I know for certain that on the third Tuesday night of every month, nearly everyone in the side room, off the main Coffee and Tea Club room, is a writer, or a fan of writing. It's the monthly Writers Reading at Sweetwaters, started in October 2006 by Chris Lord, a poet and winner of several local writing contests, and Esther Hurwitz, a freelance writer who used to coordinate the similar Feed the Poets series at the dear departed Del Rio.
There's not a laptop in sight as the writers walk to the back wall and recite poems or brief prose pieces, even sing a song or two, into a lone microphone plugged into a nearby boom box. The mike helps them compete with the faint hum of conversation and cappuccino machines, and the clinking of cups coming from the main room. Their reward when they finish? Enthusiastic clapping and a chunk of a chocolate chip or molasses cookie, courtesy of Sweetwaters.
The other main reading venue in town is the Heidelberg Club Above, monthly home of the Ann Arbor Poetry Slam — but, as someone said at a recent WR@S, "not everyone is a slam kind of poet." And since Sweetwaters serves no alcohol, it has a less competitive, combative ambience.