The Philly Pigeon: A poet­ry slam with spunk

2 minute read
Philly Pigeon: Not your everyday brooding poetry reading. (Photo courtesy of Philly Pigeon)
Philly Pigeon: Not your everyday brooding poetry reading. (Photo courtesy of Philly Pigeon)

Some might say that poetry is a dying art form, but The Philly Pigeon proves it’s very much alive and thriving in the heart of Philadelphia. The Philly Pigeon is a monthly poetry slam—a competition between poets performing original work judged by members of the audience. This is not your standard poetry slam filled with brooding poets in a coffee shop. This slam feels like a party; filled with a live DJ, a disco Ball, and an animated audience.


We don't die, we multiply

The Philly Pigeon Collective is made up of Kai Davis, Jasmine Combs, and Jacob Winterstein. All are Philly natives, cultural organizers, and creative collaborators. Their mission is to “elevate and popularize the art form of performance poetry, while serving the people. We strive to foster a sense of community across gender, color, religion, sexuality, and class. We believe in empowering both poets and our audience to participate in shaping the art form.”

The poets that compete at the slam are passionate, vulnerable, and hilarious. Experiencing live poetry is a special art form because it gives the audience a unique opportunity to be immersed in someone else’s world. There is a strong feeling of community at the slams and you can witness many audience members crying, laughing, and cheering during performances. The audience is an active participant in the slam and is encouraged to respond when they feel moved by a poet's work through snapping, clapping, etcetera.

The slam draws a diverse audience of poetry lovers as well as people simply looking for something different to do on a Friday night. On a typical night of a slam, you'll find local poets, artists, college students, elders, tourists, and date-night couples.

Hello, poetic neighbor

Every slam hosts an acclaimed feature poet from out of town. This month’s feature is Washington, DC native Rasheed Copeland. He is the author of The Book of Silence: Manhood As a Pseudoscience (Sergeant Press, 2015) and is a recipient of the 2016 and 2017 DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities Fellowship Award. He placed 2nd in the world at the 2015 Individual World Poetry slam and his work has been featured in online publications such as Split This Rock and Public Pool.

Each slam is preceded by a poetry workshop facilitated by the feature poet, which is free with admission to the slam and welcome to writers of all abilities. The Philly Pigeon Collective describes their slams to be filled with “high energy, hilarious hosts, a great DJ, and amazing poetry—the best way to spend a Friday night.”

Come join the party at this month’s slam on Friday, April 5 at 9pm at PhilaMOCA. Tickets range from $10-20 and can be purchased online here.

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