Roses are red, reading is heaven, the first Magic City Poetry Festival runs from April 2nd through 7th. The Festival includes an opening mixer and open mic night, a keynote event where local writers will discuss their work and race in the south, and, finally, a community showcase with Desert Island Supply Company (affectionately known as DISCO). Whether you are a poetry novice or veteran, here’s some ways to keep the Festival’s magic going — and get ready for next year’s!
Read Some Poetry
The best way to engage with poetry is by reading it. Even if poetry isn’t your thing, there are a lot of resources out there to help get you started. Here’s a list of poets who are great for beginners and a guide on reading and analyzing poetry. Make your way through the list and read a poem or two from each poet. You never know, you might end up really connecting with one of the poets.
Volunteer at DISCO
Desert Island Supply Co. (DISCO) is one of the sponsors of the Magic City Poetry Festival, but they also host programs year round. DISCO has free after-school and in-school creative writing programs for children and teens. One of those programs is a poetry workshop. This workshop is so unique because poetry is used to explore history, science, math and the arts. DISCO always needs more volunteers. You can gain a new appreciation for poetry after seeing young students working so hard to incorporate it into their lives.
Bards and Brews
For a more adult-friendly event, try going to Bards and Brews, hosted by the Birmingham Public Library. These events are typically held on the first Friday of every month. There are both slams and open mic nights, which trade off throughout the year. The slam events even have cash prizes: $200 to the winner and $100 to the runner-up. The best part of the event? A vendor with free beer samples and bottles available for purchase.
Write a Poem or Two
Just like reading poetry, you have to try writing poetry to really engage with it. No matter how what your skill level is, poetry is a great tool to work on creative writing skills and to express yourself. If you’re not sure where to start, do some writing exercises. When you feel ready to start writing poems, here’s some helpful tips.
Get to Know the City
The Magic City Poetry Festival is not only about poetry, but with connecting with the community. Get to know this year’s sponsors: Alabama Writers’ Conclave, Green Bucket Press, PEN America, Studio 2500, DISCO, and Church Street Coffee and Books. Birmingham is a hub for creative minds, so go out and meet some. Interacting with other creative minds is one of the best opportunities for inspiration.
Text by Katherine Polcari