On Wednesday, October 24, at 7 PM, the Chicago Poetry Scene converged for a one night only performance at the Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western Ave, to celebrate the release of Journal of Modern Poetry, the fourteenth edition in the Poetry Cram series. Some of the most talented as well as lettered poets in Illinois read samples of their work in this prestigious event. The event was free and open to the public.
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The following are some of the poets who joined us for this, the biggest poetry event of the year.
Adam Benavides (pg. 80) began writing poetry when he was 14 years old. He now holds a B.A. in English. He says: "I've always been intrigued with writing and stories as it adds an element of timelessness to all things felt, seen and experienced. This art and availability seems essential to capturing a full life and all the waves it will take you on."
Barbara Kreader Skalinder's (pg. 40) poems have appeared in What Music Means to Me, a book of photographs and essays by Richard Rejino, published by Hal Leonard Corporation. She is the former Editor of Clavier, an international magazine for pianists and organists, as well as the co-author of a series of piano books for children. In June, 2011 she completed the Certificate in Writing Program at the Graham School of the University of Chicago and won the Student Writer’s Prize Honorable Mention.
Beatriz Badikian-Gartler, Ph.D. (pgs. 19 and 28) is a Chicago poet, teacher of writing and literature, multilingual speaker, and world traveler. She is the author of Mapmaker Revisited (Gladsome Books) and Akewa is a Woman (MARCH/Abrazo Press), and a novel Old Gloves: A 20th Century Saga (Fractal Edge Press).
Brendan Thomas (pg. 60) is a Chicago native, dermatologist, husband and father with strong interests in the body, technology, language and culture.
Cathleen Schandelmeier (pg. 68) is host of the Beach Poetry reading series.
Chris Reid (pgs. 32 and 67)) is a longtime slam poet in Chicago and has poems appearing this year in the anthologies Rhyme and PUNishment and Joy Interrupted, as well as in various print and online journals, and she is currently writing a stage play. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois.
Cordell M. Miles Jr. (pg. 98) was born in Louisville, KY, raised in Huntington Beach, CA, and currently lives in Hammond, IN.
Deborah Nodler Rosen (pg. 73) is a widely published, award winning poet and is currently an editor of RHINO. She teaches poetry classes in schools under a Kids Meet Art program.
Delores Tolliver (pg. 83) is a retired City College Educator with a passion for song who has taught writing and English for 17 years. She's been published in the Journal of Ordinary Thought (Neighborhood Writing Alliance).
Diann Martin (pg. 61) is an avid reader and writer of nonfiction and poetry. She has studied at StoryStudio and at Ragdale. She lives in Wilmette with her husband and works as a nurse educator.
Donna Pecore (pg. 20) says she "is going through academic withdrawals after a 10 year odyssey culminating in a Masters from UIC" and that "she floats on the winds of chance hoping for opportunities to use her education." She says "her poetry has changed her world, saved her life, and opened her heart."
Ellen Savage's (pg. 71) poetry has been recognized by Poets & Patrons and Highland Park Poetry and has appeared in CALYX, East on Central, Avocet, and The Butterfly Gardener. Having graduated in 1976 from the University of Illinois with a nursing degree, she worked in obstetrical nursing through most of her career. After her son left for college in 2007, she began to devote serious time to writing. She is also an avid bird watcher and enjoys playing the viola and the autoharp.
Gail Goepfert (pg. 43) is a Midwest teacher, poet, and nature photographer. She has been published in a number of anthologies and journals including Avocet, Caesura, Cram 11 and 13, Off Channel, After Hours, Florida Review, and online at Bolts of Silk, Prose Poetry Project, Quill and Parchment, and YourDailyPoem.com. She says: "After many years in the classroom, I happily attend the school of poetry and nature."
Glenn Ford (pg. 76), aka Umiyayay, is a poet living on the south side of Chicago. He says: "I just love art of writing and I am learning that's it popular to be unpopular."
Itala Langmar (pg. 41) is an Illinois artist and has been painting and writing poetry since she was a girl in Venice, Italy. After gaining proficiency in English, she began writing poetry in English as well as Italian in the 1990s. Itala often informs her paintings with the text of her poems because choosing the right words and the perfect colors for them are mutually creative.
Jacqueline Harris (pg. 34) says she has been writing off and on throughout most of her life, toying with fiction in grade school and supernatural / horror in high school. She began writing poetry in 1999 and she says "it was in slam and performance poetry that I found my true voice." She says her poetry book Random Acts of Verse is the culmination of her journey through heartache, hospitalization, betrayal and ultimate triumph.
James L. Merriner (pg. 95) is a freelance writer and the author of five books about history and politics. He is the past president of the Society of Midland Authors and has taught journalism at the graduate level. He says he "has started writing poetry for the first time since he was a lovesick fool in college."
Jasminum McMullen (pg. 21) is a two time champion of Berwyn Public Library’s series Poetry Idol, a mix of slam poetry and American Idol. Jas released a recording of her poetry in 2011 entitled The Reunification of Destiny and she is the author of the book In My Write Mind. She says she "writes every day and almost always on post-its."
Jennifer Dotson (pg. 54) is founder and program coordinator for HighlandParkPoetry.org.
Jenny Santellano (pg. 62) is a 45 year old mother of two working full-time as a property manager. She says: "I've loved to read and write poetry since I was a teenager but had not shared any of my poetry with others until two years ago when I joined a Writer's website. To me writing poetry is the ultimate creative outlet and helps me express the different facets of my personality."
Jim Davis (pg. 39) is a graduate of Knox College and now lives, writes, and paints in Chicago, where he edits the North Chicago Review. His work has appeared in Seneca Review, Blue Mesa Review, Poetry Quarterly, Whitefish Review, The Café Review, and Contemporary American Voices. He has been the winner of the Line Zero Poetry Contest and Eye on Life Poetry Prize. He can be found at JimDavisPoetry.com
Justin Peterson says (pg. 77) "I moved to Chicago from the Pacific NW a little over a year ago. I write everyday, but am far away from being a writer. I hate doing it mostly constantly. And when I do, the webs of my fingers feel split by papercuts and the jelly of my eyes resumes to make my belly growl. Perhaps then I harbor some potential."
Laurie Blum (pg. 56) says she "is always looking to expand her career palette." Laurie has been writing poetry and prose for several years and finds inspiration from the beauty of nature and the human condition. She says she "loves to try new activities such as sky-diving, yoga and surfing."
Linda Leedy Schneider (pg. 42) is a poetry and writing mentor and psychotherapist in private practice. She has been a faculty member at Aquinas College and Kendall College of Art and Design. Linda received the Grand Prize from 2012 Contemporary American Poetry Prize sponsored by Chicago Poetry, a Readers’ Choice Award from The Pedestal Magazine, and was honored by the Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition. Her work has been published in hundreds of literary magazines including The Pedestal Magazine, Rattle, and The Sow’s Ear. She has written six collections of poetry and has edited two collections written by poets whom she has mentored. Linda's latest reading was at The Saturn Poetry Series, NYC.
Lois Barr (pgs. 22 and 36) teaches language, literature, civilization and creative writing in Spanish at Lake Forest College. Her poems and stories have appeared or will appear in Flashquake, Poetica, Phat’itude, East on Central, The DuPage Review, Mochila, Love After 70, Bedtime Stories for Everyone, The New Vilna Review and the University of Iowa’s Daily Palette.
Marcia J. Pradzinski (pgs. 17 and 90) is a retired ELS teacher who has been published in Rhino, After Hours, Avocet, Poetry Cram and in the anthologies A Light Breakfast and Cradle Songs. She has won awards in the Jo-Anne Hirshfield contest sponsored by Evanston Public Library and in Highland Park’s Poetry Challenge.
Mariah Phillips (pg. 91) says "poetry has been the main outlet for my wild pessimism this summer, and [Poetry Cram] has provided a great purpose to continue writing and functioning." Mariah also says: "Other than Harry Potter, I am fascinated by nature, by creativity, by love, and by language. I enjoy cooking and crafting, especially knitting. I knit because Hagrid, Hermione and Mrs. Weasley knit."
Marian Kaplun Shapiro (pgs. 18 and 50) is the author of a professional book, Second Childhood (Norton, 1988), a poetry book, Players In The Dream, Dreamers In The Play (Plain View Press, 2007) and two chapbooks: Your Third Wish (Finishing Line, 2007) and The End Of The World Announced On Wednesday (Pudding House, 2007). She says: "As a Quaker and a psychologist" her poetry "often embeds the topics of peace and violence by addressing one within the context of the other." A resident of Lexington, she was named Senior Poet Laureate of Massachusetts in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011.
Marianne Schaefer (M. G. Schaefer/Holoroyd) (pg. 59) says as she "grew she knew that becoming a medical professional and forensic medical specialist would not be enough for her"—even the publication of short erotica could not satisfy her need to become the erotic poet for Beast Woman Cabaret. She also created a workshop to teach the art of creative “Decadence” writing, which has been presented at the WisCon Writer’s Convention, and she recently had a one-woman show at The Erotic Heritage Museum of Las Vegas, Nevada. She is currently working on a book of poetry called “Crotch Tingle” and she says she "treats patients when time allows."
Mayi D. Ojisua (pg. 97) is a poet, painter and poetic flutist, and a graduate of Columbia College, Chicago who has had writing published in various journals and magazines. He says: "It was and still is my dream to compete with myself; to see, feel and translate my understanding of life."
Michael Schwartz (pg. 72) is 25 and lives in Aurora, IL. He says: "I started writing when I was about 14 and haven't stopped since. It's my true passion. You could say my style is unconventional. It doesn't follow any guidelines really. I just love being able to capture certain sounds or feelings."
Nancy J. Heggem (pg. 23) is a retired mathematician and a Trustee of the Palatine Public Library District. Her work has been published in the Daily Herald, Poetry Cram, Horticulture Garden Verse, William Rainey College Point of View and nine Outrider Press / TallGrass Writers Guild Anthologies. She received third prize for Automotive Poetry from the Towe Auto Museum, Sacramento, CA.
Rebecca Mullen (pg. 79) says: "I am a teacher, reading specialist, writer, and language thespian. I’ve been writing poems for as long as I can remember – the rhythms are in my thoughts and blood. My family wrote poems and songs for every holiday, birthday, wedding, and birth. In my free time, I live for live music. I’m an amateur photographer and a lover of this world."
Sheila A. Donovan (pg. 57) has had her poetry published in journals, anthologies, chapbooks, newspapers and magazines and her art and poems have been exhibited at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago. She has done readings at schools, coffee houses, galleries, libraries, the Printers Ball, and the Bucktown Arts Fest and she is the originator of the annual Children's Day event for the Beach Poetry reading series. Sheila was a semi-finalist for the 2009 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award and was awarded an Honorable Mention for the 2012 Contemporary American Poetry Prize. She says: "Writing is a passion that will not permit me to lay my pen down."
Stella Vinitchi Radulescu, (pg. 89) Ph.D. in French Language & Literature, is the author of several collections of poetry published in the United States, Romania and France, including Insomnia in Flowers (2008), All Seeds & Blues (2011), and I Was Afraid of Vowels (bilingual, Luke Hankins translator, 2011). Her work has appears in Laurel Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Seneca Review, Pleiades, Rhino, Louisville Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review, and in a variety of literary magazines in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Québec and Romania.
Terrance Raymond Carlton (pg. 70) says his "writings strive to bring unity to a segregated population through cheeky wordplay, serious social commentary, artistic line blurring, and gripping poetic promise." He currently works as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Gozamos, a spotlight on Chicago community and culture. You can find him at TerryCarlton.com.
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