Our next feature comes to us all the way from Toronto, Canada, and we’re fully giddy to announce Jeff Cottrill appearing live in the loft of Portland Brew East. He’s been a shining fixture of our zoom readings since launching those in 2020, and now he’s making the trip to join us in person for our May 14 event!

2nd Saturday Open Mic Poetry Reading

Located at:
Portland Brew East
1921 Eastland Avenue
Nashville, TN 37206

Sign-up at 4:30pm
Reading starts at 5:00pm

Choose any spot on the list in the loft. Each person on the signup gets 5 minutes max on the open mic.

May 14 Feature Jeff Cottrill

Jeff Cottrill is a fiction writer, poet, journalist and spoken-word artist based in Toronto, Canada. He has headlined in countless literary series throughout Canada, the UK, the US, France and Ireland over the last 20 years. His performance style is influenced by slam conventions, but subverts them with wit, ironic humour and a satirical tone. He recently published Hate Story, his seventh or eighth attempt at a first novel, and his poem “This Is Not Real Poetry” is nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Jeff likes writing, movies, travel, and puppies.

Visit Jeff on his website, Facebook, Twitter, or Wattpad.

This Is Not Real Poetry

This is not real poetry
Because in the first five words
I have already broken the Koyczan Rule™:
That one must never write poetry about poetry.
The same logic that makes Tom Stoppard a hack
Since he writes plays about plays.

This is not real poetry
Because it has no intended rhythm or metre.
It is just an anarchy of chopped-up prose
With line breaks not random enough to be called “art”.
Best to chuck it down a literary Memory Hole
With William Carlos Williams and his breakfast plums.

This is not real poetry
Because it is devoid of concrete sensory imagery
And poetry is worthless without concrete sensory imagery
Or so the real poets tell me.
The argument I hear tends to go like this:
Um. Poetry is about, like, images, and like, how you sense stuff, and how you, like, make the reader see and smell and feel the same things, but in sort of a poetic way, with words, okay, and like, if you can’t do that, um, then you’re stupid and boring and you shouldn’t write ANYTHING EVER. Stupid.
No way I can win that debate.

This is not real poetry
Because it is about ideas, not emotions
Because it is about thought, not feeling
Because it is about content, not style
Because it is about reason, not passion.
I hope I can build a bonfire big enough
To burn the complete works of Alexander Pope,
Jonathan Swift, Voltaire and the rest of the eighteenth century.

This is not real poetry
Because we all know what real poetry is.
Real poetry is never funny.
Real poetry is never affable.
Real poetry is never simple.
Real poetry is never direct.
Real poetry is a harsh, scholarly discipline that one cannot do properly without a lifetime of labour and sacrifice, crafting every word and syllable with the sick obsession of a madman, rewriting and refining every line as if a speck of imperfection would spark the pain of a thousand migraines, suffocating in pain and misery and bile, but always with cool sound-bonding.

Real poetry is no fun.
That is why I never write it.

(originally appeared in the Brownstone Poets anthology)

Upcoming Events:

  • May 7 Open Mic on Zoom
  • May 14 Portland Brew East Open Mic featuring Jeff Cottrill (from Toronto, Canada!)
  • June 4 Open Mic on Zoom
  • June 11 Portland Brew East Open Mic featuring Lyss Hart
  • July 2 Open Mic on Zoom
  • July 9 Portland Brew East Open Mic featuring Chris “Blk Sol” Hill (from Wichita, Kansas!)
  • August 6 Open Mic on Zoom
  • August 12-13 Tomato Art Fest (Tomato Haiku Contest winners announced Saturday the 13th)
  • August 13 Portland Brew East Open Mic featuring Brandon Long

Sugg. $5 cover. Become a sustaining member of the Brew Crew to earn perks, including access to livestreams and media archive: We also accept Cash App $PitBNash, Venmo @ChristineRaquel, and PayPal @poetryinthebrew.

Thanks to Patrick and the Portland Brew East crew who stay open late for us. Grab some food and drink, and tip them in cash.

Here are some photos from our April 9 open mic at Portland Brew East featuring Silence Wordsmith, with Billy H, Brandon Long, Franchesa Kirkpatrick, Black Widow, Sara (Wonder Woman), Carolyn Connolly, Lyss Hart, Beth-Marie, Stacy Tortorella, Blake Matthews, Greg Slade, Tyler Smith, Tara, and Maggie Williams.

Thanks to our patrons, and especially Impresario Extraordinaires Rhoda Thomas, Bonnie Solloway, and Katie Thompson for helping produce this event! Watch the video on Patreon (subscriptions start $1/month).

Email Brew host Christine Hall for more info:

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