Washington, D.C., is a hub for creative thought and expression through spoken word performances, from low-key open mics every night of the week to exhilarating formal competitions.
Spoken word employs flowing metaphors and mellifluous alliterations to evoke emotions ranging from sorrow to joy. These performances, often based on personal experiences, range across a variety of genres and allow audiences to deeply engage with the language of poetry.
The District brings together poets from across the city and even across the globe, providing the opportunity to share their stories, perspectives and experiences before a live and responsive audience. This oral art form imbues original poetry with the distinct intonation and inflection of its author, creating an experience based on listening and building connections through words.
Emotionally Charged Performances
Busboys and Poets, a hybrid bookstore, restaurant and event space with several locations across D.C., is a notable hub for spoken word, offering both an enjoyable meal and a healing experience through its performances.
Spoken word acts as a multifaceted art form and platform for expression, according to Pages Matam, the director of poetry events for Busboys and Poets.
“The value that it holds as an art form is its blend of theater, of movement, of writing and an emotional spectrum,” Matam said in an interview with The Hoya. “It can also be whimsy, and witty, and out-there.”
Established in 2005, the store’s moniker was inspired by Langston Hughes, a prominent poet of the Harlem Renaissance. Busboys has long hosted a diverse array of spoken word events, ranging from the laid-back and soulful “Sunday Kind of Love” open mic series to the high energy and electrifying “11th Hour” poetry slam.