April is National Poetry month, and the city of Cleveland has nothing short of excellent venues for the spoken word. From coffee to jazz to theatrical performances, there is something for everyone. The poetry lover will have no trouble keeping his calendar full. Consider the following locations as you plan your evening get-a-ways this month.
Mr. Smith’s Coffee House
140 Columbus Ave.
Sandusky, OH 44870-2505
Price: Free admission
Hours: Events held on 2nd Saturday of each month, on Sundays during summer, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Who is Mr. Smith? He was Robert (Bob) Smith of Green Springs, OH, owner of Smith’s Drug where Trent Beard, co-owner of Mr. Smith’s Coffee House, used to resort as a child to enjoy a comic book or milkshake and listen to the friendly banter of local customers as they sat around the large counter in the middle of the store. The warm, welcoming atmosphere Trent remembers growing up is what he hopes each customer at Mr. Smith’s Coffee House will also enjoy. Stop in anytime, but if poetry is what you want be sure to plan your visit for the second Saturday of each month, or on Sunday in the summertime, for featured readings from local authors. Admission is free and the events lasts from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
6556 Royalton Road
North Royalton, OH 44133
Price: Free admission
Hours: Mon to Thurs -6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fri to Sat -6 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sun -7:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour: Second Friday of every month, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
New to the area? So is MugShotz, a family-owned café in North Royalton which opened for business in June of 2011. Offering free WiFi and HDTV, MugShotz is also host to the Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour, which gathers the second Friday of each month from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m, for, according to the group’s Facebook page, “an evening of live poetry, spoken word, recitations, incantations, and general sublime idiocy with monthly featured poets.” If you or someone you know is interested in featuring for DCPH, contact host Joshua Gage via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cleveland Public Theatre
6415 Detroit Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44102
Hours: See showtimes
Cleveland Public Theatre was founded in 1981 by James Levine in an attempt to reproduce a theatrical experiences similar to what he experienced during his three-year tenure as an actor and director at Cafe LaMama, the internationally renowned experimental theatre in New York City. Among the theatre’s many offerings, all of which are free to the public with a suggested donation of $5 to help support the work, CPT will be hosting Women’s Voices, 2012, on April 13 and 14 at 7 p.m. Women’s Voices promises to be “an inspiring evening of powerful spoken word performance” filled with “original works of drama, story and poetry created and performed by women recovering from domestic violence, addictions and other adversities.” Like every performance at Cleveland Public Theatre, this one will be followed by a post-show discussion and reception.
4059 St Clair Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44103
Hours: Tues to Thurs -6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Fri -5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sat -6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
From quality jazz music and poetry to comedy contests, Robin’s Nest on St. Clair Ave. has something for everyone. Whether it’s a jam session on Wednesday, karaoke on Thursday, one of the two “Jazz Poetry” nights taking place on the first and third Tuesday of each month, be sure to avail yourself of this venue’s many classy offerings. Robin’s Nest features the occasional out-of-town performer, but on most evenings it will be local talent filling the stage.
Related: Best Live Music Venues in Cleveland
B Side Liquor Lounge
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd.
Cleveland Heights Ohio 44106
Hours: Sun to Tues – 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Wed to Sat – 8 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Located in Coventry Village, the B-Side Liquor Lounge is a dance club/lounge that is open every night of the week offering a truly eclectic variety of sights and sounds. As you browse the venue’s weekly schedule for all your entertainment needs, poetry lovers take note of B-Side’s Tuesday night open mic poetry and soul, boldly touted as “Cleveland’s premier spoken word night.” The lounge also offers a variety of catering options and event planning to handle private party arrangements.
Joshua Lawson is a husband to Sarah and a father to Joshua, Hope, and Allison. Once upon a time he was a halfway decent basketball player, but his dream since becoming a father has gone from playing in the NBA to one day getting a full night’s sleep again. Joshua lives in Portsmouth, OH. His work can be found at Examiner.com.