“Poetry is not so much about what it means… but

about how it feels” Mary Oliver


My intent over the last few years has been to make poetry not just more accessible to the public, but to revive poetry as an entertaining and feeling event.

Consequently the focus of the evening is on creating a communion between the artists and their audience in a light and often humorous ambience.

I start the show by establishing the format for the evening.

IntroductionFirst Featured Poet (20 minute set)

(short break)

6 or 7 Open Microphone Poets (4 minutes each) (Sign-up by early recommended)

(Longer Break)

Second Featured Poet (20 minute set)

Poetry Themed Challenge


The featured poets (always a male and a female) are the key to the success of the show. These two artists provide the proven qualities of skill and delivery that inspire the listeners to open their hearts and minds. The open microphone set offers both new and experienced poets the opportunity to present other perspectives and nuances in shortened, but vital contributions.After each poet reads I invite the audience to join me in providing positive responses about a favourite poem, perhaps a line or metaphor that was particularly moving, or any other aspect of performance deserving celebration.

It is in the Poetry Themed Challenge, based on a topic that I describe during the introduction to the show, that the audience is invited to play an integral role in the success of the artistic event. Individual participation in this is completely optional. Anyone can join in, but everyone in the audience is encouraged to help decide the two winners during the final act of the show. Throughout the evening I elaborate on the theme to inspire people to explore the Themed Challenge.

I leave small 3” x 4”pieces of paper and pens on the tables for this purpose. Any poem entered in the Themed Challenge is limited to what can be written on ONE of the provided pieces of paper (ok, you can use both sides).

The show peaks at the end when participants are invited to come up and read what they’ve written. Once all contestants have performed their short pieces, the audience is asked to select their choice for FAVOURITE POEM and BEST PERFORMANCE. The winners receive a beverage of their choice as a prize and all entrants are encouraged to post their poems on my website until the next show’s winners are announced.


Each show averages about 2 1/2 hours in length, but the emphasis on camaraderie and communication make it fly by on an artistic high. There are 3 breaks because my overall intent is for people to celebrate the event together, so the more interaction the better. This also gives Themed Challenge writers some time to write their poems.

Admission is free, but audience members may contribute to a glass jar provided for this purpose. Any money raised is split between the featured poets.

Please come and help us celebrate the Art of Words together,

James Dewar


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