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spacer.gif   Chicago Poetry Opportunities
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 - 11:30 AM
Chicago Poetry News: Click On Headlines .
Hi poets, I have some exciting opportunities to share with you.

Recently I was given a personal, advance tour of the Brookfield Zoo's Great Bear Wilderness, a new seven acre exhibit that will be the largest in the zoo and that will be combined with "The Language of Conservation," a project sponsored by Poets House of New York that aims to deepen public awareness of environmental issues through poetry (click here for photos). Specifically, poems and lines of poetry from poets such as Pablo Neruda, Joy Harjo, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickson and many others, will be etched in glass, burned in wood, written on plaques and otherwise posted throughout the zoo for people to read. Similar exhibits will also be displayed at zoos in New Orleans, Milwaukee, Little Rock and Jacksonville, Mississippi. The only thing that could make this news cooler is if they were planning to hold poetry readings at Brookfield Zoo. Right? Ta da!! There are going to be poetry readings at Brookfield Zoo, at the grand opening in late May, as well as at least one event co-sponsored by in late July (and perhaps more, I'm working on it). If you have family friendly poetry on the theme of nature, wildlife or conservation and you would like to be considered for a reading at the zoo, contact me at

Do you want to be a winner? Well, you can either write a haiku and try to win a block of cheese by clicking here or you can write something really nasty, weird or otherwise "off the wall" and try to win $100 cash at the next open mic contest at Weeds, 1555 N. Dayton, on Monday, March 29—sign up around 9:30 PM.

The buzz is that Lethal Poetry has been really rocking with the events that they organize, including the Words That Kill series. I have it from a good source that they're attempting to collaborate with other local organizations in an attempt to start up some type of annual spoken word poetry festival that may happen later this year. Now the Lethal Poets have their own radio program as well. It's called Lethal Amplitude and it airs on Thursdays at 7 PM on 89.5 FM WBEW and on To listen or for more about that, click here.

Check out Polvo Magazine's new blog.. They are looking for poetry, essays and short stories.

Ray Bianchi wants you to check out The Book Table bookstore in Oak Park, so click here.

If you click on this link you can scroll down the page and reserve a copy of Kathleen Kirk's new book, Living on the Earth, which is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Or you can send $15 to the press at P. O. Box 1626, Georgetown, KY 40324. It will be shipped to you on April 30.

If you click on this link you can see a ten minute preview of the new documentary "Louder Than A Bomb" made by Chicago filmmakers Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel and starring Kevin Coval and some very talented young poets.

Here's another great opportunity. The Guild Complex is holding auditions for slots in its "Poetry Performance Incubator" for the show Tour Guides. The previous version of Tour Guides that was presented in the summer of 2008 was a poetic theater presentation about Chicago's neighborhoods that was directed by Coya Paz. It featured Kimberly Dixon, Steven Evans, Stephanie Gentry-Fernandez, Ricardo Gamboa, Tricia Hersey and Rupal Soni. Now the Guild Complex is looking for a new group of poets "who have experience in stage performance or are willing to learn" or "actors who have writing or poetry skills." From the Guild: "Interested people must be comfortable with or interested in working as part of an ensemble cast. You must be comfortable writing collaboratively, writing for others, and/or performing pieces that others have written for you. You must be available for regular writing, rehearsal and performance sessions over the spring and summer as well as a more rigorous schedule in the fall, the target time for a full production." Auditions will be Saturday, March 13, from 1 to 4 PM at Decima Musa, 1901 S. Loomis, with call-backs on Thursday, March 18, from 6 to 9 PM. Please prepare 5 minutes of work consisting of two different pieces: (1) an original piece or a piece of your own choosing, and (2) a piece responding to the prompt "Chicago is . . .” To schedule an audition or for more information, call the Guild Complex at 1-877-394-5061 and leave a clear message with your name and telephone number or send an e-mail to

And here's another opportunity. Partner Dance Press invites self-identified women writers, composers, performers and text-based artists under 40 currently living in Chicago to submit work for consideration in a new online text-based anthology. Writing about the breadth of the city – from South Chicago to Albany Park, Austin to the lip of the lake – and life in the 21st century, the anthology will focus on the written word as foundation, regardless of whether its original context plays out on the page, the stage, cyberspace or another format. The project will bring together various forms of creative textual production, joining the stuff of a traditional written anthology with sound and performance and constructing new modes of mapping spatiality in the city. The work must be text-based and tell a story, and need not explicitly speak about Chicago; it may be, but is not limited to: literary writing, poetry, sound installations or pieces, graphic fiction, memoir, dramatic text, journalism, performance, animation, film or scripts. The 21 texts will be selected based on overall quality, as well as their ability to use text-based work to represent the diversity of the urban space. Submissions will be especially welcomed from artists from communities that have been historically underrepresented in the oeuvre of the city. Previously unpublished work by women under 40 currently living in Chicago should be submitted in full with a very brief cover letter, including contact information to or via snail mail to: Partner Dance Press, 4346 S Lake Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60653. Deadline: June 15, 2010. Contact editors Megan Bayles and Achy Obejas at with any questions.

Oh, by the way. will be hosting another giant Poetry Cram at the Harold Washington Library during the Poetry Fest on Saturday, April 24. I am looking to feature as many poets as possible, representing as many publications and poetry organizations as possible, in an attempt to break the all-time Library Cram record of 53 poets that was set last year at the fest. Please RSVP by email with "Poetry Fest" in the subject field to in advance because last year about a dozen poets didn't get the chance to read when our time ran out. I will be passing out free copies of Cram 8 on that date as well. If you would like your published work distributed at the fest, please follow the instructions posted here..

The Sun Times has published a nice tribute to Effie Mihopoulos here. Please attend one or both of two memorials planned for Effie. The Life Celebration for Effie Mihopoulos is scheduled for Friday, March 5 from 5 to 7 PM in Recital Hall at Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Ave. A concert to benefit Haiti will follow, hosted by WZRD, the radio station that Effie worked tirelessly for, for many years. And then, on Saturday, March 6, from 1 to 3 PM, there will be a poetry memorial for Effie at the Newberry Library, 60 West Walton Street. Poets, please bring something to read in her honor! If you are planning to attend either, please contact to RSVP.

Virtual Artists Collective presents its new title, Ink on Snow, by Elizabeth Raby, who has taught in Romania and holds an MFA in Poetry from Temple University. Raby is also the author of The Black Kingdom at the Heart of the Peony and The Year the Pears Bloomed Twice. She has been one of the featured readers at the Day for All Women conference at Bucks County Community College and the Geraldine Dodge Festival. You can order it by clicking here.

Another Chicago Magazine will soon be coming out with a "Chicago issue." Poetry Cram will also be coming out with a Chicago issue. And I've also learned that one of Chicago's longest lasting online zines, Milk Magazine, will also be coming out with a Chicago themed issue. In the meantime, you can click here to check out Milk Mag Volume 9 with work by Ed Baker, Jessica Baron, Michael Bernstein, Daniel Borzutzky, William Corbett, Steve Dalachinsky, Steve Halle, Duriel Harris, Reginald Harris, Zach Harris, Pierre Joris, Megan Kaminski, Vincent Katz, Amy King, Rob Mclennan, K. Silem Mohammad, Simon Perchik, Kathleen Rooney, Elisa Gabbert, Spencer Selby, Jordan Stempleman, Steve Timm, Arpine Grenier, Gene Tanta and Tony Trigilio.

Did you know that 826 National was recently awarded the The Jim Henson Community Honor that acknowledges an organization that has increased goodwill or made a positive impact in a specific community or around the world. Said Lisa Henson, "We were so excited to learn about the incredible work of 826 National and the thousands of volunteers who are dedicated to providing personalized instruction and inspiration to future authors, playwrights and screenwriters."

On Friday, May 7, from 9 to 11 PM, Women & Children First Books, 5233 N. Clark St, will host "Sister Spit," a "raucous, rowdy performance gang . . . with a vanload of queertastic brilliance" from "zinesters, fashion plates, slam poets, novelists, performance artists, poets and fancy scribblers," with Michelle Tea, Lynn Breedlove, Elisha Lim, Lenelle Moise, Len Plass, Nicole J. Georges, and Annie Danger. I don't think you'll want to miss it.

After almost 3 and a half years as the Program Director of the Neighborhood Writing Alliance and the Associate Editor of the Journal of Ordinary Thought, Rupal Soni has stepped down to pursue a Masters in Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Rupal Soni (photo) says: "I’ve loved working with NWA to support our dedicated and talented writers; to develop programs that weave together community writing, social justice, and community building; to help amplify the voices of Chicago’s communities in the Journal of Ordinary Thought; and to collaborate with each of you. With that being said, NWA has a solid and creative line-up of programming set for 2010, the steady leadership of Carrie guiding the way, and a fantastic new editor, Hollen Reischer, joining the team. It’s going to be a great year."

The buzz from the ChicagoPoetry news desk is that Al DeGenova's After Hours magazine will be marking its 10th anniversary with a double issue to be released in June, 2010. There will be no winter issue of After Hours this year.

Find out how you can enter the 2010 "Poetry Challenge" by going to

The Encyclopedia Show has found a new home at the Vittum Theatre, 1012 N Noble St.

Gay and Gray: An anthology of Gay Writers and Artists 60 and over seeks submissions! NewTown Writers, Chicago's premier GLBT writing group, is pleased to announce a request for submissions to its newest publication, Gay and Gray! In an attempt to begin to collect what can only be a myriad of writing and wisdom from ‘the older gay writer/artist, NewTown Writers is seeking:creative non-fiction, short stories, fiction or memoir, poetry, digital imagery, and photography from the GLBTQ community 60 and older. Fiction and non-fiction submissions should be a maximum of 5,000 words. Each writer may submit three pieces for consideration. Reprints are acceptable as long as the author retains the copyright. Submissions should be sent as attachments to an email and NOT pasted into the body of the e-mail. Incorrect submissions will not be read. Multiple submissions are welcome and should be sent in separate e-mails. ALL submissions must be in 12-point Times New Roman, single-spaced, and sent as attachments. All authors must be willing to be edited. Authors should include their age (or there about) with submissions for reprint in the anthology as well as a photo when possible. The photo may be taken from any point in the author’s life. Also please include a brief biography. While there is no specific theme, content may focus on aging in the gay community, historical hindsight and/or perspective unique to the GBLTQ person 60 and older. E-mail submissions for GAY AND GRAY should be sent to: by June, 2010. All writers will be notified of the editor’s selections. Each writer published in the 'Gay and Gray' anthology will receive three copies of the volume gratis.

This has been another report from I am often copied, but never duplicated. Take care.

CJ Laity

Note: Click here for a bunch of great poetry information.

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