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Explore DC: Poetry Slam Events in the DMV Area

Explore DC: Poetry Slam Events in the DMV Area

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By Sarah Maraschky

Ever since I got involved in my high school’s literary magazine, one of my favorite parts of the art community was the poetry slams and workshops I attended  with my friends. My favorite one in particular was the yearly slam my school district held for high school students to perform and win prizes. It’s amazing to see the kind of art young students produce when given the opportunity to have their voices heard.

Now, as a college student living in DC, I thought it might be fun to seek out some of the best (and most college-budget-friendly) slam events in our area. Hopefully, this list will help you find your next fun, poetry-filled night out or even an opportunity to share your own work with the community.

Busboys and Poets regular poetry events

  1. Pajama Jammie Jam Poetry Slam: This is a competitive, love-themed slam event that happens every fourth Friday of the month at the Takoma Park location. There are three rounds and a $100 cash prize for the winner. The next Pajama Jammie Jam is happening April 26. 
  2. 11th Hour Poetry Slam: This is another monthly, competitive poetry slam where the audience listens to two rounds of late-night, “high intensity” poetry and then chooses a winner. This event happens every second Friday (next one is May 10) at Poetry Slam, Inc’s (PSI) DC Slam Venue on 14th & V. 
  3. Weekly Open-Mic Nights: For a $5 cover charge, audiences can come to hear two hours of diverse voices from the world of professional to first-time slam poets and musicians. Times and days of the week vary by location

14th & V: Tuesdays 9-11 p.m.

5th & K: Wednesdays 9-11 p.m.

Shirlington: Mondays 8-10 p.m. 

Hyattsville: Thursdays 9-11 p.m.

Brookland: Mondays 9-11 p.m.

2019 Youth Poetry Grand Slam Finals

Hosted by a nonprofit dedicated to youth and Hip-Hop culture, this event is the final round that gives local DMV area students the chance to rank among the world’s top poets and emcees. The best part: it’s FREE! Happening from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, April 29 at the Shakespeare Theater Company downtown. 

2019 DBH Rock the Mic Poetry Slam

This is another FREE event (including food and drink!) hosted by the DC Department of Behavioral Health to help connect the community through mental health awareness in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. Doors open at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, at the Historic Howard Theatre.

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