Literary readings and open mics for writers and listeners in Queens


    Image source: Oh, Bernice!

    Brooklyn and Manhattan are well known for their literary talent, but Queens has its share of writers and lovers of the written word too. A lot of up-and-coming writers in the borough are honing their craft and finding an audience at literary readings, several of which happen on a monthly basis in cafes, bars, and libraries in various neighborhoods. Here’s our guide to hearing from emerging and accomplished local authors and poets, and sharing your own work if you are one!

    First Tuesdays at Terraza 7, 40-19 Gleane Street, Elmhurst, NY 11373 (GMAP) – This monthly poetry series is run by Richard Jeffrey Newman, whose work we read in the first issue of Newtown Literary. It’s a walk-in open mic where everyone is welcome to share or listen to poetry (get there early to sign up to read). It’s a friendly atmosphere, and most of the time there is someone new sharing their work. There is a $5 suggested donation. The next installment – which is coming right up on Tuesday, January 8 – will feature readings by Sweta Srivastava Vikram, a poet, novelist, and essayist who lives in Jackson Heights and was also featured in Newtown Literary‘s first issue.

    Oh, Bernice! at Cafe Marlene, 41-11 49th Street, Sunnyside, NY 11104 (GMAP) – Oh, Bernice! is a writers’ collective that usually hosts readings on the second Saturday of the month in the intimate basement space at this small French cafe on 49th Street. It’s a group of writers that formed out of a Queens College program, and many of the readers are students or professors, although anyone can submit poetry, prose, or plays for consideration. Last month they brought in Rigoberto González, who is known for his LGBT young adult fiction and other works.

    Boundless Tales Reading Series at Waltz-Astoria, 23-14 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria, NY 11105 (GMAP) – On third Thursdays, writers of all stripes (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays, and novel excerpts are welcome) and their friends and curious onlookers gather on Ditmars to read for 10-15 minutes each. Writers must submit pieces beforehand to be considered for the reading, which is run by writer Aida Zilelian. Most recently, Boundless Tales hosted the launch party of Newtown Literary.

    Queens Library Open Mic Nights – Open mics are held at various branches Queens Library branches, and are for performing/reading poetry, written word, music, comedy, and spoken word. The events are free and open to everyone. The next one is on January 10 at the Flushing library, and will feature poet Smooth, “who writes about the soul of contemporary society.”

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