Da Poetry Lounge


By Anuoluwapo Bamiro, Columnist

Welcome back to “What’s Up with Anuolu”. We are still celebrating National Poetry Month. Today I am going to speak about Da Poetry Longue. It is a poetry club located inside a theater, where they host weekly open mic nights for poets, spoken word artists, rappers, and singers to perform their work in front of an audience. My introduction to Da Poetry Lounge was through a friend who knew that I loved to listen, read, write, and watch poetry. When I arrived, I was in awe of the place and ambiance. My favorite romance movie is Love Jones and I always wanted to experience poetry live. As someone who began my journey with poetry through writing, it has been a big help in getting me more comfortable with reading and performing my poems.

Da poetry lounge has been around since 1998, it was founded by Dante Basso, Ron VanClief, Devan Smith, and Gimmel Hooper. It started off being called “Dante’s Poetry Lounge” as it was hosted in Basco’s living room for the first 3 years. After that, the name was changed to Da Poetry Longue and moved to a theater. They have a slam poetry team that performs in competitions across the world, it was inspired by Def Poetry Jam which was very popular in the early 2000s. Their most notable performers were Yesika Salgado, Walela Nehanda, Elizabeth Acevedo, Alyesha Wise, Olive Gatwood, Rudy Francisco, Kevin Coval, Dante Basco, Javon Johnson, and Tonya Ingram. Tanya sadly passed away in December of 2022.

What Da Poetry Lounge has been able to successfully do is create a safe space for an artist, and poets to come to perform their craft, practice, and get feedback from their favorite artist as well as their peers. They have created a safe space for people of all races, genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds to feel comfortable performing their art. They allow high schoolers to come for the first 2 hours observe, listen, and perform as well. That is one of my favorite things because I know how high school can be. It can get very difficult to stand against what is popular and accept but when you hone in on your craft younger the greater you become with life and age. When I was in high school, I focused more on my fashion dreams and neglected the fact that I love poetry and writing. I was so devasted that I couldn’t afford to go to FIDM that I prolonged my development as a creative writer. So being introduced to a place like this is a dream come true and to see teens there well that’s just priceless.

Da Poetry Lounge is located at Greenway Theatre on Fairfax Blvd. They have open mic night every Tuesday. You can find the on all social media platforms. Everyone is welcome to perform, from high school and beyond. They also host a once-a-month workshop and every 3rd Tuesday they host a slam night with cash prizes. If you are interested in coming to see amazing talent or to present your own work, then come out one of these Tuesdays and enjoy Da Poetry Longue. You will not regret it.

It is still National Poetry Month I’ll leave you guys with two poems both by the wonderful and amazing Tonya Ingram may her soul rest in perfect peace. The poet I have chosen to highlight this week is Tonya Ingram. She was a beloved team member on Da Poetry Lounges’ slam team. I felt it was only right to highlight a couple of her poems that inspire people but also show her greatness.

you are not crazy. you are

the glow. you are a brilliant

storm. you are a body

made of magic. you are a

 well of love. be unashamed

of your presence. be the

entire book of your

excellence, even when

it is difficult and muddy.

you are en route, friend.

take courage. the road is

patient. the sky is open.

feel everything and do not

apologize for any of it.

tonya ingram












Rest in Peace Tanya Ingram

September 1st.1991-December 30th 2022


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