Cynthia Gould, the magenta-bobbed host of the open-mic poetry night the Art Bar Poetry Series, likes her poetry nights the way she likes her rock shows: rowdy.
“There’s comedy upstairs and bluegrass downstairs, and it amuses me if the poetry floor is the loudest,” she says onstage.
It’s the annual New Readers Night, on the first Tuesday of the year, at Canada’s longest-running weekly poetry series at the Black Swan Tavern on the Danforth. This May, the series will celebrate 25 continuous years.
While regular readings have featured name poets such as George Elliott Clarke and Shane Koyczan, the annual New Readers Night has been a welcoming space for unknowns for the past five years. The program has traditionally been eclectic. Tonight features a poem about size-ism, a verse written using the poet’s predictive-texting cellphone feature, and a rapper named Chris B. who thought the open mic was for musicians and therefore says “all my poems will be in the form of raps.”