October 6th – Auf Wiedersehen

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To our extended poetry family,

On Sunday, October 6, 2013,The Worcester Poets’ Asylum will be closing up shop. After nearly two and a half decades of weekly open mics, we are going on an extended hiatus. We will be back someday in some form. We promise. For now, however, it is time for us to bid the New England poetry scene a very fond “see you later.” But if you know The Asylum, you know that we aren’t going out without a very big bang. As a tribute to the last twenty-four years of weekly poetry open mics and slams in the city of Worcester (that’s roughly 1,250 readings for those of you playing along at home), we are holding one last big show. For one last night, we are pulling out all the stops. One last hurrah! Once more with feeling! Once more into the breech! Many of The Asylum’s past regulars, staff members, team members and features will be there to read and tell stories. All of the Poet’s Asylum merchandise that has been made over the years will be sold. All of the insane recipes that our refreshments team has been too scared to try will be baked and served. A portion of the profits from the event will go towards settling all of The Asylum’s accounts. Whatever is left over will go to benefit our home base for the last two years: Worcester’s only community radio station, WCUW. This is it, kids. If you are looking for a way to show your support of a slam that has given so much to the New England scene, this is your chance. We hope you can all come through and show your love for this legendary New England reading. Doors at 6:30, show at 7 – all ages and free free free; coffee and snacks by donation.

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  1. The Worcester Poets’ Asylum, in the years from (roughly now) 1991 to 1997 – that scene and that time – was where I cut my teeth as a brash and arrogant young person so many years ago. That place and that me still live on in the back of my mind and sometimes I visit that place when I feel lost. Honestly. Forgive the hyperbole, but I think the occasion warrants it; it’s barely conceivable to me that what started out as a relatively small handful of poetry comrades meeting up at a café friendly to their interests to trade one or two poems could have over the many years blossomed into the elegant and nationally-respected Colossus that it has become. There’s an autumn to everything, though; that is the only way to get through to another summer. Those who may actually recall my involvement with the Asylum in its early years will likely also recall (as, to my perpetual mortification, I do) my countless mistakes as a contributing writer and performer in that scene, but I also recall how much being a part of it helped me at times to grow and (ever so slowly) learn and actually do one or two things right. So many nights under the bright lights on that little stage at Eleni’s Midnite Café. So many unforgettable voices, faces and poems. It’s just so hard to accurately convey the sense of what it was like to anyone who was never there. I wonder if the city of Worcester (and the surrounding New England environs) will really, truly ever grasp the magnitude of what has happened within its walls. If anyone should ask me where I got my start as a poet and performer, I would be proud to tell them that I once made my home in the Worcester scene. For what scant amount it might be worth as an expatriate now living and trying to be a poet in the desert land, I wish everyone there in Worcester the best. Have an excellent final show. Be as good as you always have been.

    In lasting admiration and with lasting affection,

    Rich Boucher

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