What is SpokenWord Paris?

SpokenWord Paris is one pole of a nomadic tribe 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.

SpokenWord Sounds
A monthly podcast of SpokenWord Paris, by Victor. Listen or download here.

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.

Check next week’s theme here

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.

Chat Noir sketch drawn by Allison Iwata.

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Special Guests on 8th Feb 2016… Carey Downer & Henri Rizk

Our featured guests this Monday  are Carey Downer and Heni Rizk who will be perfoming two Valentine’s stetches for our enjoyment.  The first, ”Déjà Vu” was written by Nick Calder  Bans, and the second, ”To Kiss or Not to Kiss” was written by Carey Downer.

Carey DownerCarey Downer is a British/Canadian actress with a wide range of experience in radio, theatre and music.She has worked with several companies on internal communication projects as a voice over artist for internal videos/ Management interviews and also in general advertising for companies such as l’Oreal and Bull.  She is a founder member of “Break-a-leg”, an English language Theatre Association producing Comedies in Paris by writers such as Willy Russell, Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde. Nowadays, Carey very much enjoys performing and writing comic sketches on stage and in private soirees and writes short stories and plays for children. She is also often involved in staged play readings for “Moving Parts” and “Theatre Metropole”.She is an English Coach in presenting/debating skills for Management in International companies, a voice-over artist and a trained Shiatsu Practitioner
Henri RizkHenri Rizk was trained at the Theatre le Hangar in Toulouse and at a multidisciplinary Drama School in Paris where he had Valérie Antonijevich (creator of the Collectif Maquis’Arts) as a Drama teacher. He still works with her today as an Actor (in addition to English he also speaks French and Italian° and a Director Assistant on several Contemporary writings.Henri loves comedy and, in fact, his first acting experience was in Commedia dell’Arte play, he has also worked in vaudevilles of Labiche, in The Dragon (Evguéni Schwartz) and in some sketches for the screen. He also performs regularly in Theatrical tours in touristic areas of Paris.As well as comedic roles, he also likes performing more dramatic parts, as he did in many short films such as : a maffioso in Family Day (Jean-Charles Charavin), a lonely man in Apparition (Denis Dobrovda) or the desperating Mr Patissot is Sundays of a Parisian Bourgeois (Thomas Grascoeur) based on a novel of Maupassant.His last workshop brought him to London to work on the “Voice and Shakespearean text” with Nadine George (creator of the Voice Studio International)

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Monday Feb 1st: our theme is “Tall Tales – Excuses” and our guest David Jaggard!

DJaggardPlazaRed - copieDavid Jaggard is an American-born-Paris-based composer, humorist and translator. Guess which of those three activities pays the bills. Between paying bills and yelling at Republicans on TV as though they can hear him, he writes a biweekly humor column called “C’est Ironique” (in English) on paris-update.com. His satire pieces have appeared in Sabor Magazine, on the websites The Big Jewel, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Yankee Pot Roast, and, in the sincerest form of flattery, been copied without credit or authorization on other sites too numerous and scumbaggy to mention. James Joyce is quoted in one source as saying, “Reading David Jaggard changed my life. Not much, and for the worse, but changed.” On a totally unrelated note, an album of David’s comic and spoken word compositions will be released on iTunes, Spotify, etc., in mid-February 2016 under the title “Totally Unrelated.”

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banter banter

Coming soon… out of the Paris writers’ community… Watch the trailer
banter banter

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January’s gone. It was great. This is going to be another unforgettable year.

Photos taken downstairs at the Chat Noir by Sabine Dundure:

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SpokenWord 25th Jan 2016 – Stormy weather with Winona Linn

Theme: Stormy weather
Guest poet: Winona Linn
A poet, visual artist, performer, teacher and spoken word artist originally from Kingston, Ontario, Linn made a name for herself in the thriving poetry community of Halifax, Nova Scotia while attending the University of King’s College. In only her second year at school, she slammed for and won a spot on the two-time champion Hali Slam team and competed on a national level at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.
Linn was the 2011 poet laureate of the Federal Green Party of Canada, and wrote and performed poems on a variety of issues for the duration of the 2011 election. Her poem “Leave,” quickly gained popularity on Youtube and has been featured in articles on the CBC and CTV websites, as well as many other online news sources.
Linn’s most recent work, “The Truth About Rabbits,” was published in the spring of 2015 as a joint project between Thee Hellbox Press and Greyweathers Press. This was a joyful collaboration between Linn and two letterpress studios, and resulted in a limited-edition hand-bound rare book, with Linn’s poetry set one letter at a time by Hugh Barclay of Thee Hellbox Press, and interspersed with the evocative and charming wood engraving illustrations of Greyweathers Press’ Larry Thompson. It is available for sale at two of Paris’ well-known English bookstores: Shakespeare and Company, and Abbey Books.
Currently, Linn lives in Paris, France. She is a regular writer and feature performer in the Paris literary and spoken word scenes, and is in the process of publishing her third book, a graphic novel.
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Elizabeth Acevedo – guest poet Jan 18th

AcevedoThis Monday 18th Jan on SpokenWord… the theme is ROOTS and our guest poet is Elizabeth Acevedo.
ELIZABETH ACEVEDO holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. She is a National Poetry Slam Champion as well as a Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Notre Dame Review, Callaloo, Puerto Del Sol, Poet Lore, and Beltway Quarterly. Her manuscript, Blessed Fruit & Other Origin Myths, was a finalist for Yes Yes Books’ chapbook poetry prize and will be published in the fall of 2016. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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Gentle reminder: Open Secret’s 1st Birthday Party, 2nite, Wednesday, 13/01/2016! “Get real.” With a double feature of singer/songwriters Tim Watt & Cat Rickman!

David J. Alfred Prufrock Wah-Wah Pedal Sirois on the scene (free new pigeon poem below), inviting you to a special 1-year-precisely-anniversary episode of Open Secret, your open-minded “Bigmouth Strikes Again” open mic. Words, words, words – yes indeed, but also lots of singer/songwriters, performance art, comedy, storytelling & many surprises!

Open Secret – Wednesdays downstairs in the cave at Le Bistrot des Artistes, 6 rue des Anglais (the Yellow Brick Road that unites Boulevard Saint Germain & rue Lagrange), 75005 Paris, France, Existence, Believe It or Not. . .Metro Maubert-Mutualité (line 10) & Saint-Michel (line 4).

8:30 sign-up begins (& goes all night), 9pm the show explodes into confetti!

This week our theme is “Get real.”  And we have a double feature of brilliant musicians: the articulate, warm-toned singer/guitarist/harmonica player Tim Watt; & the edgy-yet-mellifluous voice of ukulele-playin’ songwriter Cat Rickman…more about them below.

Open Secret is a gathering-of-the-tribes of artists: creators & listeners of every genus (genius) & species. Come see how community feels. . .

Cat Rickman is a New York-based singer-songwriter. Early influences include the jazz greats, various hipster indie queens, and angsty British rock bands. She hopes to sound like what would happen if Ella sang for the Arctic Monkeys. https://www.facebook.com/catrickman/

Tim Watt’s Bio:
Hertfordshire musician Tim Watt (Alternative Folk Rock) captivates an audience with haunting melodies and complementing soulful vocals. He has performed a vast array of shows over the years, from the neon lights of Las Vegas to such legendary folk venues as The Troubadour in London and The Bitter End in New York City. His songs are sculptured with poetic lyrical content inspired by the works of Cohen, Dylan, Neil Young and Nick Drake, with more recent influences consisting of Jeff Buckley and Ryan Adams to name a few. The eclectic collection of influences ranging from folk to the punk rock movement provides a unique body of individual compositions to the listener. http://timwatt.co.uk/

See you at the Bistrot!



“He suffered, & he suffered, & he suffered – then on the seventh day, he took a break.  Then, he suffered!”


There is a painful lack of

pigeons on the pavement

at this moment.


My entire being aches

for how they go out dancing

still wearing their office clothes

at 5:05pm –

smart grey suits or

black with fancy white stripes –

even dirt-colored birds

know how to groove &

shake it.


Wind-blown rolling plastic bags

covered with colorful advertising

attempt to serve as substitutes for

strolling, sightseeing birds

on this colorless afternoon.


Suddenly, some of my

rarely-flying friends

return in groups of 3

like our national police

on each corner near the metro

in this patchwork neighborhood

where no one knows

what will happen next.


I thrive on the aliveness of wings!

-David Leo Sirois




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René Ghosh has a new book out – & he’s our guest writer 11th Jan 2016

René GhoshBorn in 1972 and raised in Canada, René has lived in Paris since 1999. He has published two novels: Puppet Dancers (2014) and The Click Shortcuts (2015). He is hard at work on two more novels. He also writes 800-word short stories for live events in Paris. He writes in the magical punk style and likes to invent names and cultures.





René's The Click Shortcuts
The Click Shortcuts can be summarized as a novel about the development of a phonetic alphabet in a continent that has none. The narrative unfolds in the fictional country of Geremoth, which uses the same writing system as all the other countries on the continent. When mobile phones appear though, Geremoth’s youth start communicating with an alternative system, a radical system where symbols represent sounds. Behind the rise of the system are its fragile-brained inventor Bejia, Anossia who needs it to remain relevant as a student-tutor, Berbi the memorization champion who’ll use it to remember, and Geluko the scientist who needs a source of revenue to promote Besa, the genetically designed crop plant that assaults other crop plants.

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SpokenWord Sounds

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Happy New Year Spokenworders!

It’s been an unforgettable year, 2015, Monday after Monday, downstairs au Chat Noir. Thank you everybody. Thank you Sabine Dundure for your pictures. Welcome 2016!

Spoken Word 2015 image

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