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spacer.gif   Chicago Poetry News Report
Posted by : cj on Saturday, January 09, 2010 - 03:22 PM
Chicago Poetry News: Click On Headlines .
Hello poets. I have lots-a cool poetry news to report today.

The big developing story for 2010 is that poetry will be coming to the Brookfield Zoo. The Language of Conservation will include 35 pieces of poetry—full length, stanzas, and one liners—carved in stone, etched in glass, and placed on plaques throughout Great Bear Wilderness, a new exhibit set to open in the spring. As part of the Language of Conservation, there will be various readings by top name poets throughout the year. The overall point of the project is to use poetry to inspire conservation and empathy for nature. There will be an opening reception in late May. The project is funded through Poets House of New York and a three-year grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The plan is to "permanently infuse poetry with the zoo, showing our guests that poetry is an accessible art form and encouraging poets to think of Brookfield Zoo as a venue and support network." Keep your eye on for more exclusive scoops on this exciting development.

I attended the First Friday (on the Second Friday) Poetry Show last night at St. Paul's Cultural Center. What a cool venue and what an eclectic mixture of writing styles! Luis Valadez is the Black Sabbath of Chicago Poetry. Billy Tuggle wowed us with his poem inspired by Shannon Leigh, a young poet who died after a scuba diving accident. Sid Yiddish once again had us laughing and thinking at the same time. And Jenene Ravesloot filled our mind's eyes with her haunting imagery. The word at the show was that Waiting 4 The Bus Collective is moving their Monday evening shows from its longtime home at Jak's Tap to the Cafe Ballou. Hmm. Rhyme Schemes. Two With Water. My shows. And now W4TB? Looks like Cafe Ballou is turning into one of the grooviest poetry venues in town. I just may have to shuffle my shows around so that they don't overlap with the St. Paul's events.

Hey poetry hosts! Do you want to feature Martin Espada between September 23 and 26? Contact Ruth Goring at

Cracked Slab Books is pleased to announce the publication of two new books! Course of Action by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen and Morphs by Grant Jenkins and Cheryl Pallant.

On Friday, February 12, Linz and Vail Espresso and Gelateria, 922 Noyes Street, Evanston, will present Spoken Word to Abolish Slavery from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Give a $5 suggested donation to Abolish Slavery Coalition and enjoy live music, raffles and free coffee. Check out

The Poetry Foundation is using some of their big bucks to put on some big upcoming events. Among many other scheduled programs, here are some of the highlights. Thursday, February 4, at 6 PM, Rae Armantrout at Film Row Cinema, Columbia College, 1104 South Wabash Avenue, 8th Floor, free. Friday, March 26, at 6 PM, David Baker at Open Books, 213 West Institute Place, free. "Few poets writing today are so closely identified with a place as is David Baker, who makes his particular locale—the Midwest—into a mirror for the human experience on a universal level." Thursday, April 1, 6 PM, Derek Walcott at Fullerton Hall, Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Ave, free. Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. Tuesday, April 13, 6 PM, Indigo Moor and Cave Canem Fellows at Jazz Showcase, 806 South Plymouth Court, Dearborn Station, free. And on Saturday, April 24, at noon, the Poetry Foundation will bring Cornelius Eady (photo) to the annual Chicago Public Library Poetry Month Festival. Eady will read in the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 South State St. The fest is free.

Northwestern University will present its Tuesday afternoon Winter Quarter Evening Reading Series, featuring Creative Writing faculty and senior English Majors in Writing. The readings take place at 5 PM in University Hall 201 and include the following line-up: Rachel Webster, Angela Mears, Logan Wall, Rose Truesdale on January 19; Brian Bouldrey, Annie Kahane, Jacob Nelson, Alberto Roldan, Veronica Roth on January 28; Averill Curdy, Elizabeth Green, Lani Seelinger, Stephen Rosenthal on February 2; Reginald Gibbons, Katie Halpern, Nicole Roth on February 9; John Bresland, Joanna Beer, Jocelyn Huang, Caryn Wille on February 16; Shauna Seliy, Andres Carrasquillo, Jack Neubauer on February 25; Sheila Donohue, Rachel Koontz, Evan Rausch, Noel Slesinger on March 2; Eula Biss, Christopher Adamson, Katherine Docimo, Maria Provanzano, Madeline Weinstein on March 9; and John Keene, Meriwether Clarke, Allison Keller, Aaron Kuper on March 16.

Hey! How 'bout some news about another workshop? Have you heard of Vox Ferus? Vox Ferus After Dark is a dynamic writing workshop designed to build a community of writers and performers interested in improving their own craft by investing in and exploring the work of others as well as their own. Each workshop includes analysis, critique, and development of new writing. All are welcome, but pre-registration is required as space is limited. Workshops take place in various locations on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month, and are facilitated by Marty McConnell and occasional guest poets. Donations are requested, on a pay-what-you-will basis. To RSVP or for more information, please email

Ladies and gentlemen! Highland Park Poetry has selected the winning poems from their first ever Poetry That Moves Contest. PACE will display the poems on their Highland Park and North Shore Line buses throughout 2010. The contest was sponsored by First Bank of Highland Park. The judges for the contest were Fred Gordon, Charles Schwartz and Judith Tepfer. The poetry will include graphic design from Highland Park High School. And (drumroll please) the winners are: Charlotte Digregorio, Valerie Wallace, Mary Krane Derr, Carol L. Gloor, Dana Schwartz, Ellen Savage, Anneyorie Leyye, Robert Klein Engler (photo), Ruth Goring, Susanna Lang, Stella Radulescu and Joe Stewart.

Starting January 1, Curbstone Press, the 34-year-old Connecticut-based small press with a 150-title backlist of literature from underrepresented communities, will (drum roll please) relocate to Chicagoland, to be acquisitioned as an imprint of Northwestern University Press. Curbstone will become a university press located in Evanston and its offices in Connecticut will close.

I also have wonderful news to report. Ron Offen, publisher of Free Lunch, who was hospitalized after suffering a seizure, is doing much better. Mr. Offen sent ChicagoPoetry a letter in which he says, "As you know I am having problems with hearing and speaking and writing language, but it is improving. As I think Shakespeare said, 'Sorrows bring sparrows in battalions.' But Dickenson also wrote (as I remember): 'That hope is a thing with feathers.'" Mr. Offen also wants to let everyone who is thinking of buying a copy of the final issue of Free Lunch know that there are only thirty copies left, so you better get them fast. Ordering information is posted here.

Illinois' Secretary of State has named seven writers as the Hispanic Authors of the Year, including Lisa Alvarado, Frank González-Crussí, Cristina Henríquez, Luis Alberto Urrea, Wilfredo Cruz, Cristina Benitez and Robert Renteria.

It's good to see that the Future Perfect series will continue in 2010 at Katerina's, 1920 W. Irving Park. The events always happen on the first Thursday of the month from 7:30 to 10:30 PM, feature multi-media performance art including music from the spoken word band St. Cloud, are recorded for Chicago Amplified and I believe there is a $7 cover. On January 7 the special guests will be poets from the publication Where We Find Ourselves: Jewish Women Around the World Write About Home, including Miriam Ben-Yoseph, Deborah Nodler Rosen, Dina Elenbogen, Lisa Comforty, Helen Degen Cohen and Sara Schwarzbaum. On February 4 the special guests will be the editors of RHINO, with Virginia Bell, Sarah Carson, Helen Degen Cohen, Carol Eding, Adam Lizakowski, Deborah Rosen and Marcia Zuckerman. On March 4 the special guests will be Simone Muench and Parneshia Jones. And on April 1 the "poetry month" special guests will be Roger Bonair-Agard, Ibtisam Barakat, Stella Vinitchi Radulescu and Rachel Jamison Webster.

There will be an Artifice Issue #1 Release Party on Saturday, February 27, starting at 7 PM at Loft 3A, 3036 N. Lincoln Ave. For $10 it promises readings and all you can drink beer.

Hey poets, have you seen this review of the late Mark Perlberg's book Waiting for the Alchemist?

I was at Ellen Wadey's Bon Voyage bash at California Clipper and who did I run into? Mark Turcotte. Mark is a real old school Native American poet who graced the Chicago Poetry Scene with his presence for about five years in the nineties. He was the first winner of the Gwendolyn Brooks' Open Mic Award and he's been published in all sorts of respected journals, including TriQuarterly, Poetry Magazne, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, The Seattle Review, Hunger Mountain, North Dakota Quarterly, and The Laurel Review. Word is Mark has officially returned to Chicago and is Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at DePaul University. Far freakin' out! Welcome back, Mark.

Here's a little note that I received from the 26 year old Rambunctious Review: "Hi CJ. We have decided to enter the 21st Century! We now have a website. Could you remind people about our contests (deadline Jan 31st)? We are especially seeking Chicago writers, and your site is the best way to find them! Details are on our website. Thanks for your contribution to the Chicago poetry scene." So what are you waiting for? Check out

Hey poets, have you checked out yet? It's totally awesome, sort of the YouTube of the poetry world.

Did you know that Young Chicago Authors recently won The Coming Up Taller Award? Coming Up Taller is a national initiative that recognizes and supports outstanding out-of-school and after-school arts and humanities programs for children, especially those with great potential, but limited outlets for creative expression. A project of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Coming Up Taller Awards honor programs that offer exceptional learning experiences in the arts and the humanities and that have a tangible effect on the lives of young people as evidenced through improved academic scores, enhanced life skills, and positive relationships with peers and adults. YCA founder, Bob Boone, personally received the award from Michelle Obama at the White House.

Click here for The BIG Read

The staff of Northwestern University Press recently toasted one of its now famous authors-in-translation upon hearing that Romania-born German writer Herta Mueller was named winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1998, Northwestern University Press published the paperback edition of Mueller's novel "The Land of Green Plums" and the original hardcover translation of her novel "Travelling on One Leg." The academic press is not a stranger to Nobel Award-related celebrations. In 2002, writer Imre Kertesz won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Northwestern University Press was the sole publisher of the Hungarian writer's works. "That authors associated with Northwestern University Press continue to win such prestigious awards affirms our ongoing commitment to finding the best literature from around the world," said Sarah Pritchard, Northwestern's Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian. For information about Northwestern University Press, visit its website.

Oh, before I go, have you checked out Contemporary Horizons yet? Click on it if you are bi-curious (lingual that is).

Before you go, check out RHINOFEST.

Admit it. You don't get poetry news like this from any other source.

Signing out.

CJ Laity

Note: Click Here for a lot more Chicago Poetry News.

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