I am a huge fan of spoken word poetry. I used to host an inspirational talk group called Prosperous Living with a woman named Lacy — she was much younger than me and an acclaimed spoken word poet. She hosted an after-school poetry group that helped at-risk youth express themselves through poetry. She and her group of students had an annual spoken word poetry jam at one of the city venues. Amazing stuff. Through her I met many local poets.
I used to volunteer and was on the board of directors for a local feminist bookstore called Wild Iris. We held poetry jams there once month. What an experience those jams were!
Unfortunately, the space they rented became part of a revitalization program of our downtown area and without any renovations or changes their rent tripled. Forced to move to a much smaller space (about 1/4 of their old space), the store could no longer host the poetry jams. No one else offered space so it just died out. So sad. Then, the bookstore, after struggling for two years in the smaller space off the main drag, had to close its doors. I was devastated. It was a safe place for LGBTQ youth, a haven for poets and artists, a home to feminists. And, now it is gone. In retrospect, I see the closing of the bookstore as a harbinger of what was to come nationally. All that is inspirational, artistic, and literary is being eliminated.