Chicago’s Poetry Whores

Yes, exactly. According to Kathleen Rooney’s expose, “Pimp My Poem,” you can find poetry whores in Chicago. What is the set up?

Here’s Rooney to set the mood:tattoo victorian “You will enter a dim room appointed with fireplaces, silk tapestries, velvet banquettes, and damask wall hangings flecked with tiny mirrors and sequins. Every available surface will be either carved hardwood or plated with gold leaf. Because no self-respecting bordello would be caught without a piano player, there will be one, alternating his sets with DJs spinning the greatest hits of the 1890s and early 1900s.”

And, if you wear period–read: Victorian–clothing, you get in for only $5 (normally a $10 cover). But, once you’re in, you can buy a chip that will give you access to a one-on-one poetry reading from one of the “troupe of acclaimed poets who provide visitors with the most unique and intimate poetry experience available in Chicago. (from the Chicago Poetry Bordello website).”

Rooney argues that the Brothel provides a service that fills a niche and a need for the literocrats of today’s society: “The poem you get for five dollars at the Poetry Brothel is literally more dear than the dozens you get for zero dollars at a regular reading because most people do not actually believe the best things in life are free.” Does a payment, dim lighting, a slight buzz, and a costumed tempter/ temptress reshape the way we value poetry?  It’s an interesting question, and though the answer definitely is one of double entendre, the novelty and gumption of this tactic deserves wonder and admiration.

And…would you go, if you had the chance?

About the Author: Abigail Browning

aba-city-lights-poet-picAbigail Browning, Founder and Managing Editor, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, received her MFA in Poetry at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Abigail has poems either published or forthcoming in the Yemassee Journal OnlineThe Greensboro Review, Linebreakand RHINO Poetry. In addition, she was honored to receive the Amon Liner Poetry Award, the Noel Callow/Academy of American Poets’ Prize, and was a finalist for the Linda Flowers NC Arts Prize. She also has a passion for jazz music and dance, and teaches swing-era dances in her free time: www.abigailbrowning.com. Currently, she is studying Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media as a PhD at NC State in Raleigh, NC.

Share your thoughts with TSHS!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: