Arts preview: Poetry and pizza

Jim Fischer
Columbus Alive
Ethan Rivera

With two poetry events now calling the Downtown Mikey's Late Night Slice home, perhaps someone will finally come up with the ideal words to describe the shop's mouthwatering pies.

The Ethan Rivera-led Writing Wrongs poetry night and Second Friday Fete, coordinated by Alexis Mitchell, have both relocated to Mikey's in the last couple months. (Writing Wrongs had spent the past several years at the campus-area Ruby Tuesday; Second Friday Fete was previously at the now-closed Kitamu Coffee in Hilliard.) While it was coincidental that both ended up at the Fourth Street pizza shop, organizers hope the moves reinvigorate the events individually and breathe fresh air into an already-robust scene.

“I definitely wouldn't have guessed that the ideal place for us for a move back Downtown would be to a pizza place, but the space is amazing [upstairs at Mikey's],” Rivera said. “I feel like we have a better chance to connect with a community that lives in Columbus year-round.”

Both events follow a similar format, with open mics providing opportunities for writers of all stripes to try out new material, work out performance techniques or maybe even improvise some poetry. These give way to a featured reader or themed presentation.

“We're not moderated. [Our rules are] no hate or phobias or ‘-isms,' but if someone has something they want to express, we're open to it,” Mitchell said. “‘Do you' is kind of the philosophy. Do you but don't be an asshole.”

“We use the term ‘safe space,' but we don't mean that people who say things we disagree with aren't allowed,” Rivera said. “Everyone actually should feel safe, and no one should feel personally attacked. We can't tell you nothing difficult will happen from stage, but we'll be here to make sure it's handled.”

Mitchell said the poetry community in Columbus is “one of the best — engaged, numerous, varied, passionate and talented.” She said she believes Mikey's gives her event an opportunity not only to grow the community of writers and performers she is cultivating, but also an audience.

“People who come to open-mic nights and aren't intending to read and just listen are the backbone [of the scene],” Rivera said.

Second Friday Fete

8:30 p.m. the second Friday of each month

Writing Wrongs

7:30 p.m. the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month

Mikey's Late Night Slice

268 S. Fourth St., Downtown