The one that started them all!

Now in its 27th year, The Uptown Poetry Slam is the not only the longest running show in Chicago, but the original poetry slam on the planet. Every week, slam originator Marc Smith takes the stage with co-host, J.W. Basilo to bring a raucous performance poetry show to standing room only audiences. That’s right, what has been called “the most important literary movement of our time,” all began with one show and that show is still running every Sunday at the Green Mill.This isn’t your everyday poetry reading; the slam is an engaging, interactive, free-for-all that has to be seen to be understood. A live band sets the mood for the show and never fails to impress. The show begins with an open mic at 7PM and is followed by a “feature set” at 8PM, spotlighting some the hottest talent in the country. Once the crowd is good an warmed up, the world famous slam competition kicks off at 9PM. Want to sign up to perform a poem and brave the notorious snaps and stomps? Get there early, as the lists are usually full by the time the show starts. Want to come and check it out? Get there early, as the joint is frequently at capacity. So what are you waiting for? Come see the show that started them all!

Upcoming Featured Guests:

 April 6th: Hosted by J.W. Basilo solo while Marc is participating in the Safety Harbor Singer/ Songwriter Festival. From across the pond the Young People’s Laureate of Wales, Martin Daws, organizer for and inspiration to the National Youth Poet for Wales 2013- 2015 will be our first feature of the evening. Also we will welcome William Hazelgrove, bestselling author of five novels, reading excerpts from his newest composition The Pitcher, the story of a Mexican- American kid with a golden arm who lives across the street from a broken down World Series Pitcher who sits in his garage and drinks beer. Also Adam “Defcee” Levin will be rolling in with his original writing and raps. Bonus! We also have the music of Cam’s Tie joining us. Cam McIntyre on bass, Scott Hirtenstein on drums, and Diana Lawrence on piano.

Open Slam: Read or recite your poem and maybe win $10. Wow!


April 13th:

Hosted by Marc Kelly Smith & J.W. Basilo

Our special guests include Phil Long, aka Liar Lunatic, has been active in the spoken word poetry/slam scene since the fall of 2008 when he first met Marc Smith while competing in the Individual World Poetry Slam. He was inspired by slam and has been publicly honing his wordcraft – reading at open mics and competing in poetry slams from New York, Austin, Denver, L.A., Seattle, Detroit, and more – ever since. His home slam is Portland, but he’s rarely home and they really miss him. A lot. Ask. He has performed his original work for audiences ranging from 30 to over 30, 000.

Phil is a pilot, poet, playwright, actor, apologist, philologist, contemplator, cogitator, doubter, believer, listener, speaker, learner, teacher, father, son, husband, spoken word artist, and acting director of The Sacrificial Poet Project and has performed  in maximum security prisons and women’s correctional facilities, at private and public universities, featured and taught in writers conferences and is the creator of the Jesus Poetry Slam, an anything goes poetry competition designed to promote faith conversations through the art of spoken word poetry.

He has written, directed, and performed original theatrical & performance art pieces including “Liar Lunatic” and “CosmoLyrical” – the latter, a one man, 7,077 word, epic, spoken word poetry show that is currently on tour.

Chicago Danztheatre will perform excerpts from Ellyzabeth Adler’s production of T.S. Eliot’s  The Wasteland, first presented for Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble in 2001 and now revisited with a cast of four, illuminating “the lost generation” of post- WWI European society and the human soul’s search for redemption using Adler’s unique style of Danztheatre that blends together dance, theatre, music,and video imagery into a visceral theatre experience. Written in a stream of conciousness, it seeks out what humans are looking for, a constant connection in life.

Open Slam: Read or recite your poem and maybe win $10. Wow!


April 20th:

Hosted by Marc Kelly Smith and J.W. Basillo

From Providence, Rhode Island,we are happy to welcome  performance poet Franny Choi. Her first collection of poems Floating, Brilliant, Gone was released by Write Bloody Publishing in March 2014. Her poems and stories have appeared in Poetry, Pank, Fringe, Folio, Apogee, CAP, Radius, and others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has been a a finalist at the National Poetry Slam, the Individual World Poetry Slam, and the Women of the World Poetry Slam. Through Project V.O.I.C.E. and the Providence Poetry Slam, Franny teaches creative writing in classrooms and community centers in her city and across the country.

Open Slam: Read or recite your poem and maybe win $10. Wow!


April 27th

Hosted by Marc Kelly Smith and J.W. Basillo

Performance poet Luk O’Connor is also a playwright, activist, lover, and musician. He currently resides in the great city of Portland, Maine where he has been mentored by such amazing teachers as Wil Gibson, Sierra Demulder, Khary Jackson, Billy Tuggle, and Adam “Henzbo” Henze. He has shared stages throughout the United States at such venues as bars, sold out theatres, classrooms, coffee shops, and youth correctional centers. The Biddeford Courier described his performances as “A unique blend of quality writing and energetic performance that has something for every heartbeat in the room.” He loves blue grass music, roller coasters, cats, bow-ties, and searching for sand dollars on the beach. We will also be welcoming California performance poet Mona Jean Cedar. Mona mixes dance, sign language, and poetry for an entirely different approach to her performance. She has competed as a Slam Poet in several different countries, and continues to tour Southern California as an interpreter of poetry for the deaf.

Plus the music of Steve Hashimoto (bass), Carter Luke (piano), and Heath Chappell (drums)

Open Slam: Read or recite your own poem and maybe win $10. Wow! 


The Green Mill
4802 N Broadway, Chicago, IL
Right off the Lawrence CTA Red Line and several major bus lines
Sign-up starts at 6PM
Show starts promptly at 7PM and ends at 10PM
$7 cover
21+, strictly enforced

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