Whether your hands are weathered from snapping or you’re new to the sport, slam poetry is a great point of access to art, culture and a passion for the human condition. Poets take stories of love and heartbreak, unique perspectives on color and gender or political angst, bottle it up and pour it out for us all to share. Through laughter and the deep "mmhmm"s, these sessions will hit you with that one moment when you face the reality that we’re all similar and that your thoughts and feelings aren't as unique as you believed. Dallas has many routes into the world of slam poetry, with open options to showcase your work to opportunities to revel in another’s artistry more polished performances. For the collective catharsis we all need, here’s a list of sites around the city where you can hear or share slam poetry.
Dallas Poetry Slam
3094 N. Stemmons Freeway
Dallas Poetry Slam has done its part to keep poetry alive since 1994. Every Friday at the Heroes Lounge, DPS hosts live poetry sessions. Sign-ups start at 7 p.m., while the show starts at 8 p.m. Along with this weekly staple, Dallas Poetry Slam hosts special events and contests throughout the year.
The Balcony Club
1825 Abrams Road B
The Balcony Club, a staple Dallas jazz venue in Lakewood, hosts Beale Street Poetry every third Sunday of the month. Beale Street is open to any type of musician, storyteller or poet. Hosted by Verb, these nights are free to the public and sure to exhibit high-quality artists. Catch the next one on Feb. 16.
The Black Academy of Arts and Letters
Dallas Convention Center
650 S. Griffin St.
The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Inc. is all about creating and increasing awareness of aspects of African American and Caribbean art and culture. In this vein, the collaborative hosts sporadic slam poetry events at their home in the Dallas Convention Center. Coming up, Women of the World Poetry Slam 2020 Finals is happening at 7:30 p.m. March 7. For $25, this event offers a way to hear some of the best slam poetry in the city.
2727 N. Harwood St.
Every third Thursday of the month, this coffee shop creates an atmosphere for any art form to flourish. With the right ambiance set by great smelling coffee and local art on the walls, any singers, slam poets, actors or spoken word artists can sign up to display their talent. Be ready to sign up by 5:30 — the show starts at 6 p.m. and runs until 8:30 p.m.
Dallas Poetry Community
Half Price Books
5803 E. Northwest Highway
Every Friday night at 7 p.m., and after losing yourself in the labyrinth that is Half Price Books' flagship store, head on back to the community room to take in further inspiration for your own work. The space makes a warm atmosphere to showcase your new poetry pieces. The informal setting makes the event a great place to enter the world of poetry or to keep putting down roots.