetry is personal, it connects us. It reminds us to pay attention.

These things were on my mind when I started the Write Riot Poetry Slam. We meet at the Honey Moon (Bellingham, WA), on the third Thursday of the month at 8:00 pm. At our inaugural show, I was completely blown away by the support we received; the place was packed, standing room only. The best part of it, for me, was seeing all of these different literary scenes collide. I have had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful writers in Bellingham, and I’ve never understood why they weren’t all meeting each other. Looking around the room that night, I saw people I had met when poetrynight was at Stuart’s, I saw creative writing professors from Western, students, young people, slightly less young people, friends from Village Books. We were all there together. Nervous. Excited. Waiting to see what magic we could make.

I don’t know what the next show will bring, but I do know this. This subdued town is showing up for poetry. And I can’t wait to hear what they’ve got to say. Join us, won’t you?

The next Write Riot will be Thursday, January 15, 2014 and the feature will be Dee Dee Chapman.
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Jessica LohaferJessica Lohafer is a poet, feminist, and bartender out of Bellingham, WA, whose work has appeared in Whatcom Magazine, The Noisy Water Review, Thriving Thru The Winter: A Pacific Northwest Handguide and Your Hands, Your Mouth. Her collection of poetry, What’s Left to Be Done, was published by Radical Lunchbox Press in 2009. She recently received her MFA in poetry from Western Washington University. Currently, she works as the Chuckanut Writers Conference Planner. She has an ongoing collection of stories and poetry at lohafer.wordpress.com.

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