Not just a place to sample the gastronomic delights of paella and the notorious cocktail Agua de Valencia, the city of Valencia boasts a thriving arts scene of art, music and poetry. At ‘Kaf Café’ in the artistic neighbourhood of Benimaclet (Plaça d’Emili Beüt i Belenguer, 7, 46020), a local bar has been metamorphosed into a hub for the arts, showcasing new voices, both in poetry and in music. Named after the renowned writer Franza Kafka, every Thursday at 8:30pm this bar plays host to a poetry open mic evening, while Sunday at the same time dedicates its space to those who are more musically inclined.
The host for Thursday nights is warm and welcoming, breaking the ice and easing the nerves of all those who have put their names down to perform with a comedic opening address which almost edges into the realm of a stand up routine. After getting several rounds of laughter and reading a poem by César Vallejo, he announces that it is the turn of those brave individuals who have elected to display their work to the assembled audience. He invites poets to come and read work in whatever language they feel comfortable in; whether that be Spanish, English, German, Polish or any other language besides. A beautiful example of internationalism.
Yet all made the effort to perform in Spanish, even though it is not every poet’s mother tongue. The strong sounds of the Spanish language rolled around the space, tinged with French, Italian and English accents. One reporter from ‘24/7 Valencia’ even did a bilingual performance at the request of the audience, to ensure that nothing from their original poems was lost in translation.
The poets who stepped up to the microphone on that warm October evening offered a wide array of topics for our listening pleasure, ranging from the fierce independence of women, the loss of a loved one, the relationship between poetry and rap, and even a compelling and frankly hilarious piece detailing a short history of the world, and the place of art within it. As one English-speaking listener commented “I could understand 5% of what he was saying but he still had me entranced throughout the entire poem.”
Wrapping up at 11pm, all who attended, both performers and audience left feeling full, culturally and with a generous helping of patatas bravas. If you are a budding poet or a fan of the art form, make sure to be at Kaf Café on Thursday at 8:30pm to witness the spectacle.
Report by Danny Weller
Article copyright ’24/7 Valencia’
‘Kaf Café’ photo copyright Danny Weller / ’24/7 Valencia’
Plaça d’Emili Beüt i Belenguer, 7
663 70 29 60