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spacer.gif   March Poetry Madness, Chicago Style
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, March 02, 2010 - 04:00 PM
Poetry Gossip: Click On Headlines .
March is here. Now if only the winter would march away. Here's some poetry gossip to warm you up.

The Tuesday Night POW-WOW at Jeffrey Pub, 7041 S Jeffrey, is still going strong with powerful feminist voices. It happens from 8 to 10:30 PM with a $5 cover. March's features include Jenn Christy on March 2; Hip Hop Poetry on March 9; an event called "Men Talk Vaginas" on March 16; and the one and only Nikki Patin on March 23. There will also be a "She Slam" at Chicago State University, Douglas Hall, Breakly Theater, 9501 S. King Dr, on March 30 from 7 to 9 PM. The She Slam will be hosted By CC Carter and it promises the "fiercest lineup of queer and queer allied women poets in Chicago" including Deana Dean, Marty McConnell, Tristan Silverman, Tai Freedom Ford and many others. How about that for the new math of poetry?

Two With Water, a Chicago-based literary and art magazine that can be found at Quimby's, Myopic Books, Book Cellar, Women and Children First, and at other locations, is seeking submissions for the "Rx Reading Series" that will premier on Friday, March 26, 8 PM at Transistor. 5045 N. Clark St. The new series will take place at different venues throughout the city and it will feature selected readers with an occasional open mic. If you want to feature for this new series, they are seeking submissions (1000 words or less) of original short stories, poetry, and music that pertain to the theme of "Spring Breaking." Send them to with "Rx Reading Submission" in the subject line by March 15.

Okay, I don't mean to sound like the guy going on and on about how he walked five miles barefooted through the snow to get to school, but I can remember when I use to see David Sedaris read for five bucks in Wrigleyville. Now if you want to see him read his essays you have to pay $25 to $75. Click here if you can afford to see him at the Auditorium Theater on April 17.

From March 5 to March 21, Lower Links will be presenting Land/Use, three weekends of performance, dance, readings and videos about how we shape the land and how the land shapes us. Each weekend features new performances and post show talk backs led by highly respected environmentalists from the area. Tickets are $15 ($12 online) or $10 ($8 online) for students, with weekend passes for $20/$15 and festival passes for $25. Click here for more.

Don't forget April is National Poetry Month. Whoo-hoo! is your source to learn about poetry month activities, so bookmark our homepage and check back often. One poetry month event that is already planned is a very special reading by Sam Hamill at Unity Temple in Oak Park on Saturday, April 17. Oh yeah, and those Waiting 4 The Bus guys are going to attempt another "Poetry Bomb" on Sunday, April 18. What's a poetry bomb, you ask? During a poetry bomb poets do readings in public places, often outdoors, at a designated time, sort of like a poetry flash mob. This is the third year the bombers are attempting this. In 2008 the event went smoothly; it was met with good weather, wide support and it received a lot of good press. But in 2009, the event was met with a brutal rainstorm that left some of the bombers drenched on the steps of the Art Institute and at other locales. What's going to happen this year? Will the bomb have better karma this time? I'm taking out my Mystical Pen and I am writing: partly cloudy, cool and breezy, scent of melancholy in the air.

Of course, for the past decade the big Poetry Month event in Chicago has been the Chicago Public Library's Poetry Fest. This year the fest will happen on Saturday, April 24, from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Harold Washington Library. Local poetry presses will exhibit in the lobby throughout the day, including A Small Garlic Press, After Hours Press, Cracked Slab Books, March Abrazo Press, Neighborhood Writing Alliance, Poetry Magazine, Puddin’head Press, RHINO, Swan Isle Press, Third World Press, Virtual Artists Collective, River Oak Review, and Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue. The Poetry Fest is a wonderful opportunity for local poets and poetry organizers to work together to present poetry to the public. It's a really good representation of the diversity of the Chicago Poetry Scene. This year's festivities will also include a Poetry Wheel led by the Poets Club of Chicago, a reading by Cornelius Eady, and a huge Poetry Cram featuring representatives from the featured presses as well as plenty of guest poets including Stella Radulescu, Shontay Luna, Ruth Goring, Larry O. Dean, Christine Cassello, Jeffrey Jaephree, Anne Godden-Segard, Udayan Das, PJ Destin, Timothy David Rey, Bill Allegrezza, Garin Cycholl, Steve Halle, Ray Bianchi, David Alan Hirt, Daniel Ridges, Laurie Blum, Donna Kiser, Mary Kaye, Earlene M. Strickland as well as poets from Young Chicago Authors and many, many others. The fest is free and open to the public, so don't miss it.

You can also celebrate National Poetry Month by attending Chicago State University's presentation of "Builder of Positive Reality: A Celebration of the Lifelong Achievements of Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti & the 20th Anniversary of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing." It will happen on April 1st thru April 3rd and it will feature Angela Jackson, JoAnne Gabbin, Trudier Harris, Maryemma Graham, R. Dwayne Betts, Randall Horton, Jericho Brown, John Murillo, Marcus Jackson, Tony Medina, John Fountain, Jabari Asim, Treasure Williams and many others, with "Giant’s Day Honoree" Nikki Giovanni. For information on registration please contact the Gwendolyn Brooks Center at 773-995-4440 or

Finally there will be a free screening of the 1976 film "The Chicago Maternity Center Story" followed by a panel discussion on Wednesday, March 10, from 6 to 8 PM, at UIC School of Public Health's Auditorium, Room 109, 1603 W. Taylor St. For more than 75 years, the Chicago Maternity Center provided safe home births for Chicago mothers. This film interweaves the history of the center with the story of a young woman about to have her first baby and the center's fight to stay open in the face of the corporate takeover of medicine. What's that got to do with poetry? Uh-dunno. Sounds cool anyway, though.

--CJ Laity

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