Neon Reverb isn’t the only local cultural institution breaking its hiatus. Word Up!, the all-ages weekly event that gave poets of all pedigrees a stage for 12 years until a lack of independent coffeehouses and organizer fatigue prompted a break in 2014, returns March 22 as a bimonthly event.
“One of the things I’ve heard over the last two years is, when is Word Up! coming back?” says Megan Milligan, who has been with the verse/spoken word/music event since its inception. “Even last year at one point we were thinking about it, but time and circumstances didn’t allow it to work out.” But a new venue did when longtime Word Up! organizer Renee Christy put Milligan and Mark Snyder in touch with Pour, a new coffeehouse in the southeast across from Sunset Park.
For now, the three co-founders/co-hosts—Tara Phillips will also host and promote—are taking a back-to-basics approach with Word Up! Besides reducing the schedule to second and fourth Tuesdays, it will solely feature poetry and spoken word, from both guest performers—longtime Word Up! feature Ken Wanamaker and Battleborn Slam’s A.J. Moyer top the bill this week—and open-mic volunteers. Says Milligan: “We’re just trying to [focus on] what originally made Word Up! so great.”