readings around town all year round

Posted by Daniela Elza on Dec 22 2012

One of my pet projects last year was to make a list of as many of the regular reading/performance events as I could gather. Since I was the Vancouver/Lower Mainland Rep. for the Federation of BC Writers I thought that would be a good resource to have when people asked me where to go, how to find places to read, and connect with the writing community. That was what I did instead of starting another reading series. I looked at the calendar and could not find a day for it, so much was going on. Then I lent what energy and enthusiasms I had left to Twisted Poets Literary Salon, an already existing reading series that has been running for a decade.

Recently, I had the chance to update and add to the list under RC Weslowski’s initiative to spread the word and encourage people to come out. Also for those who already have their favourite events to perhaps encourage them to branch out and check out some other places around town. Cross-pollination is good for all of us. It makes for a more robust poetry/writing/creative community. So here on the eve of the new year I am going to post the list and maybe you will find yourself tempted. Maybe you will pick up that poem you have wanted to share and sign up for one of the many open mic possibilities. And maybe you will find further support and enthusiasm in a newly discovered community.

A recent post on Talonbooks, Texts in the City, speaks of the beginnings of two of the listed series below. (You will see my face half way through, but that should pass quickly. Thanks for the nod, Talon.)

    The list I have so far:

    Second Wednesday and Fourth Thursday of every month (Except August)
    Usually there are two features and about nine open mic spots that fill up on a first come first serve basis. Open mic spots are 5 min. max.
    Time: 7pm-9:30pm (sign up for open mic 7pm)
    Location: Cottage Bistro, 4470 Main Street (at East 29th), Vancouver
    (Note: Cottage Bistro takes cash or debit cards only)
    Hosts: Bonnie Nish, Daniela Elza, Timothy Shay
    Suggested Donation: $5.00 at the door.
    Contact Bonnie Nish:
    This is a Pandora’s Collective Event

    Third Wednesday of every month
    12:00 -1:00pm
    @Teck Gallery, SFU Harbour Centre, 515 W. Hastings, Vancouver, BC
    Lunch poems @ SFU hosts well-known and up-and-coming poets on the third Wednesday of every month. For more information visit
    Free admission, no registration required.

    First Thursday of every month.
    If you get on their mailing list the call for readers goes out the month before and then about eight or nine readers are scheduled with 10 min each. There is usually one feature. No open mic.
    8:00-10:00 p.m.
    @ the Cottage Bistro, 4470 Main Street (at East 29th), Vancouver
    Hosts: Ivan and Karen
    *Cottage Bistro takes cash or debit cards only

    Every Monday of the month @ Café Deux Soleils on Commercial Drive
    Featured readers, poetry open mic and poetry slam

    4th Monday of each month
    Occasional Wednesday themed slams.
    Jessica Masson-Paul is the slammaster
    RC Weslowski looks after the youth slam
    Email for info about featuring at the slam. @vanposlam on Twitter

    Where: 2505 West Broadway, Benny’s Cafe, Vancouver
    When: 2nd (Standard Poetry Slam) and 4th (Anarchy Slam) Tuesday of every month;
    Sign-up at 7:30 Open-Mic/Slam at 8
    Cover: Entrance by Donation
    Twitter: @ubcslam Facebook: Slam UBC

    Third Thursday of each month Prophouse Café—1636 Venables Street
    7pm doors and sign up for open mic
    Featured reader and musician each month
    Carlos Joe Costa Eva Waldauf 778 227 3275
    $5 suggested donation

    Hogan’s Alley Cafe, The corner of Gore and Union in Chinatown.
    First Wednesday of every month
    Host: Timothy Shay
    Time: 6PM – 8PM
    No Cover
    Featured reader and 6 minute Open Mic sets.
    Sign up at the event.
    Contact Timothy to be on mailing list:

    The second Sunday of the odd months of the year
    (Jan, Mar, May, July, Sept, Nov)
    from 3-5 pm
    at Project Space, 222 East Georgia St., Vancouver.
    Suggested donation of $5 but no one turned away

    Spoken INK is a reading series presented by the Burnaby Writers’ Society on the third Tuesday of each month (except July and August).
    For more information, visit
    or contact
    Hosts poetry and prose readings for features and Open Mic.
    7:30 p.m. (Open mic sign up starts at 7:15 p.m.)
    @ La Fontana Caffe, 101-3701 East Hastings in North Burnaby (NE corner of Boundary and Hastings).

    @ the Maple Ridge Arts and Culture Theatre (The ACT)
    For more information please visit the Golden Ears Writers facebook page:
    Or contact Katherine Wagner at
    Free admission.

    Most Sundays. (not ‘holiday weekends’)
    Two to three features + Open Mic
    3-5 pm
    @Heritage Grill, 447 Columbia St., New Westminster, BC
    Contact Person is Franci Louann:
    For more information and upcoming features/bios go to

    The second Sunday of each month, with some exceptions
    Open Mic with Features
    1 – 3 pm
    Location: #43-6th St, New Westminster
    Host: Amy Girard or Janene White
    Contact: Lavana La Brey, 604-525-4566, renbooks@telus.ent
    Free Event.
    Format: Features (authors, poets, musicians) followed by an Open mic (Singer Song Writers, Poets and Authors)

  • ZERO to 360, White Rock
    2nd Thursday of every month (though not December, July, August)
    Sign-up for open mic spots at 7 pm; readings begin at 7:30.
    Pelican Rouge Coffee House, SW corner of 16th Avenue and 152nd Street, White Rock.
    All readers have Zero – 360 seconds (6 min) to read their poems a timer goes off if you go over.
    Accessible via 351 bus which stops at the corner or, easy free parking as it’s in a mini-mall.
    Sponsored by Pelican Rouge and Semiahmoo Arts Council

  • SURREY MUSE, Surrey
    Every Fourth Friday of each month except December.
    Presenters (Guest Author, Featured Poet, Featured Artist/Performer), Book Signing, Refreshments, Book Table, Open Mic (5min).
    5:30-8:30 pm
    @Room 418 – City Centre branch, Surrey Public Library
    Events are free
    Donations are welcome.
    More Information:

  • WORDSTORM! Nanaimo
    WordStorm – Nanaimo’s popular Spoken Word and Open Mike event now takes place at Demeter’s Coffee Vault, 499 Wallace Street, Nanaimo on the last Tuesday of the month.

    Consider coming early for dinner or a snack at Demeter’s Coffee Vault 250-591-0776. For WordStorm itself, doors open at 6:30 and the program begins at 7:00.
    To reserve for WordStorm, email David at

    Fridays at 7:30pm.
    @The Moka House, #103-1633 Hillside Avenue, Victoria, B.C., Canada, V8T 2C4 (250) 370-2077
    $3 at the door.
    Planet Earth Reading Series is a launching pad for the energies of writers and poets established and not. It is a place where words are most important. A venue in which all manner of poets and writers are welcome; a place for excellence, innovation, collaboration, diverse projects and experiments. The format includes an open mike and a featured artist. Visiting writers are encouraged to contact Yvonne Blomer at to arrange a reading.

If you have a regular literary/performance poetry event in the area, and you have not seen yours here, let me know and I will add it. I still have to find InCite Reading Series as they start up again in the new year. And there is the Play Chthonics Reading Series (out of UBC) to be added, once I figure out how regularly they run.

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