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spacer.gif   National Poetry Month: 2012 Chicago Public Library Poetry Fest
Posted by : cj on Monday, March 26, 2012 - 06:12 PM
Chicago Poetry News: Click On Headlines .

On Saturday, April 28, the Chicago Public Library will be hosting its 13th annual poetry fest, and thanks to PoetryLeaks, ChicagoPoetry.com has the scoop!! You probably already know that the fest is going to be the place to get your free copy of Poetry Cram Volume 13, but there are some real surprises this year, including a workshop led by Al DeGenova of After Hours Press, a reading by Les Murray and an open mic hosted by Dave Gecic of Puddin'head Press. Here is the official schedule, leaked from the library's website before it was even published.


Celebrate National Poetry Month with the Chicago Public Library! Visit the Harold Washington Library Center on Saturday, April 28, 2012 for the 13th annual Poetry Fest, a free daylong event featuring poetry readings, workshops and other exciting activities.

Check out a wide variety of programs including the eighth annual Haiku Festival awards ceremony, keynote poet Les Murray, a variety of poetry workshops and much more.

Seating is limited for all programs, especially workshops. Please arrive promptly in order to get a seat.

Learn about poetry, including recommended reading lists and online research resources.

Poetry Fest Events

Saturday, April 28, 2012
Harold Washington Library Center


Haiku Festival Awards Ceremony
Cindy Pritzker Auditorium
10 a.m. – noon
The eighth annual Haiku Festival, hosted by poet Regina Baiocchi, encourages students ages 8 to 14 to write original poetry in the haiku form. At this culminating award ceremony, the winning poets will receive certificates, cash awards and prizes, and will read their poems. This year’s guest poet at the ceremony will be Valerie Wallace, author of The Dictators’ Guide to Good Housekeeping.


Performance Skills for Poets with Jennifer Dotson
Video Theater
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
This workshop will provide poets with performance tricks and tips from an instructor with theater training and extensive acting credits. The goal will be to improve public reading skills and take the fear out of performing poetry. Participants should wear comfortable clothes for stretching/relaxation and bring one poem (no longer than 30 lines) for practice reading with the group.

Jennifer Dotson is the founder and program coordinator for Highland Park Poetry. Her poetry has appeared in East on Central, CRAM Chapbooks and Her Mark. She teaches creative writing classes for District 113’s continuing education program. Dotson received her master of fine arts in drama from the University of Virginia.


Personal Training for Poets: Mapping 10,000 Hours of Poetry with Andrea Witzke Slot
Multi-Purpose Room A
10:30 a.m. – noon
Writing, editing, marketing, publishing: These are some of the tasks that many poets engage in on a regular basis. What are the most effective strategies for success? This workshop is designed to help poets of all levels reflect on their writing lives, recognize obstacles, assess personal aims and ambitions, and create a personal training program for achieving realistic goals. This workshop will also explore the exciting but sometimes overwhelming world of contemporary poetry and publication routes so that participants can best determine where they fit as readers and writers.

Andrea Witzke Slot is a writer, scholar, mother, activist and educator. Her first book, To Find a New Beauty (Gold Wake Press, 2012), explores the more difficult qualities of beauty and desire in life, nature and art. She teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is an editor at RHINO Poetry.


Teen Slam Team Showcase
Reception Hall
Noon – 1 p.m.
Don’t miss this chance to see three of Chicago’s hottest teen slam poetry teams share the stage! Teams from the Center on Halsted, Northside College Prep and YOUmedia will showcase the passion and skill they bring to spoken word poetry in competitions and tournaments.


Inspiration from World Poetry with Bakul Banerjee
Multi-Purpose Room A
12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Drawing upon personal experience is often the most effective method of writing poems but even if you have never crossed the boundary of your hometown you can enrich that experience by peeking into the minds of poets from far away. In this workshop, we will experiment with writing short poems inspired by major world poets. We will discuss how to find and use many helpful resources. In the second part of the workshop, we will discuss some common Asian poetic forms that are becoming popular in the United States

Born near Delhi, Bakul Banerjee currently calls Wheaton, Ill., home. Her first volume of poems, Synchronicity was published in 2010, and she continues to publish poems and short stories in literary magazines and anthologies. She is the co-chair of Naperville Writers Group and an active member of the Illinois State Poetry Society.


To Publish, or Not to Publish: Page vs. Stage with Albert DeGenova
Video Theater
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
This program will discuss the changing attitudes of contemporary poets regarding work written primarily for the purposes of performance and the relative merit of having those same works published, either in print or online. Some questions that will be investigated: As literature, does poetry need to reside on the printed page or is spoken word a movement back to the oral tradition of poetry? Does a spoken word performance allow an audience the same internalizing of poetry as does the reading of words on a page? Why are many stage poets reluctant or dismissive regarding having their work published in print? How does the poet judge the relative value of an audience whether in print or live?

Albert DeGenova is a poet, editor/publisher, teacher and blues saxophonist. He is the author of three poetry collections: Back Beat (Fractal Edge Press, 2006); The Blueing Hours (Virtual Artists Collective, 2008); and the chapbook Postcards to Jack (Naked Mannekin Press, 2010). He is an adjunct professor at Concordia University in River Forest, Ill.


Poetry Reading by Les Murray
Cindy Pritzker Auditorium
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Australian Les Murray grew up on his grandparents’ farm in Bunyah, New South Wales, and returned there with his own family in 1985. His poetry is deeply rooted in Australian history and landscape. Among his many award-winning collections are The Ilex Tree (with Geoff Lehmann), Dog Fox Field, Subhuman Redneck Poems, Fredy Neptune: A Novel in Verse, Learning Human, Conscious and Verbal, and Poems the Size of Photographs. His latest books, both released in 2011, are Taller When Prone: Poems and Killing the Black Dog: A Memoir of Depression. Co-Sponsored by The Poetry Foundation.

You may reserve a seat for this reading beginning March 15 at poetryfest2012.eventbrite.com/.


Calling All Chicago Poets: Open Mic
Reception Hall
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Come one, come all! This is your chance to check out the diversity and talent of Chicago’s poets and add your own voice to the mix. We will fit as many poets of all backgrounds and levels of experience as we can into this vibrant showcase.

The Open Mic will be hosted by Dave Gecic, who has run Puddin’head Press—one of the oldest and most active poetry presses in the city—for more than 25 years. Sign up for the Poetry Raffle at the Puddin’Head Press exhibitor table in the Grand Lobby. After you sign up you will receive a ticket. At the open mic, numbers will be drawn from a hat and if your number is called you can take the stage and perform up to four minutes of your work.



These presses will be exhibiting their publications in the Grand Lobby throughout Poetry Fest.

•After Hours Press

•ChicagoPoetry.com Press (get your free copy of Poetry Cram 13 at the ChicagoPoetry.com table in the main lobby)

•Illinois State Poetry Society

•Neighborhood Writing Alliance/Journal of Ordinary Thought

•Poets and Patrons

•Puddin’head Press

•Exact Change Press


•Swan Isle Press

•Third World Press

•Virtual Artists Collective

Note: ChicagoPoetry.com has the advance scoop on the line up for the 13th annual Poetry Fest at Harold Washington Library. Click here for the scoop.

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