The Cobalt Poets series was a weekly open reading at the Cobalt Cafe in Canoga Park, California, hosted from early 1994 to December 30, 2014 by Rick Lupert. For almost 21 years this series hosted thousands of open mic readers, many of whom read for the first time on its stage, many of whom went on to be active participants in the larger poetry scenes in Los Angeles and all over the world.
Starting as an all poetry/spoken word open mic, a weekly featured reader was added, first once a month picked and presented by the Valley Contemporary Poets, then every week, picked by Rick along with other partnering organizations including Hollywood Institute of Poetics and Poetry Solves Problems.
Every week, emboldened by the idea that poetry has value, and poets should be compensated for their work, we published a broadside for all of our featured readers. It was a custom designed 11" x 17" poster featuring a poem, photo and bio of the poet. You can see all 419 of them here.
The reading also featured the infamous "Group Poem", an exquisite corpse that the community in attendance would write together, read at the end of the evening. It was a sort of glorious and often hilarious form of literary torture. All of the group poems have been saved and are sitting safely in a filing cabinet in Van Nuys, safely protecting all of humanity from ever seeing them again.
The Cobalt Cafe closed on December 31, 2014. Thanks to the owner Dave Politi, for donating his venue to the poetry commmunity for all of this time. There were many nights when, even when the one drink minimum was observed by everyone, that the costs of having the venue open were not covered. Dave Politi is a patron saint of the Los Angeles poetry community and we wish him the best in health and prosperity in all of his future endeavors.
There's always the chance another venue will come along. We're going to be picky about it and take our time. But please join our e-mail list and/or Facebook Group to be kept up to date with any future news.
February 7th, 2003