Twin Cities Spoken-Word Event Finder

Things are always changing, events come and go, but here’s an introduction to the spoken-word and slam poetry scene in the Twin Cities. This is not a comprehensive list, just a starting point. Be sure to check out the individual websites, as some dates, times and locations are subject to change. Dive in! I wrote up a more basic guide to getting involved here too.

Re-Verb Open Mic (all ages)
Organized and hosted by TruArtSpeaks, this open mic is intimate and supportive, with optional feedback from the audience. Every Thursday at Golden Thyme Cafe in St. Paul (921 Selby Ave.), 6-8pm. There's also a writing workshop every first Thursday of the month at 4:30pm.

The Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series (teens)
This is a series of slams and workshops working toward an end goal of picking a team to represent Minnesota at the Brave New Voices international youth poetry slam tournament. It takes place every January through March. Be sure to check out the TruArtSpeaks site for more.

Open Stages at Intermedia Arts (teens)
Free show hosted by youth, for youth. We want to know: what’s your passion? Have you crocheted a sweater, baked a pie, written a poem, choreographed a dance routine, started a movement? Come share it with us on stage! Open Stages is all about you(th)! Link for more info.

Button Poetry LIVE
Formerly known as the home slam of the two-time National Poetry Slam champion Soap Boxing team, this event is now a poetry slam with a high-profile feature organized by Button Poetry. It's still every first Monday of the month at CAMP Bar in downtown St. Paul; 7:30pm sign-up, 8pm show (there’s also an open mic on the other, non-slam Mondays). FB page.

Slam MN Poetry Slam
This is Minneapolis’ monthly slam, another big, popular event. Every fourth Tuesday of the month at Kieran’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis; 7:30pm sign-up, 8pm show. for the slam, and for the umbrella organization that runs other shows too.

Well-Placed Commas: A Weekly Poetry Workshop (all ages)
Sundays, 12-2pm at the Fox Egg Gallery in MPLS; More information here.

The Free Black Table (all ages)
Organized by poet Keno Evol, the Free Black Table is a free of charge, all ages open mic, dedicated to the writings of black artists and people of color. It isn't on a specific schedule, but happens fairly regularly. Check out Black Table Arts for more, including a writing group called Black Lines Matter.

OUTspoken Queer Open Mic
And another new open mic in town; "OUTspoken! is the Twin Cities' queer open mic. We empower queer voices and identities by building community through artistic expression. All are welcome!" Every second Wednesday at the Fox Egg Gallery. Link w/ more info.

The New Sh!T Show Minneapolis
Started in San Francisco by poets Sam Sax and Nic Alea, the New Sh!t Show is now a chain of performance series across the United States in which performers and audience members are treated to something they've never seen before -- the new shit. Performers from all walks of art debut brand new material meant to encourage creativity and liven discussion about the Twin Cities performance scene. Third Fridays at Fox Egg Gallery. Link.

Loft Literary Center Writing Groups
Lots to explore here, especially for people looking to build community. Link.

Freedom of Xpression Open Mic (all ages)
Emerging artists of all ages are invited to take part in the Capri Theater’s monthly Freedom of Xpression open mic sessions, held the first Monday of every month. Performing artists in all genres, including music, spoken word/poetry, and dance are welcome Artists wanting to perform on stage are required to sign up between 5:30 and 6 p.m. the night of the event. Website link.

Fallout Urban Arts Center Open Mic (all ages)
In 2016, this new youth-oriented open mic will take place on the last Tuesday of each month, starting on January 26. 5:30pm sign-up, 6-8pm showtime. Here's Fallout's website, though if you have questions it may be best to get in touch with the host, Patrick Pegg.

College Slams and Open Mics (all ages)
HamlineMacalester, the U of MNMCTC and Carleton all have regular slams or open mics that are big and fun. Other colleges and universities in town probably do as well. I linked to the ones I could find, but a quick google or Facebook search should turn something up for your school. And usually, you don't have to be a student to watch the show or even sign up to perform.

Equilibrium at the Loft Literary Center (all ages)
This isn’t an open mic, but it’s one of the best ongoing spoken-word series in the Twin Cities. EQ highlights spoken-word artists of color. Link.

Story Slam
This is a slam-style show for storytellers, featuring different story topics each month. Every first Tuesday of the month at Kieran’s Pub, 7pm doors, 8pm show. Link.

BALLS Cabaret
BALLS is an experimental cabaret open to artists of any and all disciplines at any and all levels of experience; every Saturday night at midnight at the Southern Theater. Link.

New: Eclectica (18+)
A new open mic presented by The Avant Garde; every Tuesday at 9pm at Reverie Cafe & Bar.

Other events and organizations you should know about:

~TruArtSpeaks does youth development work through a range of spoken word and hip hop-oriented events and programs:
~Word Sprout is an organization that organizes lots of spoken-word and storytelling events:
~Intermedia Arts often has spoken-word events and programs:
~The Minnesota Spoken-Word Association works with youth and organizes a teachers’ institute for spoken-word educators plus much more:
~The Rockstar Storytellers and Northstar Storytellers put on storytelling shows and competitions: and
~The Encyclopedia Show is a themed reading that is always a lot of fun:
~Button Poetry is an organization devoted to distribution opportunities for spoken-word artists.
~Fifth Element offers a semi-regular open mic for hip hop artists.
~The St. Paul Almanac hosts regular themed readings that are definitely worth checking out.

Older Events 
(check links to see if they're still around or have come back)

Word Ninjas Open Mic
This is the Rockstar Storytellers’ monthly open mic at Kieran’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis that takes place every second Tuesday of the month at 8:30pm.

Poetry for Thought (all ages): A newer space, but a very intentional space for people to hear poetry and actually have discussions about it. First Fridays at various locations but based at Groundswell Coffee in St. Paul. Check out their FB page for more info and an exact schedule.

Urban Speaks (all ages): Another newer open mic in town, this one is hosted by the very talented Keno Evol. Last Fridays of the month at Cafe Southside (3405 Chicago Ave. S). Link w/ more info.

Poet’s Groove Open Mic: One of the longest-running weekly events in town, the Poet’s Groove is an open mic founded by Desdamona that features a dynamite live band. Every Tuesday at the Blue Nile in Minneapolis; 10pm sign-up, 11pm show.

Voices Merging (all ages): For a while, this was the biggest ongoing open mic in the Twin Cities; as college organizations go, though, it may currently be on hiatus.

The Canvas’ Speak On It! Teen Open Mic (all ages, teen-focused): An open mic for poets, singers, rappers and performers, Speak On It! is open to teens and young adults. Every last Thursday of the month at the Canvas teen arts center in St. Paul; 5:30pm sign-up, 6pm show.  Canvas also has a regular teen writing circle.

Stepping Stone Theater Youth Open Mic (all ages): Open to youth ages 13-18. Second Saturdays this year (2013-2014; will update later): 10/12, 11/9, 2/8, 4/12, 5/10. Link for more info on sign-up, times, etc..

Punch Out Poetry All-Women’s Slam (all ages): The newest slam on the scene, POP is open to any female-identified person, though anyone is welcome to show up and watch. Currently on

~Finally, there are, have been, and will be a ton of other open mics in town, including the Cafe Southside mic, ICE (Innovative Community Elevation), Souls on Display, the South City Café open mic and many more. Some are ongoing, some are on hiatus and some will only last for a given amount of time. This list is a starting point, but with a little research, you can discover all kinds of opportunities for both performance and listening. Good luck!