Manic Mouth Congress

Posted on October 31, 2012, 10:18 am
2 mins


Care to expand your poetic experiences? Spoken word poetry group Manic Mouth Congress self-describes as a “literary arts community of humans: readers, writers, listeners, performers.” The group participates in competitive poetry slams and hosts frequent open-mic nights that welcome anyone and everyone to share their creations, whether it is tender emotionalism or stark humor. These events foster community expression in a safe environment where social commentaries are accepted and embraced.

One of the student designed logos for the Manic Mouth Congress.

Spoken word poetry originated during the Harlem Renaissance in conjunction with Blues music. The relationship between the two is quite evident as spoken word uses metered verse to create a specific, deeply emotional tone. Yet, mention of spoken word may conjure images of stereotypical ’90s coffeehouse entertainment—bongo drums and all. I first encountered an open-mic night sponsored by the Manic Mouth Congress when I was a freshman at the University of Washington. I entered Allegro Café in the University District with a pair of friends and an open mind. I’ve attended many times since then, and each time I’m blown away by the emotional power and strength of the people willing to put themselves out there, in such a bare and raw form.

I encourage any and all to attend a spoken word poetry event-hosted by Manic Mouth Congress or any other group. It’s fair to say that the open-mic, collegiate quality of these spoken word poetry events can make some nights better than others. Still, UW’s Manic Mouth Congress is a diamond in the rough.

The open-mic dates for this season are November 15 and 29 in Parnassus Café (a student run café within the University of Washington). The Qualifying Slam Series-the competitive aspect-will occur on November 16 at the Ethnic Cultural Theatre, at 3940 Brooklyn Avenue.

For more information regarding the group and their events, please visit their Facebook page:

Claire Reiner is a writer, artist and recent graduate from the University of Washington’s School of Art with a major in Art History. She is interested in recent art movements and subcultures (1950s, 60s, 70s) and how they have shaped present perceptions and practices of art. She grew up in Southern California and moved to Seattle in 2010. She is quite influenced by the unique geography of both places and enjoys hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest. Reiner covers visual art exhibits in Seattle and seeks to contribute to a profound and positive artistic community, as well as encourage people to come out and experience art moments for themselves. Reiner is also the Executive Assistant for VanguardSeattle and handles any press related needs.