Flashback: DC Poetry Slam and Reading at 15 Minutes Club

The 90’s called. They want their poetry slam poster back!

I found two copies of this double-sided flier in a folder of old literary correspondence. I used to regularly attend the open mic readings at 15 Minutes Club, on 15th Street in DC, run by Art Schuhart (editor of GYST journal). I developed my “surreal rant” style work to present there, reading those pieces as loud and fast as possible.

Poetry slams were a big thing in the 90s, like the grunge rock of poetry. I can’t remember if I ever participated in a slam, though. Schuhart also ran the slam team, and once asked if I wanted to join. But in my opinion, poetry is not a competition. Besides, the people who won always seemed to rap, talk about their sex lives, or tell jokes. I don’t mind any of that stuff, but my own writing never seems to come out that way.

The “reading” side may spark some interest for featuring punk poet Jim Carroll on Sept 7 (exact year unknown). DC poetry geezers may remember Dean Blehert and Miles David Moore, two prominent local writers in what you might call the “Federal School”: bureaucrats turned poets. Reston, VA-based Blehert issued a monthly newsletter promoting his own work (and lots of puns), while Moore hosted a long-running reading at Arlington’s Iota Club.

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