The Chicago Poetry Scene has gone wild over National Women's History Month. Several monthly poetry gigs have dedicated their March event to the lovely ladies of Chi-town and beyond. Here's your guide to Chicago's March poetry events, so that you won't miss out on any of the action.
Click Here to learn about Switchback Books' Gatewood Prize chapbook contest for women.
On Monday, March 15, Mental Graffiti will celebrate National Women's Month with their feature Dane Kuttler from Seattle. There will also be a poetry slam for the final slots in the team. This groovy gig is hosted by Emily Rose, Tim Stafford, and Amy David and it goes down at Butterfly Social Club, 722 W. Grand, from 7:30 to 10 PM, with a $5 cover.
On Wednesday, March 17, The Guild Complex's esteemed Palabra Pura biligual reading series will present Linda Rodriguez and Latina Poets of Columbia College, with Jan Peña-Davis, Jennifer Patiño and Lisa Cisneros. Remember, Palabra Pura is always held on the third Wednesday of every month at Décima Musa, 1901 S. Loomis, with an open mic at 7:30 PM. It is free and all ages are welcome. Upcoming Palabra Pura features include Gabriela Jauregi on April 21, Levi Romero on May 19, Luis Alberto Ambroggio on June 16, and a little birdie told me to expect a reading by Frank Varela on July 21.
Words That Kill is celebrating Women's History Month as well with an all-woman poetry slash comedy slam at Lilly's Bar, 2513 N. Lincoln Ave, on Thursday, March 18, from 7 to 9 PM. The performers include Molly Meacham, Leslie Lee, Stacy Fox, Emily Lake, Robin Fine and Janet Kane. It's $5 or canned goods and it promises to be a heck of a good time.
On Friday, March 19, Josephinum Academy Theatre, 1501 N Oakley, 2nd Floor, will present HerStory, a performance of original poetry, rap, and monologues by Josephinum's junior and senior classes. Josephinum Academy is a multicultural, values-based community that strives to empower young women to become leaders by nurturing their talents and instilling within them a social awareness that motivates them to make a difference. HerStory, directed by FM Supreme, is part of an annual celebration of Women's History Month. It happens from 7 to 8 PM and it's $5. Call to reserve seats 773-261-1261.
According to the Poetry Foundation's web-blast, Maria McCray will be the featured poet for the next Third Saturday Coffeehouse at Unity Temple, 875 Lake Street in Oak Park. It happens on Saturday, March 20, and begins with an open mic starting about 7:30 PM. It's $3 to $5 donation. What better way to celebrate Women's Month than with MaMa?
Of course, WomanMade Gallery, 685 N Milwaukee Ave, will celebrate Women's History Month as well, with a reading on Sunday, March 21, from 2 to 4 PM. featuring a dynamic line-up of poets including Brenda Cardenas, Angela Jackson, Jacquelyn Pope, Jennifer Sweeney and Lina Ramona Vitkauskas. That's really exciting stuff.
On Tuesday, March 23, at 6:30 PM, the Performing Arts Center at Oakton Community College, 1600 E. Golf Road, Des Plaines, will present The Zookeeper's Wife: An Evening with Diane Ackerman, part of Women's History Month at Oakton, sponsored by the Women's and Gender Studies Program. It is free and open to the public.
On Friday, March 26, from 6 to 9 PM, The School of The Art Institute of Chicago Ballroom, 112 S Michigan, will host a panel discussion, with open mic and performances, called A Generation of Screamers: Youth Empowerment through Spoken Word, featuring Marty McConnell, Niki Patton and the 2010 winner of the Louder Than a Bomb spoken word contest.
Also on Friday, March 26, RHINO Reads! A Monthly Poetry Series will present Susanna Lang and Virginia Bell at Brothers K 500 Main St. Evanston, with open mic, from 6 to 7:30 PM
And to wrap up Women's Month, on Tuesday, March 30, at 6:30 PM, Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St, will be host to a free Women's History Month event, with performances of Emily Dickinson's poetry with music, dance, and theatre inspired by her life and work. The winners of the Caffeine Theatre "Poetry to Take Your Head Off" competition will also be performed. No reservation required, but seating is limited. And Caffeine Theatre's Wild Nights with Emily runs through April 11.
In other news, check out the new issue of Moria by clicking here. It's jam-packed with the good stuff.
Swam Isle Press was kind enough to send me a copy of their new title, a 200-page hardcover edition of Frivolous Women and Other Sinners, by Alicia Borinsky, translated by Cola Franzen. Check out a review of the book by clicking here.
PoetrySpeaks.com not only offers you a mug shot of Tony Trigilio on its homepage, but they are also sponsoring a poetry film contest. First prize is $150 and Robert Pinsky is one of the final judges. You can go directly to YourMic.com and click on the Reel Love Poetry Film Contest image for all the details. The deadline has been extended until April 30.
Speaking of contests, Click Here to enter the Helen Schaible International Shakespearean / Petrarchan Sonnet Contest.
And Click Here to enter the Poets and Patrons Chicagoland Poetry Contest.
Lyn Lifshin is still at it. She has some poetry published in the new issue of Unlikely Stories.
Did you know that Idris Goodwin's new CD, Break Beat Poems, can be downloaded for $8.99 by clicking here. Well now ya' do.
Dan Godston has also been putting up some great audio files on the internet. For example, if you click here you can listen to Sonic Bridge, a music presentation that happened last year that includes poetry by Carlos Cumpian.
Why don't we take a look at some of the other upcoming events in March.
On Saturday, March 13, from 10 AM until 5 PM, The Conoway Center, 1104 S Wabash, hosts the Chicago Zine Fest. Click here for more.
After the Zine Fest, why not head on down to the Cafe Ballou, 939 N. Western Ave, for the Saint Patty Poetry Cram, happening from 7 to 9 PM with open mic? It's free and it's cool so don't miss it.
If you like your poetry a bit subtler, you can check out Myopic Books, 1564 N. Milwaukee Avenue, 2nd Floor, as they present two special readings, both at 7 PM. On Saturday, March 13, the features are Lina ramona Vitkauskas and Jamie Kazay. And on Sunday, March 14, the features will be William Allegrezza and Chris Glomski. And then: on Saturday, March 20, Lewis Freedman and Seth Landman will feature.
The Silver Tongue Reading Series returns on Tuesday, March 16, from 7 to 10 PM at 731 S. Plymouth Ct. The featured poet is Robbie Q. Telfer and this month's theme is "Workin’ For a Livin’". Silver Tongue is a student curated monthly reading featuring Columbia College student’s word based work.
The new Revolving Door Reading Series has a great line-up this month as well: Jacob Knabb, Coya Paz, and Avery R. Young (all in lower case letters). It happens at Red Kiva, 1108 W. Randolph St, on Wednesday, March 17, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM. Nice.
Mojo's Pen Open Mic happens on Thursday, March 18, from 7 to 9 PM, at the University of Illinois, Chicago African American Cultural Center, Addams Hall, Suite 207. It's free.
Also on Thursday, March 18, at 8 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, will present MAKE: A Literary Magazine Issue 9 “Myth, Magic, & Ritual” Party. It's $8 and 21 or over. I hear that Joel Craig will be the late-night DJ for the event.
Also on Thursday, March 18, at 6 PM, DePaul University, McGaw hall, Room 313A, 802 W. Belden Ave, will host a poetry reading by Joseph Lease. Joseph Lease's critically acclaimed books of poetry include Broken World and Human Rights. Lease is an Associate Professor of Writing and Literature and the Chair of the MFA Program in Writing at California College of the Arts.
On Sunday, March 21, at 6 PM, the Orange Alert Series will present a reading by Kathryn Regina at The Whistler, 2421 North Milwaukee. It's also free.
On Friday, March 26, at 6 PM, Open Books, 213 West Institute Place, will present a free "Poem Off the Shelf" event featuring David Baker, author of Never-Ending Birds (W.W. Norton).
On Sunday, March 28, from 1:30 to 4:30 PM, Alice George will lead the monthly Rhino Workshop. The poetry workshop always happens on the fourth Sunday of the month at the Evanston Public Library at Church & Orrington (Room 108). Alice’s topic will be A Fine Excess: The poetry of Bob Hicok. She will bring a few poems by this contemporary poet to the group and lead a discussion on the poetic techniques of extravagance, anger and mess. Bring 15 or more copies (no longer than two pages) of work you want critiqued. *$5-$10 donation appreciated
And here are a few additions to the poetry calendar for April.
On Saturday, April 3, from 7 to 11 PM, Elastic Arts Foundation, 2830 N. Milwaukee Avenue, 2nd Floor, will present a book release reading for John Murillo's Up Jump The Boogie, with special guests Roger Bonair-Agard, Paul Martinez Pompa, Cristina Correa, Kevin Coval, Toni Asante Lightfoot, Erin Teegarden, Krista Franklin and many others. That's really hip. It's also really hop.
On Friday, April 9, Billy Lombardo will be celebrating the release of his new novel, The Man With Two Arms at The Latin School of Chicago, 59 W. North Ave, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM.
There will be a RHINO release party at the home of Ralph Hamiltonm 630 Clinton Place, Evanston, on Sunday, April 11, from 2 to 4:30 PM.
And, finally, on Saturday, March 20, enjoy some music at the Heartland Cafe, 7000 North Glenwood Ave, from 9 to 11 PM. Blues / jazz / rock vocalist, singer / songwriter, and electronic composer Kat Zwick (and The Shift) will be featured. The experience is described as "stripped down, soulful instrumentation, swampy intense blues, and playful but sometimes shockingly profound turns on pop tunes." What's that got to do with poetry? Uh-dunno. Sounds cool though.
PS, don't forget to get your Cram submissions in. Cram 8 will be given away free at the Harold Washington Library on April 24. Here's the link to the guidelines.