Popular poetry series returns to Museum of Art with Brother’s Keeper


Warwick Museum of Art will bring back their popular poetry event, Mad Poet’s Café, starting Saturday, March 8 at the Museum.

The event will occur on Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. in the main gallery of the Museum at 3259 Post Road in Warwick. Tickets can be purchased for $4; free parking and light refreshments will be available.

Mad Poet’s Café: An Evening of Spoken Word Performances started at the Museum in the summer of 2002 as a one-night event, but because of the positive response from poets and writers, it quickly became a monthly event. According to a release from the Museum, the opportunity to perform on a stage with a respectful audience while surrounded by beautiful artwork was a “welcome change” from performing at crowded coffee shops competing to be heard over the espresso machine.

Between 2002 and 2006, the Museum’s monthly event became an opportunity to host award-wining poets, as well as beginners looking to share their art during open microphone opportunities. Over 100 poets performed during the series, including Warwick poet and playwright Geoffrey Beattie, Rhode Island Poet Laureate Tom Chandler, award winner Michael Mack, and member of Boston Poetry Slam teams Jack McCarthy.

Museum program director Simone Spruce-Torres discovered a file detailing the former Mad Poet’s Café after joining the staff in fall 2013. After reading about the program’s former success, she decided revitalizing the program would be a great fit.

“Rhode Island has so many gifted, talented artists,” said Spruce-Torres. “I was looking to create a performance weekend to get families to come to the museum in addition to the gallery. I thought it would be a good time to bring it back.”

To kick-off the event’s revival, Spruce-Torres thought New England-based Brother’s Keeper would be the ideal first performer. The group is known for their blend of poetry, music and theatrical elements to tell stories of the human experience from the male perspective during their performances.

Brother’s Keeper is made up of Marlon Carey, Art Collins, Lawrence Nunes and Yunus Quddus. According to a release from the Museum, the four men “are committed to embodying the positive aspects of manhood – compassion, responsibility and sensitivity – to spark discussion and compel others to change attitudes and actions.”

The group has received a number of accolades, including an official citation from East Providence Mayor James A. Briden for their debut performance at the Annual Black History Month Presentation in 2012.

Saturday’s event will be emceed by Christopher Johnson, a nationally known poet.

The goal of this revival is to host a Mad Poet’s Café on the second Saturday of each month; Spruce-Torres is also looking to bring musical performances to the Museum in a similar manner.


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