New York City is the home of literature in America, and it's not just because we have Poets House and The Center For Fiction (although it's pretty dope that we have both of them).
It's not just because the majority of America's literary agents, publishers, and writers are based in NYC, although I'm sure it's a cause and effect sort of situation.
But the reason NYC is home to so much of America's literature, the nucleus of the cell if you will, is because of all the amazing literature venues here.
There are so many people in NYC who believe in the power of the written word, and are dedicating their lives to advancing it.
If you're a burgeoning NYC writer and you're looking for a place to have your talents honed and sharpened, read on my writer friend. You've come to the write city (pun intended).
1. The Nuyorican Poets Café (26 East 3rd Street)
Do you like the feeling of power washing your soul, like your psyche is a gritty sidewalk, and like screamed spoken-word-poetry is the hose?
Well, come to the historically-landmarked Nuyorican Poets Café on a Friday night ($15 entry), and your life will never be the same again. Never again will you accept the status quo, never again will you doubt the power of human voices to articulate the truth in a powerful and artistically nuanced way.
Do you write and read your own poetry? Great, then I challenge you to come to here on a Monday or Wednesday night ($8 entry) and participate in the Open Slam.
You have to be within the first twenty people to participate, but whatever your excuse is, stop believing it. You don’t have to memorize your poem, and I promise you’ll feel empowered and transcended afterward.
2. Poets House (10 River Terrace)
Way downtown in Battery Park lives the most glorious, gorgeous library.
It’s called Poets House, and it stands a bright fixture of books, its floor-to-ceiling windows and white cement columns and tables and chairs, and the Hudson River sings out from outside its windows.
Oh, also, it’s the largest collection of poetry in America, and also features a host of workshops and events. So if it’s during the day on a weekday, and you want to rub spines with the living tradition of poetry inside poets house, poets who, in heart-snapping, beautiful language, articulated every facet of the human experience, then head downtown to poets house.
3. Center for Fiction (17 East 47th Street)
This historic library, formerly known as the New York Mercantile Library, gives NYC writers a home base a place to call home.
It’s the only nonprofit literary organization in the United States dedicated solely to fiction. With readings, workshops, conversations, and lots of books, this library is beautiful, essential, and historic. It’s been a literary resource since 1820, and continues until the present day.
If you’re looking for like-minded people to discuss the craft of fiction, if you want to take a focused, demanding and brilliant workshop, or just hear your favorite author read from her book, the Center for Fiction is probably for you.
4. Brooklyn Public Library (10 Grand Army Plaza - Brooklyn)
Can’t afford one of the workshops at Poets House and the Center for Fiction? I feel you.
I don’t really have $300 to spare either. The great news is that the Brooklyn Library has free workshops open to the public every Monday from 3-5 p.m. Which is super dope.
They also have free guitar workshops, resume help, author talks, poetry discussions, and lots and lots of books. They also have over 1,000 internet connected computers, which are also free and available to the public.