(feature image taken from a video shot by The Akronist at EP Cooker)
by Noor Hindi
There is no shortage of literary opportunities for emerging writers and book lovers to embrace their inner Akron geek. Need a poetry fix? Book club? Check out this list (in no particular order).
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The Big, Big Mess
This fun and quirky reading series is always hosted at Annabell’s Bar and Lounge on 785 W. Market St. It brings local writers together for an evening of beer, poetry and a little bit of chaos. Their next event is Saturday, Feb. 13, and will feature writers Noy Holland, Imad Rahman and Nicholas Reali. For more information, visit bigbigmess.tumblr.com.
No one brings together a community of storytellers and artists better than Wandering Aesthetics, an Akron based theatre company. The Electric Pressure Cooker Open Mic Cabaret invites artists of all kinds. Comedians, actors, poets, musicians and dancers are all encouraged. Ten slots are available, and a $5 fee is required for pre-registration. For more information about Wandering Aesthetics, please visit watheatre.com.
In the literary world, you can’t get much cooler than having a café dedicated to poetry. Yes, a poetry café. Located on 2539 Romig Road., VE Poetry Café hosts the Versified Expression poetry night every Tuesday from 8 pm to 11 pm. With a fireplace in the background, this cafe is the perfect spot to hear local spoken word artists. Find their page on Facebook.com for updates and more information.
Akron-Summit County Public Library
Looking for a quieter scene? Visit your local branch of the Akron Summit County Public Library to hear about book clubs, readings, storytimes for children and contests. In January, Main Library concluded a month-long poetry contest for children, and all branches host a Book Club on the Go. Visit akronlibrary.org for upcoming events at your local branch.
Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing
The NEOMFA, a consortium of four universities including Cleveland State University, Kent State University, The University of Akron and Youngstown State University, hosts readings each year. The visiting writer series brought us Roxane Gay in November, which was an event many enjoyed. On Thursday, April 7, Laura van den Berg will come to YSU for a reading at 7 pm, and Mary Ruefle will conduct a reading at CSU on Tuesday, April 19 at 7 pm. Visit neomfa.org to keep up with upcoming visits.
The University of Akron Press
Each year, the UA Press publishes a collection of works from a variety of poets and writers, making it a great place to look if you’re in the mood for a good book or poetry collection. The Akron Series in Poetry will bring “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Philip Metres in February 2016, and “Groundspeed,” by Emilia Phillips in March 2016. Aside from that, the Akron Poetry Prize will be open for submissions from April 15 to June 15. Winners earn $1,500 and the publication of his or her book. Please visit uakron.edu/uapress for more information on upcoming publications.
Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University
The Wick Poetry Center, through its reading series, brings many notable writers from across the country. Most events are held in the Kiva Auditorium. Upcoming 2016 events include readings from Brian Brodeur, Diana Lueptow and Janet McAdams on March 3 at 7:30 pm during the Ohio Chapbook Reading. Another notable event in 2016 is the 5th Annual U.S Poet Laureate Reading on April 6 at 7:30 pm by poet Charles Simic.
Noor Hindi enjoys being an awkward turtle at local literary events.