What is SpokenWord Paris?

We are a community of people who love poetry, writing and song. A home for creatives and lost anglophones. We do two open mic nights (SpokenWord every Monday, Open Secret every Wednesday) and a writers’ workshop at Shakespeare & Company (every Sunday.) We do a literary journal called The Bastille and Tightrope Books published many of us in the book “Strangers in Paris.” Click on the blue stamp on the right to sign up to the mailing list.

Open mic/scène ouverte: Performance poetry. Lire vivant. Poésie sonore. Stand up. Monologue. Stories. Beat poetry. Spoken word. English. Français. Your own original texts. Old texts from Rimbaud to Dr Seuss, Beowulf to Gil Scott-Heron. Chacun a son mot à dire. Make the words come alive…………………….. Acoustic songs also welcome.

Every Monday Au Chat Noir, 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 75011. Métro Parmentier/Couronnes. Sign up 8pm to 9.30pm in the bar. Poetics start from 8.30pm underground. Check out the
Practical info page for more info. Paris’ biggest and longest-running English open mic night, started in 2006. All langues welcome. Entry one euro.


SpokenWord themes 
Oct 5th – HOWL Celebration of Ginsberg’s poem & all things beat generation; collective reading of Howl (Part 1). Read your own beat poetry or Kerouac-style prose or read that of your favourite writers. Come dressed as a beatnik!
Oct 12th – DOWN & OUT guest poet Jeff Cotrill
Oct 19th – DOGS & CATS guest poet Bruce Sherfield
Oct 26th – HAUNTED guest poet Nina Karacosta
Nov 2nd – DEATH & DYING guest storyteller Rachel Rose Reid

Open Secret
Every Wednesday David Leo Sirois hosts his open mic for poetry & song at the Bistrot des Artistes, 6 rue des Anglais, 75005, métro Maubert-Mutualité (line 10) or St Michel (line 4.) Sign up 8.30pm. Themes annnounced by the mailing list and on facebook. Free.

The Other Writers’ Group
Every Sunday. 6.30pm-8.30pm at Shakespeare & Company, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005. An excellent feedback workshop for 6 euros. Bring your writing or just come and listen join the discussion. Hosted by David Barnes and Bruce Sherfield. Description Join us afterwards for a drink. Running since 2005.

Party at le Motel (Date confirmed) Saturday 17th Oct
SpokenWord is throwing a party! Music from Victor and James Jewell then DJ to dance to.

Chat Noir sketch drawn by Allison Iwata.
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How to get published (in The Bastille lit. journal)

Interesting Times 200w

Last year’s issue of THE BASTILLE literary journal.

Think of this as the Jesse jigsaw issue.

We are hoping for poems and prose that fit together like a strange jigsaw of vibrant, arresting images or moments of lives. The connections will emerge by chance. To link the jigsaw pieces we suggested you include some of these words: Jesse, orange, clock, steps, a letter, 44, dress.

What sex is Jesse? You choose.



Flash fiction (up to 500 words, send up to 3 pieces): Focus on conflict or making us care about Jesse.

Poetry (send up to 3 poems, max 40 lines each, to fit A5 pages): Give us narrative or a point of view – Jesse’s point of view or a point of view on Jesse.

Photographs, art: Send strong images that are suggestive of a life lived. Include any of the things in the list (Jesse, orange, clock, steps, a letter, 44, dress).

Deadline: midnight 31st October 2015
Format: Word document or rtf
Format for art, photographs: send as jpeg 330dpi
Send to: themag.paris AT gmail.com

How to get published:
1. Work must not have been published before.
2. Simultaneous submissions fine if you tell us as soon as your work is accepted elsewhere.
3. Include a 50 word bio.
4. Send it in the format we ask for, respect the length requirements and page size.

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Beth Jervis – guest performer 28th Sept

Beth is from Alsager the North West of England. She was born in 1985 and grew up between England and France. She has a BA in Art History and moved to Paris in 2008 where she gained a few years experience working in International Business Development whilst experimenting the performance scenes in Paris. She left the corporate path in 2011 after taking part in aa artists showcase in Parallax Art Fayre, London. She writes and performs poetry, and has been involved in putting together and acting in improvised theater productions, classic theater, Art Happenings, Short Films, and events. She currently juggles acting / events work, and english / theater workshops. In 2015 / 16 she will be working on a one woman play and aims to direct her first short film in February 2016. To be kept abreast of her activity, you can send an email with the subject line “newsletter” to peacockwanderer@gmail.com.

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Spoken Word Paris “Photographs”: C’est la rentrée!

Well, we’ve been here every Monday through the summer season, but you know, there’s this rentrée feeling all over Paris so, welcome back, or welcome to Au Chat Noir brand new spokenworders! Here you have some photos by Sabine Dundure, from last Monday whose theme was Photographs, mixed with other photos taken in the heat of the summer season! If you want more photos, visit our facebook page. And see you next Monday!

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Deborah Bogen guest poet Monday 7th Sept

Deborah Bogen’s three books of poems are “Living by the Children’s Cemetery,” “Landscape with Silos” and “Let Me Open You a Swan.”  Her young adult novel “The Witch of Leper Cove; was published in 2014.

Theme – Photographs

Deborah Bogen

Pittsburgh’s Deborah Bogen


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Entrez DADA! An evening of disruptive and provocative poetry, performance & music!


Au Chat Noir 8 septembre 19h30-23h with many accomplished performers including Antonia Alexandra Klimenko, Henrik Aeshea, Fork Burke, Nina Zivancevic, David Barnes. This is the Paris launch of Maintenant 9 – a journal of contemporary DADA writing & art.

Dada 2015

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Guest poet Iris Colomb Aug 10th

Theme – Baksheesh

Our guest poet Iris Colomb co-organised Spraypaint Poetry underneath London’s Waterloo station – what was that I hear you thinking. See here for an article about it. She also cohosted Metrotextuel.

spraypaint-poetry-7-1024x683 spraypaint-poetry-1-2-1024x683

 Photos by Benjamin Toren.
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A postcard from England: Janine Booth – guest poet 3rd August

hammertongue110515Janine Booth (www.janinebooth.com) is a poet, trade unionist, author and lefty campaigner from the UK. As ‘The Big J’, Janine was part of the 1980s ‘ranting poetry’ movement, and last year took up the muse again, publishing a poetry book, Mostly Hating Tories, earlier this year. Expect angry but funny verse aiming furious fire at Tories, class inequality, domestic violence, normality and more!
“Utterly magnificent” – Phill Jupitus.
“I saw her at Spoken Word London and she was great!” – David Barnes.

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Monday 27th July guest poets Zarina Zabrisky and Simon Rogghe

The theme is The Harsh Light of Day.poetic justice

Zarina Zabrisky and Simon Rogghe write merging voices and genres and travel around the US and Europe, performing poetry to music, blending choreography and visual arts to create literary theater shows. Their first book of collaborative poetry, Green Lions (Numina Press), was called “a hugely multifaceted, multigenred piece of art” and a manual for transformation” by critics in the US and UK.

Simon Rogghe is a poet and fiction writer. He was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Belgium, where he got his MA in Philosophy. A polyglot, he speaks English, French, Dutch, German, and Italian. After traveling in the US and Europe, competing at horse shows as a professional rider, he found a home in the San Francisco Bay Area. When not working on his PhD in French literature, he also translates French surrealism as well as contemporary fiction. His work is published in over 30 literary journals. He is the co-author of Green Lions (Numina Press). http://www.simonrogghe.com

Zarina Zabrisky is the author of three short story collections, including EXPLOSION (forthcoming in 2015), a novel We, Monsters (Numina Press) and Green Lions, co-authored with Simon Rogghe. Zabrisky moved to San Francisco from Moscow to escape the aftermath of a collapsing communist empire. She wrote traveling around the world as a street artist, oilfield translator, and a kickboxing instructor, and started to publish her work in 2011. Since then, Zabrisky’s work appeared in over thirty literary magazines and anthologies in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Hong Kong and Nepal. She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a recipient of 2013 Acker Award for Achievement in The Avant Garde. She is a co-founder of The Arts Resistance (www.artsresistance.com). http://www.zarinazabrisky.com

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Guest poet 20th July – Adeena Karasick

bwAdeena Karasick is a New York based poet, performer, cultural theorist and media artist and the author of seven books of poetry and poetics. Writing at the intersection of Conceptualism and neo-Fluxus performatics, her urban, Jewish feminist mashups have been described as “electricity in language” (Nicole Brossard) and noted for their “cross-fertilization of punning and knowing, theatre and theory” (Charles Bernstein) “a twined virtuosity of mind and ear which leaves the reader deliciously lost in Karasick’s signature “syllabic labyrinth” (Craig Dworkin). Most recently is This Poem (Talonbooks, 2012) and The Medium is the Muse: Channeling Marshall McLuhan (NeoPoiesis Press, 2014). She teaches Literature, Critical Theory and Performance at Pratt in New York and is co-founding Director of KlezKanada Poetry Festival and Retreat. The “Adeena Karasick Archive” has just been established at Special Collections, Simon Fraser University.

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Para todos los gatos negros

by Rethabile Masilo

It has not been known for inns to bury their dead,
even when death occurs inside the establishment;
in the morning, after having brought people in
by the wheel-barrow the night before, the owner
shoos them all away, takes back his music
and his drinks from them, and later accepts
no accountability for where they will be buried,
nor by whom. Even the seediest drum player
who slouches over his instrument will be killed,
with not even God filled with any remorse at all,
and only the furniture and walls left standing.
Dark drapes hang like capes from the ceiling.
The origin of this is so unknown no one, master
who serves lyrics in large portions, or listener
who fills the floor each night, knows why or how
words choose one another when the music love
begins, within the sound of the voice of a poet—
but they do, every line comes with its grain of life.
Last night died before we had given in, though
I still wish I had confessed how poets here sound
like ideas that light bulbs above people’s heads,
that fire human lives; I have not picked out whom
to yield to, behind my bottle, of a night of jazz
which floats in my head. Above the crypt, as poems
fly below, a buzz is perceived moving up there
with the sound of a thousand zippers yielding
at once. Words drip from pen and from mouth
like dew from the tips of blades of life, saints
are present here, in the crypt of a rue Jean-Pierre
Timbaud café, poking wounds with zeal to keep
them from healing, each the flat-paper mapper
of a life unknown till then, each charting a world,
the same way giving birth turns old life into new.


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