Ann Quagliato is not much of a poet, but she loves poetry. Maybe that's why she, along with co-owners Kelly Oyama and Devian Richmond, are the proprietors of Wine Up, the longest running poetry spot (over six years) in the Queen City. The NoDa establishment started out as a beer and wine bar and grew to include poetry, open mic, comedy and live music. She's worked in a number of fields, from corporate and retail to nightlife venues, before finding her passion in Wine Up.
Creative Loafing: Do you have a personal interest in poetry?
Ann Quagliato: I would never get up there and do a poem, but I admire the talent and enjoy listening to them perform. I went to the national competition, two years ago in Canada, and I was amazed by the number of talented poets from all over the country that came together to compete. I wish I could write the way they do, but it takes a certain kind [of person] to do poetry.
A lot of the poets that come here consider this home, and although I'm not a poet and would never attempt to be, I consider them family.
What do you love most about your job?
The people — it's a very unique crowd. When people come in they are very comfortable here, and they just enjoy the atmosphere. Sometimes I'll lean back and just look around and think, "This is cool. This is very, very cool." Especially as I come from New York where there is such diversity, it's nice to see everyone come together to just enjoy the show.
What is your focus or motto at Wine Up?
We respect everyone. Wine Up is known for respecting everyone who goes up to the mic. It's not easy to get up there and express yourself, so whoever has the courage to go up there, we say you need to show them some love because it takes a lot to get up there and do this in front of people you don't know.
How is Wine Up different from Corporate America?
The biggest difference for me is freedom and flexibility. I often work much harder and longer hours than I ever did in Corporate America, but now it is on my terms. Wine Up is more than a paycheck — it's a passion.