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Posted by : cj on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - 11:02 PM
Chicago Poetry News: Click On Headlines .
Poetry and Spoken Word Every Tuesday Night (As of Tues June 16, Closed For Remodelling Until Further Notice)

On Tuesday, February 10, 2009, Loose Leaf Tea Loft, 4229 N. Lincoln Ave, launched their new Tuesday night poetry open mic with a bang. Poets came from all parts of the city to celebrate the beginning of this fresh new venue. John (photo) came all the way out from Pilsen to Lincoln Square to share his work with one of the friendliest crowds in town. The poetry was of top quality and the room was filled with lively new faces, both young and old. Remember, High Tea With The Poetry Princess happens EVERY Tuesday from 7:30 PM until 9:30 or 10:00. Host Dina Stengel will be booking featured poets as well, so if you are interested, read in the open mic and let her hear your stuff.

What's great about this Tuesday night open mic is that it is absolutely new. So many venues in Chicago are tainted by egos and cliques and celebrity mentalities that we wonder who has time to write actual poetry anymore. The Loose Leaf Tea Loft offers new comers and veterans a neutral ground to share work in a non-competative atsmosphere. Poetry events happen there every Tuesday as well as on the first Friday of every month. A recent first Friday poetry event drew in more than 70 people with a going away party for Joe Roarty that also featured seven other talented poets. An upcoming first Friday event will feature Thax Douglas, Ellen Placey Wadey, Dan Godston, Emily Calvo, Al DeGenova, Laural Graham, Luis Humberto Valadez and other poets.

Host of the Tuesday night open mic, Dina Stengel, announced her intentions to encourage biligual poets to read for her High Tea With The Poetry Princess events. Top notch poets took her up on it. The audience was enlightened by work in Polish and in Spanish. Chicago has been needing a safe zone for poets who don't fit into the mold of the other venues and Loose Leaf has filled that void. Every time a poetry show takes place there the poets and audience are mixed, representing the diversity of this great city. There is a lot of love in that room; you simply have to go check it out to feel it. Audience members enjoy reasonably priced flavored teas and other goodies as the poets engage them with brand new work.

Once in a while a poetry venue opens that simply has a certain energy, and that describes High Tea With The Poetry Princess, the new Tuesday night poetry open mic hosted by Dina Stengel, at Loose Leaf Tea Loft, 4229 N. Lincoln Ave, beginning at 7:30 PM every week (that's poetry time, folks). As soon as the first poet begins reciting in that intimate space it becomes apparent that there is something special at the Loose Leaf, something we hopefully will experience for many years to come. It is reminiscient of the golden age of Chicago poetry that dates back to the early nineties, when poets didn't bother to self-censor and when the audience was open minded and didn't carry their baggage in with them. What's cool about this place is that there aren't any stuffy self proclaimed stars sitting at opposite sides of the room ignoring each other. The audience is receptive and the poets are daring and the verse at times is downright dangerous.

The casual atsmosphere and friendly proprietors of the Loose Leaf have made this venue classic practically before it even began. Carlos Cumpian said that in his thirty years of doing poetry he has never seen a tea house poetry venue, so this is absolutely something new and fresh. It hasn't been done before. The Tea Loft isn't a club, it isn't a society, it isn't a clique, it isn't a collective, it's simply a bunch of individuals who are allowed to be themselves with no strings attached. This freedom allows for a surprise a minute, as the voice of each poet is different than the rest. It is especially important that the Tea Loft is attracting a younger crowd, although everyone is welcome, no matter what age. It's also cool to see people who are walking down Lincoln Ave. stop and watch through the window as the poetry takes place.

Stella came out for the opening of High Tea With The Poetry Princess to read from her book published by Plain View Press. She delighted the crowd with her poetry before she hopped on over to another venue to read there as well. That's the cool thing about Loose Leaf's Tuesday night poetry open mic. It starts early so if you want to make it to Polyrhymic or another poetry show, you always have time to go poetry venue hopping. However, High Tea is strictly for poets. If you are a musician, you should check out Loose Leaf's Thursday accoustic open mic.

Dina Stengel is a natural born poetry hostess. Her optimistic, calm approach sets everyone at ease and allows the evening to be about poetry and nothing else. Dina has already proven herself to be one of the best poetry hosts in the city of Chicago, breaking in new ground with her work at Loose Leaf Tea Loft and featuring in the event that drew in more than 70 people. She dazzles the audience with work out of her notebook that she has written so recently that the ink isn't even dry yet. Chicago is lucky to have her energy.

Once again, Loose Leaf Tea Loft holds poetry shows every Tuesday starting at 7:30-ish and also on the first Friday of the month starting at 8 PM.

Have fun.

Note: High Tea With The Poetry Princess, a new Tuesday night poetry open mic, is here.

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