Open Mic Performers

The first time someone steps up to the mic, it can take some encouragement. Or a dare. Or Dutch courage.

Some of us needed all three.

Early-stage poets and singers typically have jitters and doubts and questions, like what’s the best way to intro my poem? What do I do at the end of my set? How can I get more comfortable at the mic? Should I bring my mom/dad/friend/boss/neighbor?

Well, here’s some answers, gathered from open mics that span 10 years, nearly 3 dozen states, and countless performances—from the awkward to the honest, the magical, and the weird.

Don’t stress. You got this.

The Shift to Digital Open Mics

The Shift to Digital Open Mics

One of the things I say a lot when I try—and I try often—to convey just how great an open mic is (or was) is that you just had to be there. In the room. In the space. With all the other people. Breathing in the poems and the music… …and the air. Which in most states...

How to Do Open Mic, Get Applause, and Never Feel Awkward Again

How to Do Open Mic, Get Applause, and Never Feel Awkward Again

A while back, I wrote about how to introduce yourself and your work at an open mic. This post is that post’s bookend.  Open mic poets (and musicians and storytellers and comics) are an earnest lot. We’re amateurs and we know it—amateurs who aim to get better,...

Finding the Right Open Mic For You

Open mics are like hair styles and lovers and garden art and…well, anything we choose based on what we like or what fits. While I certainly haven’t seen it all, I’ve seen a lot. So here, with the usual caveats: a reductive but well-meant description of some of the...

How to Find an Open Mic in Another Town

  The last two open mics I tried to attend found ways of not happening. One was on hiatus for December because its regular night fell too close to the holidays. The other seems to have lost its venue. So it goes sometimes with labor-of-love events. No one’s...