Every month since the end of 2021, the Urban Reader Bookstore has hosted an open mic poetry show where local writers and poets alike are invited to share their work.
Urban Reader owner, Sonyah Spencer, and Charlotte author and poet, Michael Garcia, collaborated to create a space for Black and Brown people to express themselves.
However, not only is this a place for self expression but important topics concerning the life and wellbeing of Black and Brown people are also discussed and usually incorporated into the shared written pieces.
Each show that I have attended has been a wonderful experience; I’m always welcomed with open arms and celebrated.
Brilliant murals of Black activists decorate Urban Reader’s walls and magnificent African statues dance all around. Esteemed writers from Zora Neale Hurston to Charlotte’s very own are tucked away in the various shelves around the store making Urban Reader Bookstore feel like a home away from home.
At each poetry show, bottles of water and different wines are available along with a charcuterie board caterer who sells snack cups during intermissions; And feel free to browse the store to find a new book to read or purchase some culture inspired jewelry.
In March of 2022, the most recent poetry show hosted by Mr. Garcia, mental health was the topic of discussion. Different exercises concerning mental health were completed and a panel of mental health professionals and advocates spoke after the performances.
There was no event for April but May’s event focused on various types of creative expression with an emphasis on singing and composing music.
Several people performed and explored different topics such as the current state of the world, God, familial relationships, and romantic ones as well. After each performance, questions were asked about the inspiration behind the writing.
In between performances, the host shared his own personal writings and played the piano and ukulele behind his own songs. After the event concluded, people were free to congregate and purchase items from the store or browse some of the delicious restaurants in the area.
Interested in sharing some of your work? You can find them on Instagram under “Urban Reader Book” in order to stay updated on next month’s event!