The Poetry Brothel


The Poetry Brothel is An immersive literary cabaret that fuses poetry, burlesque, live music, vaudeville, visual art, magic, mysticism, and private, one-on-one poetry experiences. 

Inspired by the turn- of-the-century brothels in New Orleans, Paris, and Buenos Aires, many of which functioned as permissive spaces where marginalized, fringe, and avant-garde artists could experiment and perform their work, The Poetry Brothel presents a rotating cast of poets, each operating within carefully constructed characters, who share their work through staged public performances, spontaneous immersive eruptions, and, most distinctly, as purveyors of intimate poetic experiences in private spaces. Central to the experience is the creation of character, which for each artist functions as a disguise and freeing device, enabling The Poetry Brothel to be a place of uninhibited creative expression in which poets and audience members can be themselves in private.

Artists performing at the Brothel are male, female, and everything in between; emerging and established; local and international, and they collectively present a variety show that features poetry performances and compositions, live music, vaudeville, burlesque, aerials, visual art, magic, and mysticism, with newly integrated themes, performances and installations at each event. 

As site-specific interactive theater, The Poetry Brothel investigates the value of poetry in contemporary society and calls conventional tropes governing the aesthetic presentation of poets and prostitutes within Western culture into question.  The Brothel also explores and creatively responds to the tendency of poets to systematically undervalue themselves inside the creative marketplace by providing a fun and intimate means of confirming for writers and audience alike the literal monetary value of such work. By entwining these strands in a seamless, immersive experience The Poetry Brothel serves as a deep examination of the empowering and exploitative elements inherent in fee-based transactions for services between willing adults.