(New) Poetry Spot

Posted: December 25, 2010 in Events
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Annexsign Annex Map

Located at 530 Cookman Ave. in scenic Asbury Park, The Annex is a lounge akin to what once was New Brunswick’s Indigo Jones…except with liquor instead of juice and red walls instead of, well, indigo. Dim lighting and comfy couches define the atmosphere, there are good tunes being pumped through the sound system, and a small stage next to the entrance eagerly accommodates a mic and the soles of poets every Tuesday night for a speakeasy hosted by none other than Asbury Park’s poet laureate Chris Rockwell. A mix of guerilla poet and rock star, Rockwell energizes the crowd with his distinct mix of ribbing humour and understated cool. Everyone who wants to read, from virgins to veterans, is made to feel at home, while everyone else drinks…and talks.

As is always the double-edged sword of bars, the more patrons imbibe, the more reactive they tend to get as the night progresses. They laugh more, heckle more, are people more. If the ruckus overwhelms a poet at the mic, there seems to be little sense in having a program. Or rather that would be the case if it weren’t for the listeners up front, who hunch over looking as though they’re trying to read the pair of lips currently French kissing the mic. Thus anyone reading is guaranteed at least a portion of an attentive audience, regardless of when they go up, and listeners are treated to a wide variety of talents.

Judging from my meager three visits (so far), the average night brings together diverse talent that draws from a variety of influences and voices which never disappoint. The Annex’s stage hosts several Loser Slam attendees (themselves an eclectic mix), Idiom editors and entrants, locals, and others reading styles ranging from hip-hop style spoken word, short plays, classic, academic, and contemporary. A special treat one night I was in attendance, The Charmschool Dropouts provided musical accompaniment (to great success) for anyone who requested it for a throwback to the Beats.

Good place + good people = good times, whether you’re talking personality, style, or talent. Chris Rockwell’s poetry spot at The Annex is a great way to spend a Tuesday night. Be there at 9, tip your bartender, and speak easy.

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