Best Reading Series

Hungry Young Poets

Poetry might call to mind genteel sips of wine, but appetites at the Hungry Young Poets summer reading series are fed by topped-off pint glasses and after-party shots. All cozied up at Duff's in the Central West End, you'll find music and laughter — among other things you may not have envisioned taking place at a poetry reading. Locally based lit journal River Styx inaugurated the Hungry Young Poets series 13 years ago, aiming to spotlight rising stars under 33 years old and hailing from within 300 miles of St. Louis. While styles, tones and subjects vary, a certain "joy and optimism" characterizes the featured poets, imparts Julie Dill, who has directed the series for the past three years. When making introductions, Dill reveals a hidden talent or embarrassing fact about each poet, which sets the night's relaxed tone. It's hard to be pretentious when you've admitted to fitting your whole fist in your mouth. HYP happens the third Monday of June, July and August, begins at 7:30 p.m. and sets you back a mere $3 at the door. And about those shots? Vanilla vodka and Frangelico, garnished with sugar and a bite of lemon — a combination of unlike things that, juxtaposed, taste just like chocolate cake. After all, these are poets.

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