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spacer.gif   Poetry At The Brookfield Zoo's Great Bear Wilderness
Posted by : cj on Friday, February 26, 2010 - 11:14 AM
Chicago Poetry Photos .
Hurry. Tickets are expected to sell out!

Join us for an exclusive tour of Great Bear Wilderness and Language of Conservation

On Friday, July 30, from 6:30 to 9 PM, Chicago poets will go where no poet has gone before: to the new underground polar bear pool viewing room at the Brookfield Zoo. In celebration of the opening of the new Language of Conservation exhibit that will display poetry throughout the zoo's new seven acre Great Bear Wilderness, you are invited to a grand tour, followed by an evening of tapas, wine and poetry featuring CJ Laity, Bonnie T. Summers, Charlie Rossiter and Marilyn Peretti. This promises to be a once in a lifetime poetry event! Tickets are on sale now for only $80 but they are limited, so click here to register or call (708) 688-8355.


Marilyn Peretti has written two books of poetry about cranes, of which many species are endangered. Her poems have been published in Seeding the Snow, Christian Science Monitor, Black Bear Review, Prairie Light Review, California Quarterly, and Poetry Cram Magazine. named Marilyn Peretti's book Let Wings Take You, one of the Seven Wonders of the Poetry World. For more information about Marilyn Peretti, see

NEA Fellowship recipient Charlie Rossiter hosts the audio website He is the author of four books of poetry and is also the co-author of the beat poetry retrospective Back Beat. His performance poetry has been featured on National Public Radio and at the Chicago Blues Festival. Rossiter is a recipient of a Red Wheel Barrow Award from Pudding House Publications for his collection What Men Talk About.

Bonnie T. Summers is a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Her poetry has appeared in Woman Made Gallery's Her Mark Calendar, Moon Journal Magazine, After Hours Magazine and Peninsula Pulse. She has been a recipient of the Guild Complex Prose Series Award. Among other things, she writes about grizzly bears, giraffe's, serpents and seals.

CJ Laity is the publisher of and has been active as a poetry advocate in the city of Chicago for over two decades, organizing, hosting and participating in poetry events for the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Book Fair, the Poetry Foundation's Printers' Ball, the Chicago Public Library's Annual Poetry Fest, the AWP Conference, the Society of Professional Journalists' Conference, and for many other events over the years.

On Saturday, May 22, Brookfield Zoo officially launched their Language of Conservation exhibit in their new seven acre Great Bear Wilderness area. The exhibit features dozens of lines of poetry displayed throughout the zoo.

The grand opening featured a poetry reading by Sandra Alcosser (smiling woman at the right), who was poet-in-residence at the zoo and who selected the lines of poetry that are now permanently displayed as part of the zoo. The project is part of a national initiative funded in part through Poets House of New York that uses poetry to promote conservation. It has been years in the making.

On Friday, July 30, will be co-hosting an event with the zoo in this wonderful space, where a polar bear and a grizzly bear swim around on the other side of the glass. The $80 admission price benefits the zoo, and includes a full tapas dinner, fine wine, and a personal, guided tour of the poetry exhibit. The event will also feature Charlie Rossiter, Marilyn Peretti and Bonnie T. Summers, who will read their poetry as our special guest, Hudson the Polar Bear, swims around only a foot away. You can learn more and register for this one night only event by clicking here.

Marilyn Peretti is the author of Let Wings Take You. More information about Marilyn can be found by clicking here.

Joseph Bruchac helped celebrate the grand opening of the poetry exhibit with a reading at the nearby library and another one in the zoo.

Several Chicago poets, including Kim Berez, were put on the VIP list for the big grand opening of the zoo's poetry exhibit.

Lines of poetry appear in the oddest places among a variety of animals. It's fun to seek out the poetry in Brookfield Zoo.

The grand opening also featured poetry activities for the entire family.

It is totally awesome that the Brookfield Zoo has decided to incorporate poetry into its exciting new Great Bear Wilderness. The zoo is open every day of the year, so check it out.

You can show your support for the Language of Conservation by attending the Wild, Wild Night: What's Poetry Got To Do With It event on July 30th. It happens after closing hours, so we will have the entire zoo to ourselves. Proceeds benefit the zoo. Register by clicking here.

Photos by Kim Berez and CJ Laity.

Note: Here is the exclusive scoop.

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