phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
Hammer & Tongue via Facebook

Top 5 Poetry and Spoken Word Events

4 October 2018 Billie Manning

London’s poetry and spoken word scene is thriving and there seems to be a new night popping up every week. In honour of National Poetry Day, we've collected the very best of what London has to offer, from old favourites to new starters. Here are five reasons you shouldn't just leave poetry to the prose...

Jawdance
Run at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, Jawdance basks in all the advantages of a big stage, big crowd and big poets. Yomi Sode brings his impeccable hosting skills to the night, getting the crowd buzzing for the performances: Jawdance has some of the best headliners around and is probably where you’ll go to see your favourite poets, but also brings 10 open mic-ers to the stage each night with a heart-stopping lottery system, meaning you could get the chance to share the stage with your heroes. If you want to get up on the stage for the first time, don’t be scared: first-timers are warmly welcomed with a special cheer. Entry is free – what have you got to lose?
 
Image Credit: Jawdance via Facebook

Jawdance is held on the third Wednesday of every month at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA.


Pen-Ting
Small but mighty, this up-and-coming hip-hop, politics and poetry night has only been at the Poetry Café for a year, but always draws huge crowds. In fact, the last few events have seen queues down the street and more than a few people turned away for lack of space. The intimate basement room is always absolutely electrified, with one of the most appreciative and passionate poetry audiences in the capital and a particularly high quality of open mic-ers. And for anyone wanting to show off their freestyle skills, a Pen-Ting evening always ends with a cipher.

Image Credit: Pen-Ting Poetry via Facebook
 
Pen-Ting runs on the third Thursday of every month at the Poetry Café, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX.

 
Hammer & Tongue
Hammer & Tongue is one of the behemoths of the slam world, hosting events all over the country, which culminate in their National Slam Finals at the Royal Albert Hall every January. The London branch events are held at The Book Club. The night is £8, making it one of the more expensive poetry nights, but it’s worth it, as they promise the hottest talents of the poetry scene, both in their features and in their open-mic slots.

Image Credit: Hammer & Tongue Hackney via Facebook
 
Hammer & Tongue Hackney takes place on the first Tuesday of every month at the Book Club, 100-106 Leonard St, London EC2A 4RH.

 
Spoken Word London
Spoken Word London is unique among London poetry and spoken word nights for several reasons. Firstly, after growing so much in popularity the queue started forming an hour and a half before doors opened, the event has gone fortnightly, being held on the first and third Wednesday of every month. Secondly, the event is made up solely of 20 five-minute open-mic slots, meaning you have a high chance of being able to perform. The atmosphere is really warm and friendly, making this a great place to share new work, as well as anything you think might not fit into traditional boundaries of poetry, spoken word or stand-up.

Image Credit: Spoken Word London via Facebook
 
Spoken Word London takes place every first and third Wednesday of the month at VFD, 66 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 7XB.

 
Genesis Poetry Slam
Hosted upstairs at the Genesis cinema at the Paragon Bar, this is London’s only regular 3-round poetry slam, and it’s a real proper slam too: scores, eliminations and a winner who moves on to a final slam at the end of the year. If you’re a poet who can bear having a numerical value assigned to your deepest thoughts and feelings, get yourself to the Genesis on the second Thursday of every month. This is also one of the most fun events to attend as a non-poet, as judges are chosen from the audience, so you could end up giving the scores! Adrenaline is always running high, so grab one of Paragon Bar’s delicious signature cocktails (the Apple Crumble is the perfect winter warmer) and settle in for an exciting night.

Image Credit: Genesis Poetry Slam via Facebook
 
The Genesis Poetry Slam takes place on the second Thursday of every month at the Genesis Cinema, 93-95 Mile End Rd, London E1 4UJ.


Bonus! If you want to celebrate National Poetry Day 2018 this weekend, there’s a lot going on! National Poetry Day Live takes place at the newly reopened Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre with performers including Anthony Anaxagorou, Caroline Bird. Apples and Snakes’ exciting immersive poetry experience Rallying Cry stands up against injustice while celebrating 30 years of Apples and Snakes’ work with Hannah Silva, Joelle Taylor and more, and Poet in the City hosts a Words & Wellness retreat at the Knowledge Quarter and Regents Place's ThoughtFest; an immersive experience where poets such as Rachel Long and Madi Maxwell-Libby will be writing and performing you bespoke poems to take away and encourage mindfulness.

Most popular

Win a craft beer tasting session for two!

London Beer Lab - Win a craft beer tasting session for two!

Grab a fellow beer-lover and head down to the London Beer Lab in Brixton for a unique craft beer tasting.
Win two tickets to a live screening of The Nutcracker!

Bolshoi Ballet - Win two tickets to a live screening of The Nutcracker!

As part of the 2018/19 Bolshoi Ballet in cinema season the company presents the quintessential Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker.
Five Alternative Christmas Light Displays in London

Five Alternative Christmas Light Displays in London

Forget frosty, these Christmas light displays are the coolest around
8 Magically Festive Family Christmas Shows

8 Magically Festive Family Christmas Shows

Children's Christmas shows that won't send you loopy as next door's wreath
Unmissable Quirky Christmas Days Out For Families

Unmissable Quirky Christmas Days Out For Families

Looking for something that will thrill the kiddos – and won’t bore your Christmas socks off?
Top 5 London Pantos 2018

Top 5 London Pantos 2018

Answering the important questions, like: which show throws the most Haribo into the crowd?
The Most Enchanting Christmas Cinema Experiences in London This Year

The Most Enchanting Christmas Cinema Experiences in London This Year

Get lost in a magical maze, transport yourself to Narnia and watch film around a frozen lake
This Week: 12 - 18 November

This Week: 12 - 18 November

See soul legends perform live, solve a murder and even take a trip to Japan, all within the confines of the capital
This Week: 26 November – 2 December

This Week: 26 November – 2 December

Relax and soak up the winter atmosphere
The Meet review: indulgent veganism for all

The Meet review: indulgent veganism for all

The Clapham-based pop-up certainly isn't a chaste-salad-with-a-side-of-holier-than-thou kind of place

Your inbox deserves a little culture!!