The putas from the poetry brothel
Sex sells. So while poetry may interest some, the word ‘poetry’ coupled with the word ‘brothel’ arguably arouses the interest of many more people. Barcelona’s Prostíbulo Poético has been going for about six months and become increasingly popular, drawing an audience that comes to hear poets dressed like burlesque prostitutes recite their, usually, semi-erotic poetry.
But what is a prostíbulo poético exactly? Basically, it’s a venue where spoken poetry and written poetry have equal weight; where interactive performance art is combined with the intimacy of the written word read privately. It works like this: customers come to the bar where the brothel is taking place, a book is passed around with descriptions of the poet-prostitutes, and then audience members are able to choose a private reading with one of the poets. The poet then takes the client to a secluded table, a nook behind a velvet curtain, perhaps, or some other quiet spot, and reads a poem. Tips are encouraged, but the event is free.
The first Poetry Brothel took place in New York a few years ago and was developed by Kiely, aka Barcelona’s ‘Madame Eva’, and a couple of her friends. New York’s Poetry Brothel is still going strong, and the Barcelona brothel seems to be taking off with similar success. Madame Eva is the driving force behind the brothel and in charge of organising group critiques with the poets, as well as putting together the brothel event each month.
“The Madame presents a rotating cast of the city’s finest poets (both men and women) engaged in a night of surreal happenings, literary debauchery and private poetry readings,” explained Kiely of her role as the brothel’s Madame. She also wants to bring music and other art forms into the brothel to make it an even more dynamic experience. This month’s Prostíbulo Poético, which will be held at Bar Rouge, will feature a live band, palm readers, the baking of a sensuous chef and, of course, the poet-prostitutes who will be presenting new work they’ve written during the summer. The poets are from many cultures and speak a variety of languages, so ‘johns’ can hear a poem in Castilian, English, Catalan or French.
Poeta Cabanyes 21
September 17th, 10pm