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A&E | Vol. 11, No. 37, October 8, 2009
(Tan, Rested & Ready to Run)

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A Place For Poets

by Hana Frenette

Poetry Night at End of the Line Cafe celebrates one-year anniversary

When presented with the words "Poetry Night," many people conjure up images of pale, turtleneck-wearing men reading self deprecating poetry and praying to the god they don't believe in that they were Allen Ginsberg. There might even be a bongo or two in the background.

Don't be fooled by the pervading stereotype. This isn't just a bunch of cigarette-wielding hipsters congratulating each other on their lack of iambic pentameter.  

Poetry Night at End of the Line Cafe is far less pretentious.

"I wanted it to be more of a social thing than just an open mic," said Poetry Night founder Patrick Hudson. Hudson started Poetry Night in December 2008, and although it stemmed from the need to have a place to share and critique poetry, there was another motivation at hand.

"My friend and I had been talking about starting a Poetry Night, and then he passed away," Hudson said. "It was just something he really wanted to see happen."

Reading begins at 8 p.m. every Tuesday, but Hudson encourages people to come at 7 p.m., when he puts down the sign-up sheet.

"Even if someone doesn't read aloud, we encourage people to exchange works and critique each other," Hudson said.

The stage is open to all ideas, themes and topics, and depending on how many poets show up, each can read for about 10 minutes. The average night will have between eight to 10 readers.

Even if you choose not to read, you still get to listen. Many people choose to read about things that are going on in their lives, and whether it's the multi-colored walls or the low lighting, people open up. It's like being a priest inside a catholic confession booth; you get to hear the pain, sorrow and guilt, all without the troublesome paper collar and the Hail Marys.

In addition to the open mic that takes place every Tuesday, a contest is held each month, with the winner receiving any free book they'd like from Poetry Night sponsor Open Books. Hudson announces the contest theme and the rules at the beginning of the month and then the contest is held on the third week of the month.

Some of the past contests have included writing a story or poem about a black eyed pea, writing and reading a work of choice along with a partner, and writing and reading a poem in the style of a fellow reader. The night of the contest, all of the attendees of Poetry Night vote anonymously, and then the winner is announced at the end of the night by Hudson.

Hudson recently announced that the one-year anniversary of Poetry Night is approaching and that he has big plans for the special day.

"We are celebrating our anniversary by putting out a publication," Hudson said. "I'm leaving it up to the people who have been dedicated to coming to Poetry Night, as far as what will be in the book."

Anyone who wants to submit a work for the publication is welcome to. Each writer will be allowed to have published in the book a maximum of three works.

"We're going to have a big blow-out release party for the publication, "Hudson said. " All the proceeds are going to go to Open Books."    

So there is a weekly poetry reading, a monthly contest, and if things go well, a yearly publication. It seems as though Poetry Night is making quite a name for itself.

"We are starting to gain a lot of out-of-town poets at the weekly readings as well," Hudson said. Several readers drive in from Fort Walton, and we've even had a few from New Orleans.

It seems the word spreads fast. Maybe it's the flyers for Poetry Night scattered randomly about Pensacola. Each one is hand-typed by Hudson on his Smith Corona Coronet Super 12 (yes, that's a typewriter) and displays all the Poetry Night information in Haiku form.

Whether it's the flyers or just word of mouth, Poetry Night is becoming a popular place to share your thoughts, read, rant or just sit back and enjoy a $1.50 bottomless cup of coffee as the people on stage offer up a mix of comedic and heartfelt poetry. 

info@inweekly.net
  
Poetry Night
WHEN: 7 p.m. every Tuesday night
WHERE: End of the Line Cafe
COST: Free
DETAILS: info at anomicemail@gmail or 748-6749