As Lois E. Griffith has said, "the Open Room is home base" for poetry at the Nuyorican. It is a classic open mic where anyone who signs the book at the end of the bar can get up and read one poem. There are no judges and no numbers and the host keeps the energy moving and the audience appreciative.

Nuyorican Open Room hosts have been great "night birds." They must be enthusiastic, alert and ready to go Friday Night at around one am after the Slam, when the Open Room begins. Each and every one has been special and important to the Nuyorican. Often, they mentor shy poets, or those who don't want to slam but love to write and share their work. They create a different kind of atmosphere once all the sounds of the Slam subside and folks are settled into their seats again. The Open Room is the place where you can actually feel comfortable "reading" something you can have a piece of paper right in front of your nose and not necessarily perform it. Like many others, I often tried out a new piece in the Open Room sometimes written just hours before.

Lois, the Cafe Director, hosted the first Open Room that happened after the Friday Night Slam in the early years. Keith Roach began his SlamMaster history in this spot, taking over for Lois. Evert Eden was also hosting here on occasion in those early days.

I had my first experience reading my poetry in public at the Nuyorican Open Room in 1993. I was so exhilarated by this experience that I didn't sleep at all that night. It remains a wonderful open door for creativity and the tradition continues to this day. -CU

"The Cafe has been a place where those who believe in the power of art have come to identify themselves. From the inception of the Nuyorican there has always been an Open Room. There has always been a book at the end of the bar in which anyone can sign up and be guaranteed time on stage to speak poetry or express views. It is our 'home base' for the poetic experience." -Lois E. Griffith


Other Illustrious Hosts


lois elaine griffith

keith roach

guy lecharles gonzalez

juliet gomez

jeffrey feller

rich villar

anthony morales

Except for Indigo, everyone above was an Open Room Host at the Nuyorican. Indigo has always defied category, (!) and while he hosted the Friday Night Slam on occasion, he also hosted other readings and "specialty" Slams at the Cafe...he was one of a kind. And if you were around when he was, you know he couldn't be forgotten!