Events - The Poetry Brothel, Colchester

The oldest literary form meets the oldest profession in England’s oldest recorded town, tonight at the Three Wise Monkeys!

A few years ago poet Alex Toms read an article about the New York Poetry Brothel and was smitten with the idea of its theatricality and the way the audience has to actively participate - so different from conventional poetry events. Based in concept on the fin-de-siecle bordellos in New Orleans and Paris, many of which functioned as safe havens for fledgling, avant-garde artists, The Poetry Brothel presents a rotating cast of poets as 'whores', who impart their work in public readings, spontaneous eruptions of poetry, and most distinctly, as purveyors of private, one-on-one poetry readings in intimate spaces.

At the time, Alex was pregnant with her youngest son, so any thoughts of participating in such an event were just that, thoughts. Fast forward to a lazy Sunday afternoon in September, messing around online, Alex stumbled upon a reference to the Poetry Brothel in London. She discovered there are successful Poetry Brothels throughout Europe, including Barcelona, Dublin and Berlin and started thinking “Why not Colchester?” Before she knew it fellow poet Lelia Ferro was involved, and they were setting up an event and approaching poet friends!

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And lo and behold, they've pulled it off! This very night Brothel Madam Suki SilverTongue will welcome you to the inaugural event of the Poetry Brothel Colchester! The evening promises to be a heady feast for the senses, with poetry and prose performances from some of Essex’s most exciting acts, music by special guest Gavin Bowern, and tarot readings by Ruth Raymer.

The event is aimed at anyone and everyone - especially those who think they don’t like poetry. The immersive nature of the event makes it inclusive. The first half of the evening will be similar to how most poetry events are run, with each poet performing a short set in turn. Then, during the second half, there’ll be the opportunity to buy ten-minute private table readings from the poet ('whore') of your choice. Or you can just sit back, enjoy the live music and just soak up the atmosphere! 

This enchanting evening takes place today, Thursday, 7 December in the Basement Gin Bar of the Three Wise Monkeys. Doors open at 7.30p.m for an 8.00p.m start. No booking necessary, just turn up in your Christmas glad rags! £5 recommended donation on the door. Poker chips will be available to purchase for £3 redeemable on a private table reading or a tarot reading.

Alex and Lelia are also proud to announce that they’ve been invited to open the Essex Book Festival’s PLACE weekend on 1 March. Expect an even bigger event, with lots of poems, songs and stories reflecting Colchester’s rich history and landscape! Stay tuned!

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