When they're not burning books to protest America's declining interest in reading, the lovable kooks at Prospero's Books fuel the flames of literacy by opening a makeshift stage for local poets and prosers. The store's bimonthly Pit spotlights authors from the Unholy Day Press catalog (Connie Dover, Mark Hennessy, Ed Tato) as well as local poets, singer-songwriters, visual artists and culinary contributors. Presented with the social flair of a French salon, the Pit attracts cheeky wordsmiths with hard-earned chips on their shoulders. "Poets are little temperamental freaks, and I'm one of them," offers organizer Jason Ryberg, who co-founded the event in 1997 with Prospero's owner Will Leathem. Such tempers are celebrated during the open-mic portion of the Pit, which runs the gamut from sobering to hilarious and challenges the thicket of imbibing bystanders to spend a solid hour in shut-the-hell-up city. Stay abreast of future Pits by signing up for the store's e-mail blasts at prosper osbookstore.com.