Top Poetry Slam Nights In Philadelphia

August 18, 2015 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Typically, a poetry slam is when writers compete against each other by reading their original work, which is judged on a numerical scale by selected audience members. Writing workshops and open mics often precede the slams for those who are looking to improve their writing before being judged for it. Whether you’re just a spectator or looking to win cash prices, or even the chance to compete at the national level, visit one of these venues listed for a poetry slam night.
Fergie’s Pub
1214 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 928-8118

Fergie’s Pub has poetry every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. presented by Moonstone Poetry. Emerging poets are featured during this weekly poetry reading, and Moonstone Poetry also hosts poetry slams opened to the public, including a haiku slam, which cost $5 to enter. Fergie’s Pub is a pub serving traditional Irish and American fare, such as grilled cheese, fish & chips and Shepherd’s pie, along with a happy selection of craft and local beers. It hosts events throughout the week, including open mic night, quizzo and live music.

531 N. 12th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(267) 519-9651

The Pigeon Presents: The Philadelphia Poetry Slam is a poetry slam (and PSI certified) that happens on the first Friday of every month from October through May at PhilaMoca, on the corner of 12th and Spring Garden St. Each night features an out-of-town poet, a local poet and a three-round slam, with eliminations after each round. It begins at 7:30 p.m. with a poetry workshop where writers of all skill levels are invited to come and improve their work. The slam sign up is at 8:30 p.m. sharp with the show beginning shortly after that, at 9 p.m. Follow its Facebook page for more slam events throughout the year.

Reef Restaurant & Lounge
605 S. 3rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 629-0102

Happening every first Thursday of the month from 8 – 11:30 p.m., Reef Restaurant & Lounge hosts Spitfire, an open mic poetry revival featuring poetry, comedy, hip hop, song and dance. Come and listen to the poets while enjoying a three-course meal that includes a soup or salad, entrée and dessert or a specialty tropical cocktail. Send Spitfire an e-mail at to be added to the performance lists. For viewers, RSVP beforehand for discounted tickets. Discount parking is available at EZ Park on 3rd and South.

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HOWL Wellness Center 
6901 Castor Ave. 
Philadelphia, PA 19149
(267) 243-6319

>Whether prepping for a competition,t in need of some practice or just looking for some personal wellbeing, H.O.W.L. is the perfect place to unleash your poetic spirit. Poetry slam night is hosted every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. for the low cost of $7, which also includes a cup of tea and a bag of popcorn for some after-performance refreshments. The space is small, friendly and intimate, meaning poets will likely foster relationships and even friendships with other like-minded artists. 

Studio 34 Yoga Healing Arts
4522 Baltimore Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
(215) 387-3434

Certified by Poetry Slam. Inc., The Fuze is a poetry slam that happens every second and last Friday of the month at Studio 34 Yoga/Healing Arts. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and begins with an open mic for those poets not yet ready to be judged on their work. The slam comes next and, open to all ages (although not censored, so parental advisory is recommended), is judged by selected audience members. First place poets win cash prices and points that qualify contestants to compete for Philadelphia at the national level.

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Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on