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Topic: Chicago Poetry Reviews: Click Headlines
The new items published under this topic are as follows.


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spacer.gif   Review of City Of The Big Shoulders, Ryan G. Van Cleave (University of Iowa Press)
Posted by : cj on Sunday, March 04, 2012 - 05:34 PM
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8272 Reads

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City Of The Big Shoulders
An Anthology of Chicago Poetry
Edited by Ryan G. Van Cleave
University of Iowa Press
Reviewed by CJ Laity


I've been anticipating the release of City Of The Big Shoulders (An Anthology of Chicago Poetry) for some time, so I was thrilled to come home after raiding the last two hours of the AWP Conference's bookfair to find that the University of Iowa Press was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy. The next day I sat down and eagerly read the 151 pages of poetry written by 99 different poets and I must say, I'm not in the least bit disappointed. In fact, I really love this anthology.
Note: Click Here to read the entire review.


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spacer.gif   Piano Rats by Franki Elliot (Cubside Splendor) Review
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, February 08, 2012 - 07:41 PM
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7912 Reads

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piano rats
by Franki Elliot
Curbside Splendor Publishing
Reviewed by CJ Laity

This review contains some adult language.

Curbside Splendor certainly has been making some splashes around town. The buzz: it is the up and coming Chicago lit publisher. The fact that Curbside has now taken over the 33-year-old Another Chicago Magazine from Left Field Press certainly isn't going to hurt their momentum any, and despite the cover of ACM's Issue #50.2 (the second in the Chicago series) drawing attention to the poets themselves rather than the art of literature, if what is contained within is even half as impressive as Issue #50 this should seal Curbside's fate as a Chicago publisher that we can depend on for years to come.

So, it's about time I take a look at one of Curbside's titles. I'll take a look at piano rats by Franki Elliot, having received a copy for being the 1000th person to "like" Curbside's Facebook page (no kidding). I'll review this title in my usual way, the way I've been reviewing poetry for the last twenty years. I won't look at piano rats from the perspective of some graduate student trying to impress you with a bunch of fancy incomprehensible mumbo jumbo. Instead, I'll discuss the poetry in piano rats in layman's terms. In other words, I'm going to give it two readings and then I'm going to simply let you know what I think about it. Fair enough?
Note: Click Here to read the full review of Piano Rats.

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spacer.gif   ACM's Chicago Issue Is Finally Here!
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 06:17 PM
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8202 Reads

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Another Chicago Magazine #50 v.1
The Chicago Issue
Left Field Press
Reviewed by CJ Laity


I first heard the call for submissions for ACM’s Chicago Issue over a year ago. It promised to deliver a “playful jab” at Granta, a journal that was first published in 1889 at Cambridge and that was reinvented in 1979 as a magazine of new writing. Months before the ACM open call, Granta had come out with its own “Chicago issue” that was released locally with a lot of hoopla, hoopla that was quickly drowned out by critics who complained of its “lack of Chicago writers.” Throughout 2010, ACM 50 became less of a playful jab and more of a labor of love for Editor-In-Chief Jacob Knabb and for the other ACM staff, as they set out to create something that showcased the local lit scene as it really exists, not as some publication located in London imagined it exists, so I think it is rather fitting that I picked up my copy of ACM at the recent Indie Lit Road Show, which was sort of a mini-bookfair held at Green Lantern Gallery, where several reps from our lit scene showcased their publications as a blizzard raged outdoors.
Note: Click Here to read the full review.

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spacer.gif   In Defense Of The Guild Complex's Tour Guides
Posted by : cj on Saturday, December 11, 2010 - 12:07 AM
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4225 Reads

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I just got back from the Guild Complex’s presentation of Tour Guides, a wonderful hybrid performance of poetry and theater, and I simply feel the need to defend it from a lazy, damaging and might I say completely bitchy review of it, written by some rookie Chicago Tribune staff reporter named Nina Metz. I don’t know much about this person who has only been fulltime on the staff of the Trib since mid-September, but judging by the quality of the writing in her article, she shouldn’t be allowed to review anything even vaguely related to literature. That the respectable Tribune would send such a closed minded reporter to express her biased, borderline racist opinions about such a gutsy, provocative and socially conscious performance, a performance that was presented by a struggling non-profit that certainly could have used the ten warm bodies that her dim-witted article sent away--well, that is quite frankly inexcusable. The Guild Complex exists to fill in what is missing in Chicago’s literary scene, not to examine “what neighborhood economic shifts mean” (wow, that would make for an exciting play, yawn), and since there is no shortage of gentrification in Chicago, I’d say what is missing are the voices from the victims of that gentrification. Furthermore, I found no clichés at all in Tour Guides (I dare her to name one cliché in all the poetry presented), and the Tribune ought to be utterly ashamed of itself for publishing such a misleading blurb that unfairly cuts down months of hard work by nearly a dozen of Chicago’s most talented poets. Reading Nina Metz’s smug review, one would think Tour Guides is nothing but “gratuitous snickering at Lincoln Park” when in actuality, out of the entire hour of spoken word performances, there were perhaps four measly lines on that particular subject.

So here’s the real scoop on Tour Guides. Seven poets use nothing but their words, facial expressions, and body language (with minimal props and lighting) to tell the true stories of various Chicago neighborhoods. Their stories are relentlessly honest, unapologetic, and if you’ve lived in Chicago for any length of time, they are your stories as well. You will recognize them. You will say, I was there and I have seen that. The strongest aspect of this presentation is by far the writing. The brilliant writing is not only filled with vivid metaphors but it is also very daring. It’s not pc to write about how “you can’t take your white folks everywhere” but let's face it, that hits the nail on the head. And when you include lines about a neighborhood going from “Jewville to Jamba Juice” you are taking a huge risk, but let's be honest, these are brutal truths about Chicago. Tour Guides is one of the most gutsy plays I have ever seen. The topics in Tour Guides range from drive-by shootings, to permit parking, to the double meaning of the cost of living, to pizza, to churches, to the blues, to sports, to parades, to the ghost bike at Western and Augusta and to everything else Chicago. Tour Guides is a powerful and emotional experience. It’s an eye opener and I give it two really, really big quills up.

--CJ Laity


Tour Guides Director Coya Paz has pointed out: "Nina Metz has been reviewing for the Trib for years, and was/is the head critic at New City as well."

I admit, I don't read New City (don't know too many who do), but that really surprises me based upon the poor quality of the writing in Metz's review of Tour Guides. If you click here you will see a note dated September 27, 2010, welcoming Metz as a full time staff member of the Trib, and that makes her a rookie in my book, regardless of how much freelancing she's done. When it says "Tribune reporter" next to her name, she is actually speaking for that publication, and more than a lazy snipe of a review is expected of her.

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spacer.gif   Green Lantern Gallery Presents Super R-Type
Posted by : cj on Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 09:23 PM
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3994 Reads


Note: .
I keep hearing about The Green Lantern Gallery at 2542 W. Chicago Avenue. Every time I turn on the computer I get a Facebook notice about another event happening there, and I've been meaning to check out the space for quite some time. So I was excited when I found I had some free time on the evening of their first Super R-Type (Word Based Art) presentation, curated by A. D. Jameson, who is a passive host who gets straight to the point, helping to create a tight, fluid performance. Click Here for the story.

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spacer.gif   Revolving Door Reading Series at Red Kiva
Posted by : cj on Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 09:10 AM
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6399 Reads


Note: On Wednesday, July 28, the new Revolving Door Reading series presented another hot poetry night at Red Kiva, 1108 W. Randolph. This time the poetry party included an ACM pre-release event hosted by Jennifer Steele, Jacob Knabb and Jamie Kazay, featuring Quraysh Ali Lansana, Tara Betts, Timothy Yu and Bayo Ojikutu. And you bet that ChicagoPoetry.com was there to check out the poetic action. Click here for the scoop!

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spacer.gif   aaaaaaaaaaalice by Jennifer Karmin; Reviewed by CJ Laity
Posted by : cj on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 01:31 PM
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5411 Reads

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aaaaaaaaaaalice
by Jennifer Karmin
flim forum press
Reviewed by CJ Laity


At the end of aaaaaaaaaaalice (that's eleven letter "a"s, the same number of "cantos" in this "travelogue"), Jennifer Karmin explains that the poems in her book (that are actually collages derived from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and a book called Beginning Japanese Part 2), are "word scores for polyvocal improvisation" that are "intended for reading, sound, and performance experiments." The author suggests, "every reading of this text-sound epic should produce new results."

Well, that may be the intention, but the bottom line is this is a book of poetry. Since it has two covers and is made out of paper, I am going to look at Karmin's book as a book, a book that will be read by its audience silently like any other book.

What we have here is something extremely experimental and completely anti-narrative. But just as it is within the chaos of subatomic particles that everything physical is formed, even within the randomness of these words a story develops. This story may be different for each reader, as the author seems to be suggesting, so I can only share with you the story that I get out of it.
Note: Click Here to read the full review.

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spacer.gif   Gurlesque (new grrly, grotesque, burlesque poetics), Review by CJ Laity
Posted by : cj on Friday, April 02, 2010 - 05:51 PM
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7175 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Saturnalia Books' Gurlesque Anthology. WARNING: Due to the nature of the book being reviewed, this article contains explicit language not intended for children or for those who are easily offended.

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spacer.gif   Venue Review: Katerina's Street of Dreams' Future Perfect
Posted by : cj on Thursday, April 01, 2010 - 11:45 PM
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4689 Reads


Note: Here is a review of the Future Perfect Series at Katerinas.

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spacer.gif   Review Of Night Of Sights And Sounds With Saul Williams
Posted by : cj on Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 01:34 PM
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6378 Reads


Note: Here is a review and some photos from A Night of Sights and Sounds with Saul Williams.

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spacer.gif   THE TWELVE CHICAGO POETRY BOOKS OF eX-MAS
Posted by : cj on Friday, December 11, 2009 - 05:59 PM
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4866 Reads


Note: ChicagoPoetry.com picks the twelve books that have caught our attention the most in 2009. Click here to learn who made the list.

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spacer.gif   PAUL MARTINEZ POMPA: MY KILL ADORE HIM
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 - 06:16 PM
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6356 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Paul Martinez Pompa's debut book of poetry, My Kill Adore HIm

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spacer.gif   DISCOVER HELEN DEGEN COHEN
Posted by : cj on Sunday, March 01, 2009 - 01:16 PM
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6760 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Helen Degen Cohen's new book of poetry, On A Good Day One Discovers Another Poet

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spacer.gif   AL DEGENOVA: PAINTER OF TIME
Posted by : cj on Saturday, September 06, 2008 - 05:34 PM
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7785 Reads

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The Blueing Hours
poems by Albert DeGenova
published by Virtual Artists Collective
reviewed by C. J. Laity


With the creation of The Blueing Hours, two important establishments have been made: Al DeGenova as a great American poet and Steven Shroeder's Virtual Artists Collective as a major Midwestern publisher of poetry. I enjoyed reading these 60 pages of jazzy, erotic poetry
Note: Click here for CJ Laity's full review of Al DeGenova's new book, The Blueing Hours.

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spacer.gif   TOP DOG: CHARLIE ROSSITER
Posted by : cj on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 11:43 AM
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10138 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Charlie Rossiter's new book The Night We Danced With the Raelettes.

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spacer.gif   TOP DOGS OF CHICAGO POETRY
Posted by : cj on Sunday, November 04, 2007 - 08:32 PM
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3709 Reads

ChicagoPoetry.com has discovered eight of the Top Dog Male poets in the City of Chicago. Whether they bark, bite or wiggle or wag, we wanted to know who they are; the dog-diggity mission has concluded.

Click On The Top Dog's Name To Read The Review.

LARRY JANOWKSI ** FRANCESCO LEVATO ** TONY TRIGILIO

RAUL NINO ** RON OFFEN ** KEVIN STEIN ** CHARLIE ROSSITER

Of course there are a lot more Top Dogs in Chicago, but we have to end the mission somewhere.


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spacer.gif   TOP DOG: KEVIN STEIN
Posted by : cj on Friday, October 26, 2007 - 01:05 PM
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7789 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Kevin Stein's new book, American Ghost Roses.

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spacer.gif   TOP DOG: RON OFFEN
Posted by : cj on Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 01:09 PM
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7487 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Ron Offen's book, Off-Target.

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spacer.gif   TOP DOG: RAUL NINO
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 11:36 AM
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5615 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Raul Nino's new book, A Book of Mornings.

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spacer.gif   TOP DOG: TONY TRIGILIO
Posted by : cj on Sunday, September 02, 2007 - 01:22 PM
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7191 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Tony Trigilio's new book, The Lama's English Lessons.

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spacer.gif   TOP DOG: LARRY JANOWSKI
Posted by : cj on Thursday, August 30, 2007 - 08:58 PM
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7328 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Larry Janowski's new book, BrotherKeeper.

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spacer.gif   THE NINE LIVES OF CHICAGO POETRY
Posted by : cj on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 02:03 PM
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3821 Reads

Recently ChicagoPoetry.com went on a pursuit for the Nine Lives of Chicago Poetry. We sought out the poets who write poetry that is filled with life. In Chicago, much of the poetry is live. Many of us live our lives as poets. How many poets are livers of life? How many poets live their poetry? How much of our poetry is based on our lives? Will we live our life live before a live audience reading poetry about life? To some this is living life to it's fullest. Poetry is their life's work. We pursued nine of these poets and we learned something about life. This is what we came up with. Can you dig it, cool Cat daddy-o?

Click On Poet's Name To Read The Review.

1st Live Poet: Lauren Levato ** 2nd Live Poet: Tara Betts

3rd Live Poet: Mike Puican ** 4th Live Poet: Simone Muench

5th Live Poets: Tia Chucha Poets ** 6th Live Poet: Tyehimba Jess

7th Live Poet: Donna Pucciani ** 8th Live Poet: Norman Porter ** 9th Live Poet: Mary Fons


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spacer.gif   NINE LIVES OF CHICAGO POETRY: MARY FONS
Posted by : cj on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 12:56 PM
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11544 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Mary Fons' chapbook, the texas EP.

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spacer.gif   THE TRUTH ABOUT NORMAN PORTER / J J JAMESON
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, December 06, 2006 - 06:52 PM
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13350 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Norman Porter's book, Lady Rutherfurd's Cauliflower.

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spacer.gif   NINE LIVES OF CHICAGO POETRY: DONNA PUCCIANI
Posted by : cj on Saturday, November 18, 2006 - 01:32 PM
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5582 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Donna Pucciani's book, The Other Side Of Thunder.

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spacer.gif   NINE LIVES OF CHICAGO POETRY: TYEHIMBA JESS
Posted by : cj on Sunday, October 15, 2006 - 05:58 PM
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7635 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Tyehimba Jess' book leadbelly.

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spacer.gif   NINE LIVES OF CHICAGO POETRY: TIA CHUCHA'S POETS
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 - 07:27 PM
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6273 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Tia Chucha Press' new anthology, Dream of a Word.

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spacer.gif   NINE LIVES OF CHICAGO POETRY: SIMONE MUENCH
Posted by : cj on Monday, September 11, 2006 - 03:57 PM
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8603 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Simone Muench's book Lampblack & Ash.

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spacer.gif   NINE LIVES OF CHICAGO POETRY: MIKE PUICAN
Posted by : cj on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 05:34 PM
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6378 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Mike Puican's book 30 Seconds.

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spacer.gif   NINE LIVES OF CHICAGO POETRY: TARA BETTS
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 04:00 PM
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7175 Reads


Note: Here is a review of Tara Betts' chapbook, Switch.

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· You Are Beautiful
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