Poetry, pub and peers

Thursday 9 March marked the premiere event of WritersBloc Grahamstown, at the Slipstream Sports Bar. Formed in Johannesburg, WritersBloc brings poets and musicians together for a night full of entertainment. Founder and CEO, Calen Critchfield tells The Oppidan Press a little more.

Critchfield started WritersBloc in October 2015 for lovers of poetry to come together. He said, “I wanted to create a space where people were free to come grab the finest cup of coffee or the smoothest whiskey and enjoy people expressing themselves.” Poetry is a beautiful form of art and self-expression, and as a poet himself, Critchfield stated, “It is beautiful how words can paint so many pictures with the deepest, most sincere of colours shouting out of a black pen.”

This was the first WritersBloc event to be held in Grahamstown, a town known for its dedication to art. Critchfield said, “Moving to Grahamstown was a very wise decision, as it is a town which is very passionate about art and self-expression.” WritersBloc hosts events in Grahamstown every week to every second week, and will be making appearances at the National Arts Festival later this year.

WritersBloc events are an enchanting experience and are “[a] place where people feel inspired to share, jump on the open mic and fill the room with happiness”. The events are a place of connection, being true to oneself and expressing yourself freely.

For those who haven’t experienced a poetry event before, Critchfield advises that we should “[expect] people to let their minds loose and express what is inside their chests”. Critchfield said, “Expect the best from every performer – poet or musician.”

Poetry and music are closely linked, as lyrics and poetry can paint idyllic imagery. Live music is performed at each event, and the upcoming events are always calling for poets and musicians to perform. Anyone is free to step up onto the stage and express themselves either through poetry or music. Critchfield said, “We are very excited and honoured to be able to hold our Grahamstown events, and to see what Grahamstown has to offer.”

So, keep an eye out for the events on Facebook, grab your friends and head down to the Slipstream Sports Bar for a night filled with self-expression, beautiful lyrical verses, and musical excellence.


Words by Elle Williams