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Posted by : cj on Friday, December 11, 2009 - 05:59 PM
Chicago Poetry Reviews: Click Headlines .

As 2009 comes to a close, would like to share with you its official picks for the twelve poetry books that have caught our attention the most during the year. These books make wonderful gifts, no matter what holiday you celebrate, either for a friend, family member or for yourself.

So (in no particular order) here are the titles chosen for's


Free Lunch #42

This, the final issue of "A Poetry Miscellany," contains poetry by over 30 authors. This is a true keepsake that wraps up the saga of this 20 year old periodical. Get a copy of this and you will own a piece of Chicago poetry history.

You can get a copy by sending $5 ($6 foreign) to:
Free Lunch Arts Alliance
PO Box 717
Glenview, IL 60025-0717

What I'm On
by Luis Humberto Valadez

The University of Arizona Press

With poetry titles such as "eatin' wit' Christ" and "Talkin' Shit to Dharma" you know you are in store for a nitty-gritty poetry experience from this young poet who has been making a lot of waves around the Chicago Poetry Scene.

Luis Valadez holds a BA from Columbia College and an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

You can order this book online straight from the press for $15.95 by clicking here.

Waiting For The Alchemist
by Mark Perlberg

Louisiana State University Press

I was truly honored to receive a complimentary copy of Mark Perlberg's fourth and final book of poetry along with a handwritten note by Anna Perlberg.

Waiting For The Alchemist is filled with gentle wisdom with a personal touch that only Mark Perlberg can deliver.

You can order this book online for $17.95 straight from the press by clicking here.

Broken Sonnets
by Kathleen Kirk

Finishing Line Press

This is a beautifully hand crafted chapbook by one of Chicagoland's busiest and most talented female poets.

Broken Sonnets can be ordered for $12 plus shipping from the publisher by using this link to PayPal

or by using this one for international orders.

by Ruan Wright

Moon Journal Press

This is the fine debut collection of poetry by Ruan Wright, a British poet who currently is the Chair of the Naperville Writers Group and who has been an Assistant Fiction Editor for Fifth Wednesday Journal.

thought-fish can be purchased for $6.95 through the author.

Click here for contact information.

Isomnia In Flowers
by Stella Vinitchi Radulescu

Plain View Press

Romanian poet Stella Vinitchi Radulescu can be heard performing poetry on the UniVerse of Poetry website and recently she appeared for the Poetry Cram at Harold Washington Library.

This 78-page book of mesmerizing verse can be purchased for $14.95 through the publisher by clicking here.

Trapped Within Myself . . .
Words by Jason Fisk
Music by Jeremy Michael Cashman

Brown Bottle Press
Homespun Studios

This is certainly a good deal, with a handmade chapbook of flash fiction that Bukowski would be proud of as well as a CD of music that contains all the angst of Radiohead along with witty lyrics like those of Elvis Costello, all for a mere $5. Click here for ordering information or go directly to PayPal..

by Helen Degen Cohen

Puddin'head Press

This gigantic, beautifully produced poetic memoir (reviewed here) from this Holocaust survivor is a true story of survival.

The author is a recipient of an NEA Fellowship as well as several Illinois Arts Council Awards.

Habry can be purchased for $15 through by clicking here.

This Is What Happened In Our Other Life
by Achy Obejas

A Midsummer Night's Press

This book may be tiny in size and in page count, but Achy Obejas packs a lesbian erotic whallop with it nevertheless. This book made history by landing on the New York Times Bestseller List.

You can get it for $6.95 from by clicking here.

LOOT: Stolen Memories & Tales Out of School
by Jenene Ravesloot

First Flight Books

This long, sleek and thick book of poetry by a Coffee Chicago open mic regular will be a wonderful addition to your Chicago poetry archives.

Jenene most recently performed poetry for the Chicago Poetry Love-In at Cafe Ballou, and she also dabbles in the jazz arena with her band White Narcissus.

The best place to look for LOOT is at Women and Children First Book Store in Andersonville or at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square. It runs $9.95.

the good life
by Thax Douglas

This fantastic collection of poems that Mr. Douglas wrote for musicians and artists (reviewed here) also includes photos of his subjects. This book serves as a document of Mr. Douglas's long history in the Chicago Poetry Scene.

Thax gave me a complimentary copy last year at the Printers Ball, but your best bet for finding one would be at Myopic Books on Milwaukee Ave or at Quimby's on North Ave, or maybe you can just run into Thax somewhere within Chicago's music nightlife scene to get one from him. Keep your eyes open for it.

Caleb's Exile
by Frank Varela

ELF Creative Workshop
Spanish translation by Angel Pagan

This third volume from the Puerta Rican Chicago poet who now lives in Cleveland contains all new work as well as a translation of each poem into Spanish.

Caleb's Exile was manufactured in Puerta Rico and it is fuzzy how you can find a copy of it, and I'm not parting with my autographed copy--that's for sure. I will update this page when ordering information becomes clear.


If you would like your book considered for review or mention at, please write to to learn where to send a complimentary copy. I also accept complimentary admissions to performances to be considered for possible review.

**Please Note: A few books that deserve to be on this list were not included because they have already earned themselves promotion by being reviewed here recently.

Note: 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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