Bangkok Communities: Lyrical Lunacy, Performance Poetry

Musician Buhunero Clandestino (left), and MC Jnknslry (right)

The Spoken Word is spreading throughout the City of Angels. The emergence of new Open Mic events in Bangkok is breathing life into the arts community. More poetry is being written and more people are stepping up to the mic and sharing the words they wrote, conjured from the heart. It all started with a performance poet called KJ Ink, five years ago. He was the first of his kind in Bangkok, and his assembling of a group of like-minded poets led to the inaugural Lyrical Lunacy on January 26, 2014 at the now-closed venue, Overground. Bangkok’s oldest poetry Open Mic now resides at Live Lounge Bkk and the power of the Spoken Word is as poignant as its ever been. Lyrical Lunacy now organize open mic shows, poetry workshops, concerts, theatre productions, and other community focused events with the aim of expanding the practice of Spoken Word poetry in Bangkok.

Bangkok Lyrical Lunacy, Live lounge Bkk

What is Lylu’s Open Mic show all about? It may seem strange to see an audience showing unconditional love to the performer on stage, and to one another. We live in a world of separation and segregation, yet that world doesn’t exist with the realms of Lylu. The significance of this show reaches far beyond the confines of performance and poetry. The vibe created at this event is so absorbing and inclusive, you can feel the strength of the human spirit in its element.

Spoken Word poetry is how you capture the zeitgeist of any given community. If you want to know what the People are saying, how they are feeling during any particular moment, go to a local Spoken Word Poetry show. Open Mics and Spoken Word showcases are the barometers needed to gauge and understand what any community is really thinking and feeling.

Jnknslry, long time Lylu Host and MC
A Lyrical Lunacy Performance Workshop

I have seen people come to this show as spectators, who had never written a poem in their lives. They often return after their first Lylu experience with a poem in their hand.

What unfolds on the stage is pure, live Open Mic brilliance. Often as writers, words are written, and quickly abandoned as the page is turned. Poetry Open Mic brings our words to life on the stage, through performance, as we share sentiments with an audience who offer their compassionate support in abundance. After all, it takes courage to get onto the stage, and this is the ideal place to start. The experience is life-changing and exhilarating. Going toe-to-toe with fear is no joke, but with the Lylu audience in your corner, the fight is winnable for anyone.

After half a decade of watching people confront this fear, only to return to face it again on multiple occasions, I’ve realized that fear is like the friend that you spar with to become a better fighter, or the friend who spots you while lifting heavy weights at the gym. Once you encounter fear and familiarize yourself with it, you realize that facing fear is what makes you into who you are. 

Jnksnslry, long time host of Lylu and MC
Bangkok MC Unda performing at the Lylu Open mic

Through the power of Lylu’s inclusive community, their Open Mic is able to transcend cultural boundaries. The presence of local Thais joining the international, multi-cultural crowd is always heart-warming. All languages are welcome. The words expressed by the poet don’t have to be understood, they will always be personal. Yet the connection between performer and audience at Spoken Word shows is magic. Here is someone pouring their heart out, a burst of emotion and feeling, which, as compassionate humans, we can relate to – no matter where we come from.

Lylu Legends of the Poetry Open Mic

When I shared a poem for the first time at Lylu, I felt genuinely lifted by the energy in the room. Getting on stage is a scary experience, yet we walk off the stage better communicators and more confident, as we realize that we have stood face-to-face with fear instead of running from it.

A deafening roar, when there’s nothing said.

The silence is speaking volumes again.

Why does she rear her head?

It’s unsettling.

Where did the comforting murmurs go?

When there’s silence I’m all alone

Filled with dread.

Excerpt from “Silence”, one of the first poems I ever performed at Lylu.

A clean rush of energy washes over you, as you take your seat and enjoy the rest of the show, supporting the other Open Mic performers. There is a strong sense of camaraderie. After all, we’re all on this journey of self-mastery together.  We’re just all at different points along the path.

How to connect:

  • Facebook: @bangkoklyricallunacy
  • Email:

Upcoming events:

  • Bangkok Lylu Open Mic, Friday June 14th, Live Lounge Bkk, 8pm.

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