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spacer.gif   DESPITE DISAPPOINTING TURNOUT, PUBLIC LIBRARY POETRY FEST GOES ON
Posted by : cj on Sunday, December 05, 2004 - 09:18 PM
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Chicago Poetry News: Click On Headlines .
Juried Reading Winners Take The Stage At The Public Library Poetry Fest During the Chicago Public Library's 5th Annual Poetry Fest at the Harold Washington Library on Saturday, April 17, it was announced that Chicago Poet Kristy Bowen was the recipient of the first place prize in the Poetry Center of Chicago's 10th Annual Juried Reading. Kristy's poem "Narrowing" was published in a chapbook, along with poetry by the other seven finalists, and she received $1000. Kristy holds an M.A. in English Literature from DePaul University, and her book The Archaeologist's Daughter is forthcoming from Moon Journal Press. National Poetry Month has been a big month for Kristy Bowen, who also appeared for ChicagoPoetry.com at the Guild Complex presentation of Chicago Poetry Uncensored, during which she received an honorable mention in the 1st Annual Frieda Stein Fenster Memorial Award. She was personally selected by Campbell McGrath to receive the Juried Reading prize.

The other winners in the Juried Reading were: Jason Bredle, who won $500 for 2nd place; Joanne Diaz, who won $250 for 3rd place; Kirsty Odelius, who received $50 and an honorable mention; Charlie Clark, Lorraine Harrell, Daniel B. Johnson and Kiki Petrosino, who each received $50 as finalists.

Chicago Poetry-Scene Heavyweight Ken Clarke Says Hello To ChicagoPoetry.comThe Juried Reading was one part of a day full of poetry readings, workshops and panel discussions, during a festival full of talented poets, but lacking in audience (and you can't blame that on the weather). Haki Madhubuti and Quraysh Ali Lansana started the day with readings of their new work. Haki read from Run Toward Fear which included excerpts from the forty steps to being a poet, including such gems as "marry someone with a job," and "read more poetry than you write." Quraysh read from his new book They Shall Run. It was very enlightening to hear Quraysh read his new poems in the thick dialect they are written in, as it is quite honestly one tough book to absorb for anyone unfamiliar with the specifics of Harriet Tubman. The poems were also enhanced by some history during his introductions to them.

Juried Reading Judge Simone Muench Reads During Richard Fammeree's Presentation of reVerse LIVEIn one of the library's multipurpose rooms, the editors of The Spoken Word Revolution, Mark Eleveld and Slampapi Marc Smith, were joined by Chicago Poet Tara Betts during a panel discussion about the Poetry Slam. Smith immediately abandoned his post at the panel table and took a seat within the audience as the discussion began. Though Smith's relaxed attitude was refreshing, and though his promise of a book due in June titled The Complete Idiot's Guide To The Poetry Slam was certainly news, and though the event offered a pretty effective argument for the merits of the Slam style of performance poetry--it would have been nice if an alternative viewpoint had been allowed into the panel. Because only pro-slam voices were allowed to sit on the panel, the hour was not so much a discussion, as it was a sales pitch for the $25 book.

The day also included some events that I missed, as they happened simultaneously, such as a feature by the Chicago Poetry Project, the Young Chicago Authors' Louder Than A Bomb event, a presentation by the Snow City Arts Foundation, and a performance poetry workshop held by Tara Betts. In the main lobby, small presses were showcased and were allowed to sell their books, including Bridge Magazine, Non-Fit Press, Puddin'head Press, A Small Garlic Press, Third World Press, among others.

Mark Strand Was One Of The Headliners During The Poetry FestAfter the Juried Reading in the main auditorium, just as the day's unbelievably low turnout for the under-publicized Poetry Fest was finally beginning to thicken, the audience was unfortunately subjected to yet another of Richard Fammeree's mish-mashes of poetry and music. I thought it was disappointing that the poetry fest didn't have enough faith in the spoken-word alone to headline some poetry giants a cappella to close off this event, without mixing in a couple more songs by Linnaeus, blasting techno-music so loud that you couldn't even hear Ken Clarke's poem, giving Mark Strand all of about seven minutes on stage (a fraction of what the flutist was allowed), and promising a performance by Elise Paschen without delivering it. But the reVerse Live climax did include some finely executed performances by Simone Muench, Marvin Tate, and Sherill Lamb, making it all worth while.

--C. J. Laity
Reporting the poetry news for ya'.



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