Poetry nights in Birmingham: where to read and listen


If you're an artsy student (which doesn't mean you're an art student), then I recommend going to at least one poetry night in your days at uni. In Birmingham particularly, there's a great literary scene, and tonnes of opportunities to soak in the arts. I highly recommend starting this journey into exploring Birmingham’s art scene through a good ol’ poetry night and trust me, it’s not all dark, smoke-filled rooms and snapping to good poets like all the stereotypical portrayals. These events are great nights to have a laugh, have a cry, have a glass (or two… or three) of wine and meet tonnes of like-minded people.

So, where do you start?

If you go to UoB, you’ll hopefully have heard of Writer’s Bloc. This society hosts a poetry night, called the Grizzly Pear, at Selly Oak’s very own Bristol Pear on the second Thursday of each month at 7:30 pm. This is so easy to access that it’s impossible to talk yourself out of going – it’s small, it’s cheap (£3, but £5 for two if you bring someone new), and everyone is super supportive. You’ll be at ease immediately with President Sean Colletti’s puns, I promise. If you’re a first-time reader, this is the perfect night for you! It’s super laid back and low pressure. I’ve seen many first-year students come with groups of their friends to cheer them on, and it’s always friendly. It’s also just a great night to listen to poetry if that’s more your thing, as Sean gets some great featured poets in to read their work.

Had a taste of Grizzly, and now want to howl? Well then Howl’s your night, every second Wednesday of the month at 7:30 pm for £3 at the Dark Horse pub in Moseley (forgive me for that awful pun). This is slightly farther out of town, but if you’ve enjoyed Grizzly, then this is definitely your scene. Howl is a more “professional” feeling event but is still welcoming, with many familiar faces cropping up. If you’re feeling brave, there are always open mic slots available as well – while it's slightly higher stakes than Grizzly, Howl is still just as lovely a group of people, so don’t worry, just grab your glass of wine and head on up.

I’ve hardly scratched the surface on the poetry scene in Birmingham here, but these are some great nights to get you started. Once you feel comfortable, and once you have that craving for more, then consider looking into events at Waterstones as there are often book launches hosted there. There’s also a Hit the Ode event there on the November 16, celebrating its 7th anniversary, which is hosted by Bohdan Piasecki, who fellow creative writing students will know and love. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for Verve poetry festival coming up this year in February, which always has a tonne of great evenings on. If you’re still feeling nervous about performing or just want to have a chat, feel free to send me a message – I’m always down to encourage more people to get out there and experience great poetry.

#tyro #birmingham #poetry