Poets of the Night

Everyone knows that you can't make any money in art, especially poetry. The poet-only role vanished with John Keats's death by tuberculosis, and even during the Romantic age was rare and never really existed. Reintroducing 1920's nightlife flair in poetry brothels, though, might just help underpaid poets make next month's rent.

The concept works like this (a full and extremely interesting article describing Chicago's Poetry Brothel can be found by clicking): full bar, entertainment beyond poetry reading, and an intimate mood. Upon entering the Chicago Poetry Brothel scheduled every month, after a modest 5-10$ cover charge, one will find people dressed in 20's fashion and with names like "Good Doctor" and "Durham Pure," and interesting, invented personal histories as well. Once the lights go down, poets (a.k.a. the whores) take the stage one by one and give a quick tease–instead of 10 minutes, you are more likely to hear 20-30 seconds. A poet will peak your interest or they won't. But it they do, the fun begins.

As the poets leave the stage and you are treated to live music, including a live pianist playing period music, you might want to get to know the poet a little more. It will cost you, but only five bucks. Or, if you want, 20 dollars for five rounds at special times. You are buying a private, one-on-one poetry reading, where the poet leads you to a room with a name like "Divinity" and reads you a full poem....hard.

A way to change the poetry reading experience, this idea sounds so fun I want to hop along to Barcelona (one of the few large cities with a similar concept) and get my money's worth. The idea is intriguing: a mix of vaudeville, poetry, and mock sexual provocation.

Some poets have to work the "johns" to get them to pony-up the dough (actually a poker chip representing 5$ bought from a pimp helping to work the crowd), but I can imagine it wouldn't take long. I mean, what's sexier than poetry these days?

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Julia | January 27, 2011 at 6:48 AM

Ha ha! Can't believe I overlooked this one. This is something I must try next time I'm in the Windy City. It caters to "Janes" too, right?

joe betz ii | February 1, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Janes and Johns alike! Poetry brothels know what they are doing, haha.

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