American University hosts Visiting Writers, a series of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction writers reading their work. Most readings take place on Wednesdays at 8:00 pm. Butler Pavilion, Board Room, 6th floor, DC. (202) 885-2973. Free admission.
The Bagley Wright Lecture Series provides poets with an opportunity to explore poetics in-depth and present a series of public lectures. The Library of Congress in Washington, DC is one of several partner locations for the series. The website includes a calendar and an archive of past lectures.
The Beltway Poetry Slam runs monthly events with a featured reader and open slam. The group also hosts a team that competes each year in the National Poetry Slam. The monthly slam takes place the last Tuesday of each month at 9:00 pm. Open to writers from DC, VA, and MD. Busboys and Poets, 625 Monroe St NE, DC. (202) 636-7230. $5 admission.
The Big Light Reading Series meets once a month on various Fridays (usually the second-to-last or last Friday) at 7:00 pm, with three featured readers (poetry and occasional short fiction). Sponsored by Lines + Stars Press, hosted by Rachel Adams. Bossa Bistro, 2463 18th St. NW, Second Floor, DC. Free admission.
Big Lucks is a quarterly print journal of poetry, fiction, and art, based in DC. They also sponsor a monthly reading series, Three Tents, featuring readers with new books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Readings take place at The Big Hunt, 1345 Connecticut Ave. NW, Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC. (202) 785-2333. Free admission.
Bloombars is a performance space in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, offering poetry and spoken word performances and workshops, as well as live music, film, meditation and yoga, and children’s events. The Garden Open Mic takes place every Monday at 8:30 pm, with featured readers, and a rotating slate of hosts. BloomBars, 3222 11th St. NW, Columbia Heights neighborhood, DC.(202) 567-7713. $10 suggested donation.
The reading series in this bookstore is hosted by Rod Smith, usually on Sunday nights at 7:00 pm. Featured readers, mostly experimental. Bridge Street Books, 2814 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (at M Street), Georgetown neighborhood, DC. (202) 965-5200. Free admission, although donations for the poets are collected.
The Brookland Area Writers and Artists hosts a reading on an announced theme on the first Wednesday of every month, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Hosted by Sue Scheid. Center for Poetic Thought, 716 Monroe Street, NE, Studio #25, DC. Free admission.
The flagship location of Busboys & Poets is located in the historic U Street neighborhood, and combines a restaurant, bookstore, and performance space (the Langston Hughes Room). They host book release events, author talks, films, live music, and several regular reading and performance series, including: an open mic every Tuesday night at 9:00 pm, Live from Busboys (Talent Showcase, all performing arts disciplines, hosted by Ne’a Posey and Bomani Armah, 1st Fridays at 11:00 pm), the Sparkle Series, a queer-friendly monthly performance series (featured readers plus open mic, hosted by Regie Cabico and Danielle Evennou, 1st Sundays at 8:00 pm), the 11th Hour Slam (home of the DC Poetry Slam Team, hosted by 2Deep the Poetess, 2nd Fridays at 11:00 pm), an ASL Open Mic (spoken word performed in American Sign Language, hosted by DJ SupaLee, the last Friday of the month at 11:00 pm), Nine on the Ninth (featured readers and open mic, hosted by Poet-in-Residence Derrick Weston Brown, on the 9th day of every month at 9:00 pm), and Sunday Kind of Love (sponsored by Split This Rock, hosted by Sarah Browning and Katy Richey, 3rd Sundays at 5:00 pm). Busboys & Poets, 14th and V Streets NW, DC. (202) 387-POET. $5 Admission to most events.
This branch of Busboys and Poets combines a restaurant, fair trade crafts store, and performance space (the Countee Cullen Room). They host book releases, live music, and regular poetry and spoken word series: an open mic every Wednesday at 9:00 pm, Poetry on the Patio (1st Saturdays at 9:00 pm, weather permitting), and a Youth Open Mic (3rd Saturdays at 5:00 pm). Busboys and Poets, 5th & K Streets, NW, DC. (202) 789-2227. $5 Admission to most events.
This branch of Busboys and Poets, located in Hyattsville, MD, combines a restaurant, art supply store, and performance space (the Howard Zinn Room). They host live music, films, book events, and regular reading and spoken word series, including an open mic (every Thursday at 9:00 pm). Busboys & Poets, 5331 Baltimore Ave., Suite 104, Hyattsville, MD. (301) 779-ARTS. $5 Admission.
The Arlington, VA location of Busboys and Poets, in the Shirlington neighborhood, offers poetry events every Monday evening at 8:00 pm, hosted by Rich Hanks, Benny Blaq, Rebecca Dupas, 2Deep the Poetess, and E-Baby. Third Sundays are devoted to “Other People’s Poetry,” open mic readings of poems we love by others. 15 slots for performers (sign up starts 7:30 pm). Busboys and Poets, 4251 S. Campbell Ave., Arlington, VA. (703) 379-9756. $4 Admission.
City Lit Project is a Baltimore-based organization that coordinates writers workshops, author readings, publication seminars, book festivals, youth events, and publishes books by regional authors through its Pagoda Press imprint.
The College of Southern Maryland in La Plata is home to the Connections Literary Series, with monthly readings on campus by visiting writers. They also publish Connections journal, which combines student work with writing by professionals.
The DC Poetry Project is a Meet-Up group with a regular reading series organized by Michael Anthony Ingram, Anastasia Peace, CGMP and Brenda Bunting. Regularly scheduled open mics throughout the DC area. (859) 338-2070. Free Admission.
The Folger has the world’s largest collection of materials relating to William Shakespeare. The library also hosts plays, concerts, and O.B. Hardison, Jr. poetry reading series. Other programs include exhibitions, lectures, teacher training, family programs, and the PEN/Faulkner reading series.
The Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, or HoCoPoLitSo, sponsors a writer-in-residence, a reading series, and multimedia. They also sponsor school programs.
The In Your Ear reading series is hosted by Adam Good, Cathy Eisenhower, and Tom Orange. Featured readers from the DC area and around the country, with an emphasis on experimental writing. 3rd Sundays at 3:00 pm. DC Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW, Adams Morgan neighborhood, DC. (202) 462-7833. $3 Admission.
Reading series on the first Tuesdays of each month. Nine scheduled readers (3 each who write poetry, fiction, and nonfiction), chosen each month by submission. Followed by short open mic. Hosted by Rachel Coonce and Courtney Sexton. Free admission. Colony Club, 3118 Georgia Ave. NW, DC. The Inner Loop also hosts a one-week Woodlawn-Arcadia Writer’s Residency for regional writers with a commitment to social justice, an on-line Writer of the Month, and a Fall Writing Retreat.
The Iota Series has been run by Miles David Moore for over a decade. Featured readers, followed by open mic. 2nd Sundays at 6:00 pm. Iota Bar and Restaurant, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Clarendon neighborhood, Arlington, VA. (703) 522-8340 or (703) 256-9275. Free Admission.
Open mic series on the last Monday of every month. Hosted by Eric Rekstein. Free admission. Kafe Bohem, 600 Florida Ave. NW, DC.
The Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice is housed at Georgetown University in DC. They host visiting writers who give readings, workshops, and participate in annual symposia. Most monthly events take place on Tuesdays, with workshops starting at 5:30 pm and readings at 8:00 pm. Georgetown University, Intercultural Center, 37th & O Streets NW, DC. (202) 687-7435. Free admission.
The LoC is an amazing resource. Information on the extensive collections (books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, prints, recordings, etc.), as well as the numerous public programs including readings and films and author talks. Special features of the site include “This Day in History”; web exhibits on such topics as Thomas Jefferson, Russia, and Bob Hope; the American Memory section with connections to original reference materials; a children’s section, “The Poet and the Poem” webcasts, the Archive of Recorded Poetry and “Poetry 180,” an initiative begun by former poet laureate Billy Collins to provide daily poems designed to be read by high school students. LoC Publications prints books, catalogues, and pamphlets about the library and its holdings. Also of special interest is the National Book Festival, the Center for the Book, with affiliated centers across the nation, the US Copyright Office, and the Office of the US Poet Laureate.
Twice a year, on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, the Memorial Day Writers Project provides a creative venue for veterans and their families, and those who have been touched by war. Day-long readings and performances take place in a tent adjacent to the Vietnam Memorial (near Constitution Ave and 21st St NW). Coordinated by Mike McDonell and Dick Epstein.
First Friday open mic features poets and musicians, held at DC’s oldest African American church. 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Free admission. Mt. Zion UMC, 1334 39th St. NW, Georgetown neighborhood, DC (202) 234-0148.
PEN/Faulkner hosts public readings by nationally-known writers of fiction and nonfiction. Also sponsors Writers-in-the-Schools in urban high schools.
Potter’s House has hosted various author events since its founding in 1960. Church-run cafe, bookstore, and community space committed to arts and activism. 1658 Columbia Rd. NW, Adams Morgan neighborhood, DC.
Reston Used Book Shop, Lake Anne Village Center, 1623 Washington Plaza North, Reston, VA. Last Sunday of each month, 5:30 to 7:00 pm. Free admission.
Robert Harper Books, Riverdale Town Center, 6216 Rhode Island Ave., Riverdale Park, MD. (301) 927-1963. Second Saturday Readings: featured readers, followed by open mic. 2:00 – 4:00 pm. Free admission.
Ruthless Grip is a monthly reading series with featured writers, coordinated by Mel Nichols and Kaplan Harris. Black Fox Lounge, 1723 Connecticut Ave. NW, Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC. (202) 483-1723. Free admission, although donations collected to pay writers.
Open mic held on the second Saturday night of every month, starting at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:00). Hosted by LOVE the poet. $5 admission. Culture Coffee, 709 Kennedy St. NW, DC.
Spit Dat! is a spoken word performance series, hosted by Drew “Droopy” Anderson and Dwayne B, every Thursday at 9:00 pm. ECAC, 733 Euclid Street NW, Pleasant Plains neighborhood, DC. (202) 462-2285. $1 Admission.
Split This Rock is dedicated to honoring the poetry of provocation and witness. Ongoing programs include Sunday Kind of Love, a monthly reading series at Busboys and Poets (the third Sunday of every month at 5:00 pm at Busboys and Poets, 14th & V Streets NW, DC), free writing workshops (the first and third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm at the Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 16th St. NW, Suite 600, DC), free teen writing workshops (weekly on Tuesdays at 4:30 pm at the Institute for Policy Studies), and sponsorship of the DC Youth Poetry Slam Team. In even-numbered years, they host a festival in DC with readings, panels, and workshops.
Story District (formerly known as Speakeasy DC) offers storytelling for adults, with performances and classes. A monthly performance, hosted by Amy Saidman, takes place 2nd Tuesdays at 8:00 pm, with a different theme each month. Must be 21 years or older and have ID. Full bar. Town Danceboutique, 2009 8th St. NW, DC. (240) 888-9751. $15 Admission.
Story League produces storytelling and comedy shows in DC, plus podcasts. Various locations; admission fees charged.
The Arts & Humanities Division of Takoma Park, MD hosts several poetry programs. They sponsor a Poet Laureate, with a two-year term, a public art program, Spring for Poetry, that places posters with poems throughout the city, and a free, monthly reading series at the Community Center, Third Thursdays at 7:30 pm, with featured readers.
Open mic on the second and third Wednesday of every month for active military personnel and veterans and their friends and family. Participants asked to bring 3 or 4 poems of their own or those written by a poet they admire to share. Alfio’s Restaurant, ground floor of the Willoughby Apartments, 4515 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase, MD. Free admission; free valet parking; free appetizers for all readers.
Every Wednesday from 8:00 to 10:00 pm. Hosted by Ra Brown. Free, but donations accepted. Sweet & Natural Vegan Cafe and Bakery, 4009 34th Street, Mt. Rainier, MD.
The Word Works publishes at least three books of poetry each year, one based on a national competition, one featuring noteworthy regional writers in the Capital Collection series, and one by an established author for the Tenth Gate imprint. Occasional anthologies also printed, also has sponsored master workshops. Sponsors an annual competition for regional high school poets, the Jacklyn Potter Prize. Sponsors the Cafe Muse reading series (year-round, at the Friendship Heights Village Center in Chevy Chase, MD) and the Joaquin Miller Poetry Series (each summer, in the Rock Creek Nature Center in DC).
The Writer’s Center is a non-profit membership organization for writers. Workshops in all genres for beginning and experienced writers, led by local authors, in Bethesda and other area locations. Also offers readings (Sunday afternoons at 2:00 pm and occasional evenings; the Open Door Series usually has free admission), as well as performances, staged readings of plays, a visiting writers series, and an annual small press book fair. Publishes a newsletter and the biannual literary journal Poet Lore.
This reading series, sponsored by the English Department of the University of Maryland in College Park, features contemporary visiting poets and fiction writers, usually on Wednesday evenings. Additional campus literary events are sponsored by the Jimenez-Porter Writers’ House on campus. Dorchester Hall, 1st floor lounge, College Park, MD. (301) 405-3820. Free admission.
Poet’s Open Mic takes place on the first Friday of every month from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. Zed’s Cafe, 8225 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD. Free admission.