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:

February 22nd:
Hosted by Marc Kelly Smith & J. W. Basilo
Special Guests: EUGENIA LEIGH author of Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows (Four Way Books, 2014). The recipient of fellowships and awards from ts & Writers Magazine, Kundiman, Rattle, and the Asian American Literary Review, Eugenia received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and serves as the Poetry Editor of Kartika Review. She tweets @eugenialeigh and can be found at
Plus the music of FUTZ – Brad Macdonald on piano, Junius Paul on bass, Jamie Gallagher on drums, and Aaron Rybski on sax and flute.
Open Slam Competition: read or recite your poem and maybe win $10
March 1st:
Hosted by Marc Kelly Smith & J.W. Basilo

Special Guests:  Sierra DeMulder is an internationally touring performance poet and educator, a two-time National Poetry Slam Champion, a 2014 McKnight Fellowship recipient, and the author of two collections of poetry: The Bones Below and New Shoes on a Dead Horse(2010, 2012, Write Bloody Publishing). She lives in Minneapolis with her dog Fidelis.

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

March 15th:

Hosted by Marc Kelly Smith and J.W. Basilo

Special Guests: Performace poet Andy Karol has been connecting with audiences for over a decade through theatre, performance art, and photography. Since then, she has appeared on stages all over Chicago (and beyond), been a semi-finalist in the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards, and is a member of the Lethal Poetry collective. Come out to hear Andy spin her truths into intricate webs of lyrics and imagery that show that her name is going to be sticking around.

Plus excerpts from Chicago Tap Theatre’s latest production Tight Wire

And the music of Cam’s Tie

Open Slam Competition: read or recite your poem and maybe win $10. Wow

March 22nd:

Hosted by Marc Kelly Smith and J.W. Basilo

Special Guests: Excerpts from Chicago Slam Works acclaimed production Redlined performed by the House Ensemble under the direction of J.W. Basilo.

Plus the music of Futz!

Tim Seisser – bass, Andrew Lawrence- piano,  Jamie Gallagher -drums, Aaron Rybski -horns

Open Slam Competition: read and recite your poem and maybe win $10. Wow!

March 29th:

Hosted by Marc Kelly Smith and J.W. Basilo

Special Guests: From Oakland, California performance poet/ author Richard Loranger co-host of the Poetry Unbound reading series in Berkley and, German award winning slam performer Herbert Beesten. With Karsten Steinmetz he forms the “Kilographen” a duo that has been invited to the german national poetry slam contests for the last five years and performs literature events throughout the region.

Plus the music of Futz!

Patrick Mulcahy -bass, Matt Conway-piano, Jamie Gallagher- drums, Aaron Rybski- horns

Open Slam Competition: Read or recite your 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

We haven't quite nailed down the dates of our next show. Join our mailing list and we'll give you a holler when the next show is announced!