Attending more readings ought to be something every poet, regardless whether they already attend some readings or none at all, should attempt to do. A year ago I attended only one poetry reading in my entire life; now I can say I am somewhat of a regular attendee of readings, because I make sure I schedule it into my monthly calendar.
The belief that we don’t have time to do X is a myth — all it takes is organization. So if not enough time is stopping you, rip the plastic covering off that calendar your grandmother bought you for Christmas and put it to use.
To get started on scheduling readings into your life, here are only a few venues with regularly scheduled readings. They all have their own method of gaining readers, but if you are looking to read some of your own poetry as well, they also have their own open mic periods as well.
Cafe Muse is hosted by The Word Works and takes place in Friendship Heights monthly throughout the year. As of this writing the 2012 series is not up on the Web site, but visit http://www.wordworksbooks.org/cafe_muse.html for more information.
Originally called the Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series, this reading series is no longer held in front of Joaquin Miller’s cabin but in the Rock Creek Park Planetarium. It is held weekly during the summer and also sponsored by The Word Works. For more information on this series, visit http://www.wordworksbooks.org/miller_cabin.html.
The IOTA Club and Cafe in Arlington sponsors a monthly reading hosted by Miles David Moore. Visit http://www.iotaclubandcafe.com/ for the poetry reading schedule.
Cheryl’s Gone at the Big Bear Cafe in DC hosts a monthly reading, not always poetry but usually has at least some poetry every time. The best Web site to visit for more information is http://cherylsgone.com/.
Nora’s School in Silver Spring runs a seasonal reading hosted by Chris Conlon. Visit http://www.nora-school.org/public-events/poetry-reading-series/ for more information and the schedule of readings.
Busboys and Poets
Busboys and poets hosts a number of poetry readings, some of them one-time appearences (such as Rita Dove in October) while others are regular local readings. Different BB&P locations offer different options. This may be the most popular venue. For a schedule of events, visit http://www.busboysandpoets.com/.
The Third Thursday Poetry Series in Takoma Park happens every third thursday of the month and is hosted by Martin Fitzpatrick. Email SaraD@takomagov.org for more information.
I know there are many others; again, this is just to get folks started. If you feel like promoting any other readings, feel free to comment below!