Reporting on Atlanta’s Poetry Culture

Charles Bukowski (an American poet who became famous in the 1970s) said, “Poetry contains as much energy as the Hollywood industry…. All it needs is practitioners who are alive to bring it alive.”

Your goal for this assignment is to describe one of the ways poetry “lives” in Atlanta—a book reading or signing, poetry slam, writing workshop, etc. (Some local venues)

Imagine that you are a journalist for a local or national magazine. Identify all the writers or performers and describe the venue. Describe the writer’s role and demeanor. Who was the intended audience? Did the actual audience resemble the intended audience? How did the crowd respond? If you attended an interactive workshop, what is the group’s purpose and what have members accomplished?

Most of your paper should focus on the literary work itself. Identify the styles and forms. Describe the topic and themes, paying attention to why they were (or weren’t) relevant to the evening. Was the language formal or vernacular, restrained or vulgar? Use quotations where possible. You are welcome to evaluate the quality of the writing, but avoid empty adjectives like “good,” “weak,” “interesting.” You may wish to consult an essay in one of many anthologies of slam or spoken-word poetry, or even the guide to writing play reviews at

Length: 4-5 pages.

Due Monday, April 8. You have three months to complete this assignment; please choose an event that genuinely interests you.


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