Panoramic Poetry holds first event of the year on Greene Street

Last Friday, the October Gallery’s first Panoramic Poetry event of the year provided an intimate setting for new attendees.

Panoramic Poetry boasts itself as the oldest running poetry venue in Philadelphia. The gallery, located at 6353 Greene St., is owned by Evelyn and Mercer Redcross. The Redcross’ son, Lamar, started the event almost 19 years ago as a way to further the arts as well as connect people. It meets at the gallery every second and third Friday of the month. It is also hosted every first and last Sunday at the Sedgwick Theater.

The group sat in a circle with art displayed on each wall of the room while music played in the background including songs from Neo-Soul artists Jill Scott and Marsha Ambrosius, both former Panoramic performers.

If this was your first time at the event, you would have thought you were in the wrong place. That was the case with an artist named David who had just walked into the topic of the day section where the group discussed the upcoming presidential election.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Crucial, Panoramic Poetry’s host, said the current events section is a great way to encourage conversation among the audience.

“For non poets, I hope it will get them thinking and for poets, I hope it will inspire them to write something regarding the conversation they have just heard,” said Crucial. “I believe it’s a good appetizer to get people warmed up for the poetry that is yet to come because when poets speak they come from different angles.

Newcomer Chazz heard about the event through Facebook. Usually, everyone must sign up before the day of the event if they want to perform three poems for eight minutes, but the audience voted unanimously giving him the chance to perform.

Even though he has been writing poetry since he was 12-years-old, he has only performed his collection of nearly 200 poems a handful of times.

He performed an untitled poem and “I am a poet,” which was written to dispel the myths of what it means to be a poet.

“A lot of people, for whatever reason, have this stereotypical view of what a poet should look like and I don’t feel like that is true. That piece is not just for me, but for all poets that get that stereotypical look,” said Chazz.

His performance received high recognition from the group with several members throwing their pens to the floor, which symbolizes that the audience likes his poem so much, they would rather him write their poem.

“It was great and it shocked me in the middle of my poem, but I think this was the most creative way to show appreciation for one another,” said Chazz.

Newcomer Josette Bolden was also among the group of regular attendees Annelisa Rose, Veronica Allen, Ronald G. Purnell, and Lyrical Thought.

If Chazz does not have to work this Friday, he plans to return to the group as he described the experience as different than anything he has ever been to.

For more information, visit

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal