“Last night, I went to the Openned poetry reading, a series curated by Alex Davies and Steve Willey, held at The Foundry in central London. I thought the reading was fantastic and unpretentious. Perhaps because we were in the basement of a bar, perhaps because there was butcher paper on the walls and folks were writing poems and scribbling on them, perhaps because at any given moment a heckler could make his way down the stairs and enter the performance. The crowd of 75 or so was rowdy, a genki bunch. They bellowed with speech during the short intros, then listened intently to the poets…. I left feeling energized by the poetry scene here in London. Overall, a very good evening of poetry.’ Michelle Naka Pierce (Openned reader, Professor and poet, Director of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics)
In 2005 I founded the Openned.com reading series with my pal and fellow poet Alex Davies. In a converted bank vault in Old Street, and then in other venues, we staged 27 readings from over 100 performers, including poets, musicians, filmmakers and activists. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of. The Openned website is still live, and although quieter these days, we plan to run other projects under its name. However, while the cogs of newness turn, I thought I’d share some of my favourite memories from Openned and tell you about some the spin-offs from the project. I’ll be posting the first memory up shortly.