Spring is finally here (well it's been here for over a month already but you wouldn't know it by the weather) and the Chicago Poetry Scene is coming alive! A few weeks ago we broke the all-time cram record by featuring 57 poets in a two hour show at Harold Washington Library. If you missed it, you can listen to the entire thing by clicking here. What an amazing way to kick off this new season of poetry.
Do you have what it takes to let a Monkey judge your poetry? Shakespeare’s Monkeys seeks out the best poem for The Simian Contest that now has an extended deadline of May 30. Shakespeare's Monkey-judges will select a poem to win $125 and to be published in Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue (2nd Place gets $50 and 3rd Place gets $25). There are no limits on theme or form (40 lines or less per poem) but there is a $5 entry fee to submit up to 3 poems. Click here to learn how to enter.
Well, it's too late to vote for it, but you can still enjoy watching *this video* featuring three Chicago poets. Right on.
On Wednesday, May 26, at 8:30 PM, The Guild Complex will host a "literary mash-up" at California Clipper, 1002 N. California. BYOP: Bring Your Own People (or Poetry, if you prefer), will host a convergence of three popular but very different reading series. It's a 90-minute “literary cocktail party” to be held three or four times a year, in which literary work will be sampled. The May features include The Encyclopedia Show with Shanny Magnuson and Patrick Carberry, Reconstruction Room with Erin Teegarden and Allison Gruber and Rhino Reads! with Ralph Hamilton. This totally awesome way of bringing the poetry scene closer is free but it's 21 and over since it's being held in a bar.
Do you want to attend a workshop at Ragdale House for a measly fifteen bucks? On Thursday, May 27, from 9:30 AM until Noon (I hear you can actually stay until 1:30 if you want to stroll around), Ragdale House, 1260 North Green Bay Road, Lake Forest, will present a workshop facilitated by Sue Roupp. Enrollment is limited. You may want to contact one of these email addresses— email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org — to make sure it's not filled up, and then send a check for $15 payable to Ragdale Foundation along with a piece of paper that includes your name, contact info (e-mail or phone), your choice of what to do with your check if not enrolled (donate to Ragdale or return check) and indicate if you’re staying until 12 or 1:30 PM, and send it all to Almira Gilles at 3479 Regent Drive, Palatine, IL 60067-4744. Please bring a clipboard or something, as there will be no tables, and feel free to bring lunch.
And then on Thursday, May 27, 7 PM, Rose Metal Press will present Joe Bonomo, John Bradley, Maurice Kilwein Guevara, David Lazar, Gary McDowell, Amy Newman, F. Daniel Rzicznek, and Michael Robins at Book Cellar, 4736 North Lincoln Ave.
And don't forget Saturday, June 12, 7 PM, is the date of the next Poetry Cram at Cafe Ballou, 939 N. Western.
If you have any cool work pertaining to the sea, here's a good tip on how to get published: SeaStories.org.
You also want to check out this cool site dedicated to poetry broadsides.
On Sunday, May 30, at 7 PM, Brenda Cardenas will be reading from Boomerang, her first full collection of poetry, published by Bilingual Review Press. The poetry party, organized by March / Abrazo Press, that will also feature a reading by Roberto Harrison, goes down at a new venue called Dragonlady Lounge, 3188 N. Elston (at Belmont and California). It's free, there will be an open mic, and there will be a cash bar. Brenda Cardenas is also the author of a poetry chapbook, Tongues of Brick and Stones, and she is the co-editor of the women’s anthology Between the Heart and the Land. She is an assistant professor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
A new spoken word open mic. series has started up at a place called Dee's Place at 2114 W. Division Street. The soul food restaurant hosts poets every Tuesday, starting around 6:30 PM.
On Saturday, June 12, at 7 PM, the first installment of the Chicago Poetry Showcase reading series will launch at Cafe Ballou, 939 N. Western Ave. The Chicago Poetry Showcase will take the place of the second Saturday Poetry Cram open mic occasionally, in order to give poets a venue in which they can share more than a few minutes of their work. The June 12 Showcase will feature six poets, reading fifteen minutes each, with no open mic. The featured artists will be: Donna Pecore, Paul Martinez Pompa, GPA from LOEP, Pete Dederick, Udayan Das and Beatriz Badikian-Gartler. The event is free and open to the public.
This month's Rhino Reads Series has a really cool double feature in store for us. On Friday, May 28, from 6 to 8 PM, Brother K at 500 Main Street in Evanston will present and open mic and readings by Kimberly Dixon (Managing Director of The Guild Complex) and Jacob Saenz (of Columbia College Poetry Review).
Hey ladies, Partner Dance Press is still seeking submissions: click here.
Hey, check out thiis cool article about Women & Children First Bookstore.
Two words that will forever remain cool: Carolyn Rodgers.
The Guild Complex will also be holding a free Palabra Pura writing workshop on Saturday, June 5, 11 AM to 2 PM at Pros Arts, 1119 W. Cullerton. Contact the Guild at 877-394-5061 or email@example.com to sign up or get more information. Please provide your full name, contact phone, email, and specify if you are a beginning or experienced poet and whether you prefer to work/write in English, Spanish or both. All are welcome.
Ah, but there is more! Luis Alberto Ambroggio will be reading for the Guild Complex's Palabra Pura event on June 16 at 7:30 PM at Decima Musa. He will be reading from his recently published bilingual anthology Difficult Beauty. Selected Poems (1987-2006). And if that ain't cool enough, Frank Varela will be joining him. Wow.
The Highland Park Poetry Challenge Winners have been announced.
Finally, here's a heads up. “Ekphrastic Nexus: Visual Art and Creative Writing” will take place at Chicago Urban Art Society, 2229 South Halsted, on Friday, June 25, 6 PM. Part of the “Studio Chicago” calendar of events and curated by Dan Godston, Ekphrastic Nexus will include a text image / visual art panel discussion, followed by performances. Participants include Annie Heckman (StepSister Press), Krista Franklin, Kathryn Born (Chicago Art Magazine), Valerie Wallace and Gene Tanta. For more, click here.
This has been CJ Laity, reporting the poetry news for ya.
Matthew Gavin Frank will be reading from his creative nonfiction memoir, BAROLO, about his illegal work in the Italian Piemontese food and wine industry, on Tuesday, May 11, 7 PM,. at the Hopleaf Bar, 5148 N. Clark St. A performance by the "This Much Is True Chicago" nonfiction troupe will follow.
On Wedsnesday, May 12, 7:30 to 9 PM, Danny's, 1951 W. Dickens, presents Jeff Clark (author of The Little Door Slides Back) and Geoffrey G. O'Brien (author of Green and Gray).
On Thursday, May 13, 7 PM, Columbia College Chicago poetry workshop students will present their work at Book Cellar, 4736 North Lincoln Ave.
On Friday, May 14, Quimby's, 1854 West North Ave, will present readings by Michael Bernstein, Lewis Freedman, and Andy Gricevich.
On Saturday, May 15, at 8 PM, there will be a poetry / performance art open mic at the 3rd Saturday Coffeehouse at Unity Temple, 875 Lake Street in Oak Park, followed by a blues concert with Guy King. Donation is $3 to $5 and the venue is wheelchair accessible.
There will be an Orange Alert reading at The Whistler, 2421 North Milwaukee Ave, on Sunday, May 16, 6 PM. It will feature Andrew Farkas (author of Self Titled Debut), Rebekah Silverman (of Artifice Magazine), C.T. Ballentine (of The2ndHand), Jmes Tadd Adcox (Artifice) and Brian Costello.
On Wednesday, May 19, 7 PM, Gerber Hart Library, 1127 West Granville Ave, will present an event honoring the late Lorraine Hansberry. Local writers will read from her work and discuss Hansberry's influence on their own literary development. Writers scheduled to participate include Carmen Abrego, C.C. Carter, Nikki Pattin, and Avery R. Young.
On Thursday, May 20, 7 PM, the Words That Kill poetry / comedy series will present a "Geek" Show with an open mic at Lilly's Bar, 2513 N. Lincoln Ave. Admission is $5 or free with canned goods donation for this 21 and over event featuring Tim F'n Stafford, Awesomemonster, Billy Tuggle and hosts Mojdeh Stoakley and John Paul Davis.
If you are on the Southside on Friday, May 21, from 8 to 10 PM, The League of Extraordinary Poets will present an open mic event called "The Takeover of The Quaker House" at 5616 South Woodlawn. Donation is $3 to $5. You may recall GPA from the League reading his prison poem at the big Harold Washington Cram.
If you are on the Northside on Friday, May 21, from 7 to 9 PM, Cafe Ballou, 939 North Western Ave, will present Cafe Cabaret, a night of Poetry, Spoken Word, Performance Art, Comedy and Music hosted by Janet Kane and Roberta Miles and featuring Jill Erickson, Robin Fine, Kelly Anchors, Angela Oliver, Scott Sones, and Cecelia Ras and company. There is a suggested donation of $10.
Sandra Alcosser, who is the former Poet Laureate of the State of Montana, will discuss her role in choosing the poems in the Brookfield Zoo's new Language of Conservation exhibit and she will read some of her own poetry on Friday, May 21 at 6 PM at the Brookfield Public Library, 3609 Grand Boulevard. To register to attend this free event, please call the library at 708-485-6917 or click here then click on the May 21 event to sign up online.
The Brookfield Zoo's new Language of Conservation Exhibit, that will permanently display poetry throughout their new 7 acre Great Bear Wilderness, will officially open at 10 AM on Saturday, May 22. If you were thinking of visiting the zoo this year, that would be a good day to do it. There will be poetry activities with the Hamill Family Play Zoo staff from 11 to 1, a poetry reading and discussion by Chicago Zoological Society poet-in-residence Sandra Alcosser and visiting poet Joseph Bruchac at Riverside Library, 1 Burling Road, at 1 PM, and another reading in Great Bear Wilderness at 3 PM. You can pay for admission to the zoo online by clicking here or pay at the gate.
On Sunday, May 23, 1:30 to 4:30 PM, The Rhino Workshop returns to Evanston Public Library (at Church & Orrington, room 108), with this month's workshop leader, Katia Mitova who will be discussing "Funny Poems that Are Not Funny". Bring 15 or more copies (no longer than two pages) of work you want critiqued. It's only a $5 to $10 donation.
On Saturday, May 22, or Sunday, May 23 (it's still not very clear yet), at 4 PM, The Parlor's 2nd Annual Emerging Writer's Festival at The Green Lantern, 1511 N. Milwaukee, will take place: 4 PM, Sarah Terez Rosenblum (Where She Is); 4:30, Jeanie Chung (Cuts and Folds); 5, Peter Anderson (One Son Resists); 5:45, J.D.K. Goodman (Another Places Another Time); 6:15, Jessie Morrison (The Queens of the Northwest Side). Hopefully they will correct the error in the date at this link some time soon.
On Tuesday, May 25, at 7:30 PM, TallGrass Writers Guild welcomes Dan Godston as the feature for their open mic at The Bourgeois Pig, 738 W. Fullerton. Cover charge for the evening is $6, $5 for students, and everyone is welcome to perform up to 10 minutes.