The Poetry Brothel is an organization of poets and artists, directed by The Madame and Tennessee Pink, whose mission is to expand New Yorkers’ personal, intellectual and fiscal interest in poetry through events, workshops and other projects. Intimacy, community, passion, service and transformation of environment and self are the guiding principles behind The Poetry Brothel. With these principles in mind, The Poetry Brothel creates worlds in which poets and non-poets can better come together to celebrate the pleasures of poetry.
The cornerstone of The Poetry Brothel is its event series. A new and dreamlike twist on a poetry reading, The Poetry Brothel is foremost interested in showcasing a diverse roster of emerging and established poets. However, our events are also interactive performance art pieces based on the concept of the prewar brothels in the United States and Europe. Each night The Madame presents a rotating cast of both male and female poets engaged in a night of literary debauchery and private poetry readings. The poets act as “whores,” making audience members “johns,” but instead of physical intimacy, the poets offer the intimacy of their poetry in private, one-on-one readings. For a small fee, all of the resident “whores” are available for these sequestered readings at any time during the event. Of course, any good brothel need a furtive “front” or cover; ours is part saloon and part salon, offering a full bar with absinthe, live music, live painting, fortune-tellers, gypsies, and gamblers with newly integrated performances and installations from our poets and other artists at each event. Each night The Madame and Tennessee Pink also introduce the “new girl,” a featured reader who punctuates the evening with a few special public performances.