Mar 19, 2018 - 05:20 PM  
  Welcome to Chicago Poetry Press
CJ Laity is Mr. Chicago Poetry

Poetry Press

Go to the homepage with calendar
The Chicago Poetry News
Journal of Modern Poetry

Chicago Poetry Scene Top 135

· A Cram On WBEZ
· After Hours Press
· Anobium
· Another Chicago Magazine
· Antena
· Anti-War Poetry
· Apparatus Magazine
· AquaMoon
· Audio Party
· Barbara's Bookstore
· Beach Poets
· Big Other
· Bob Boone's Teacher's Hangout
· Book Cellar
· Book Slut
· Book Stall
· Caffeine Theatre
· Center on Halsted
· Chaotic Radio
· Chicago Amplified
· Chicago Calling
· Chicago Literary Club
· Chicago Poetry Brothel
· Chicago Poetry Club
· Chicago Poetry Project
· Chicago Poetry Neutral Zone
· Chicago Public Library
· ChicagoPublishes (City of Chicago)
· Chicago Reader
· Chicago Readers Blog
· Chicago Shakes
· Chicago Slam Works
· Chicago Writes
· College of Complexes
· Columbia College
· Columbia College Events
· Columbia Poetry Review
· Cracked Slab Books
· Curbside Splendor
· Danny's
· Dollar Store
· Drinking and Writing
· 826 Chicago
· Encyclopedia Show
· Featherproof
· Gapers Block Book Club
· Girl Speak
· Golden Rule Jones
· Green Mill
· Guild Complex
· Gwendolyn Brooks Center
· Homolatte
· Illinois Arts Council
· Illinois Poet Laureate
· Illinois Poets Society
· In One Ear at Heartland Cafe
· JackLeg Press
· KuumbaLynx
· La Bloga
· Lake Forest College
· Lethal Poetry
· Letter eX
· Literago
· Literary Chicago
· Louder Than A Bomb
· Loyola
· Mango Tribe
· March/Abrazo
· Mental Graffiti
· Milk Magazine
· Muzzle
· Myopic Books
· Neighborhood Writing Alliance
· Neutron Bomb
· Newberry Library
· Next Objectivists
· Northwestern
· Northwestern Press
· Oyez Review
· Paper Machete
· Parlor Reading Series
· Partner Dance Press
· PerformInk
· Poetry Center of Chicago
· Poetry Foundation
· Poetry Magazine
· PoetryPoetry
· Poets and Patrons
· Powells
· Printers Ball
· Printers Row Lit Fest
· Proyecto Latina
· Puddin'head Press
· Publish Chicago
· Quickies!
· Quimby's
· Ragdale
· Rambunctious Review
· Reading Under The Influence
· Real Talk Ave
· Rec Room
· Revolving Door
· Red Rover
· Rhino
· 2nd Story
· Series A
· Seven Corners
· Shakespeares Monkeys
· She Writes
· Silver Tongue
· Slampapi Blog
· Small Garlic Press
· Spoon River Review
· StarWallpaper
· Sunday Salon
· Sun Times Books
· Swan Isle Press
· Switchback Books
· Tallgrass Writers / Outrider Press
· The2ndHand
· Third World Press
· Tianguis Bookstore
· TimeOut Books
· TriQuarterly
· Tuesday Funk
· Twilight Tales
· U of C Poetics
· U of C Press
· U of I Press
· Underground Library
· Unscene Chicago
· Vaporacle
· Virtual Artists Collective
· Weeds
· Weighed Words
· Woman Made Gallery
· Woman Made Gallery Audio
· Women and Children First
· Young Chicago Authors

Right Now . . .

There are 48 unregistered users and 0 registered users on-line.

You can log-in or register for a user account here.

Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:31 PM
Chicago Poetry Archives: Click Headlines THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Skip intro., go directly to the responses

This is an open forum for discussion and comment. If you send us your stories, thoughts or opinions, we WILL post them here.

May's topic is The Process of Writing Poetry. What is YOUR process? When and how have your greatest poems come to you. Do you have any strange rituals in your writing process? What causes "writer's block"? What inspires your poetry? Do you believe in the "writer's hand," or is writing poetry a more conscious skill? We are not looking to ANSWER these questions with any finality; we just want your own thoughts and opinions. Send your comments to: PUBLISHER@CHICAGOPOETRY.COM

I have written my best poems when in states of emotion pain or turmoil. My poem "Sunday" came to me after I broke up with a girlfriend. I wrote it in a matter of minutes and never did a single rewrite. Within two days of writing it it was already accepted into Hammers Magazine. My poem "Scars" suddenly blurted out of my mouth as I walked with a friend near Broadway and Argyle. And my poem "blood, water, pen, sword" was origianlly written on a napkin in a Chinese restaurant. I can not force myself to write. When I do it all comes out crap. My poems "come" to me without any effort, and I know if it is a good poem or not because I will have the poem memorized immediately without exerting any energy. Sometimes there will be several months inbetween writing a single poem and another. When I was completely broke and living in a run down apartment with a roommate I didn't get along with, I wrote a poem every day, and they were all good by my standards. When I am doing fine and content in life, I don't write anything. Presently I don't spend much time writing poetry because I am working all the time on this website, but I think this type of offering to the poetry community is just as important as writing poetry itself. Sacrifices like this are what makes Chicago the great city it is. So I don't regret it, and I know when my next great poem is ready to come, it will just pop out like a frog from either my mouth or my fingers, and there is nothing I can do to force it out any earlier.

C. J. Laity



Hi, Jack Shafer here from Los Angeles (Pasadena actually). I'm just an old L.A. street poet but I will be coming to Chicago in October. I'll be featured at the following.

13th at Cafe Gourmand',
"Word Gourmet"
Hosted by Mars Gamba-Adisa and Nina Corwin

15th at The Green MIll
"Uptown Poetry Slam"
Hosted by Mark Smith
This is a short 10 minute slot for which I am very grateful to Mark Smith because he already has a feature that night.

16th at the Mad Bar
"Mental Graffiti"
Hosted by Anacron and Krystal Ashe

Great thanks to Heather Gawronski who set this all up for me and the gracious hosts who allow me to read without ever hearing me. I pray not to disappoint.

Ok, my creative process. Poetry comes fast for me. I type it directly into the computer. I have an idea and the words come quickly. Then I let it set for a week or so and go look at it again. Sometimes it's trash and I delete it. Most of the time I rework it a little to give it a more general appeal and direction. I also correct spelling and grammar then, take care of line breaks etc.

Stories, dramatic monologue and alchemical treatise come differently. They have never been written. They come to me in blocks of ideas that string together to form a larger piece. It is not easy to explain but if you go to one of the features you will see now that works out on the stage. These are strictly performance pieces. I'm having a book made and my publisher has hired a person to transcribe these pieces from my cd. The cd was recorded at one of my one man shows and is only one step removed from the performance. I don't know how this will work on the page. I did see a sample and it looked pretty good.

Where does it come from? I used to live in Japan in 1964 and met some beggars who were burned by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bomb blasts. It was an experience that literally changed my life. I put a piece together based on that experience. The moral of it is to preserver.

I lost a friend when we were in Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of Viet Nam. I did a piece on the one good thing that came out of that war, and there was one, only one that I could find.

I have a father-in-law with alzheimer's and I did a first person piece on having that disease. It really speaks to how we can help them live their lives even when they have the disease.

I saw some hobos in the Southern Pacific Classification Yard in Barstow CA and did a piece about a hobo preacher named 'Bo Cephas. 'Bo, short for hobo and Cephas from Peter in the Bible. The moral is that every society has those who feel called to help others, 'Bo takes his calling seriously even if he does talk kind of funny and say funny things. He is a dedicated shepherd of his flock.

So what do I have here? I guess a personal experience sets me off and then the creative process takes over and a story or dramatic monologue or an alchemical treatise or something come from that. Since they are never written down there are two main thresholds they have to go through. First they have to be born. There has to be a first reading. Then they have to be honed and trimmed. That comes from multiple readings.

Forgive the rambling. I hope I have helped explain how it works for me. I'd love to hear how it works for you.

--Jack Shafer


The creative process of ANNA HUSAIN.

The poetry of ANNA HUSAIN

ANNA HUSAIN'S bio can be found in the NETwork list at



The creative process of LARRY WINFIELD

The poetry of LARRY WINFIELD.

LARRY WINFIELD'S bio can be found in the NETwork list. A link to his website can be found in the News Room.




I am a poet who has been writing since she was 7 and reading since she was 2. I don't know if I've ever been conscious of my process of writing or anyone else's. It has only been in recent years that I discovered there was a method to words and I am still mystified by it. I'm on CJ's side of the camp when it comes to writing is an outpouring of emotion, much more so than a literary exercise. I know of meter,alliteration, and personification, have heard of iambic pentameter, and while I recognize the need for labels, I choose not to define my words so neatly. What reaches the page is my energy...what life those words attain on the page or the stage is really up to who reads or hears them, because my life is undeniably woven in between the lines. I know form is a big deal in some parts, as are certain processes...but I am one who is much more comfortable outside the lines...formless. Perhaps I am not as good of a writer as I can be, but I'm honestly okay with this. As evidenced in my work, my writings grow with my life. So far, "the process" has been a lot of fun.


nikki p :}

Regarding your thoughts on writing poetry, you say your best work comes from emotional pain. That's true for me, too, and for so many others.
How many works - literary, musical, visual - have been created "in the heat of passion," in an energized state emotion? It would appear that many have though not exclusively from a place on the emotional continuum we call "pain." It we limit the discussion to anguish and related emotional states, this can lead to a simplistic conclusion that the artist's life is one of pain.

Certainly, the creation of literary art (my area of knowledge) has at its core conflict: depicting it, exploring its roots, developing it, resolving it. Without conflict, we have no drama, and conflict is, by definition, discomforting. I firmly believe that a primary function of the artist in society is to deal with pain - the pain of societal and, ultimately, personal, conflict and its disappointments; the insecurities it triggers; the shadow-memories of past hurts. In addition to exploring this area, the writer does more than simply describe, since that would be reportage rather than literature. The role of the writer/poet/artist/seer/shaman goes beyond that to encompass in its process transformation, perhaps even a kind of transcendence that can occur as the "artist" (a shorthand for the multiple roles mentioned above) works. By taking and using the raw material of experience, and by imposing order over what might seem to be random (therefore terrifyingly endless) chaos, the artist creates a new world with evident parameters: a "holding environment" (per Winnecott, a British expressive therapist) with a sense of structure.

So the artist, in the practice of art, performs metamorphosis by transforming pain into art. Were not the first artists the shamans who created the cave paintings like those found in Altamira and Lascaux? Isn't there a kind of sorcery, then, in the metamorphosis that is art - not only in the act of its creation, but in the ongoing effect it has on all who come into contact with it? At this level of consciousness, art can heal.

By turning pain into art, the artist provides a model to a larger society that pain need not destroy. Some might say that the art-process demonstrates the conquest of pain, and by extension, even death.

* * *

Without question, then, art has roots in pain and conflict, but not necessarily unremitting pain. Perhaps a more cyclical view of strong emotion's (I really want to say passion's) ebbings and flowings could present a more complete picture.
I think a strong case has been made by Kay Redfield Jamison in her landmark book, Touched by Fire, linking artistic creativity with a disproportionately high incidence of marked mood fluctuations, as supported by centuries of anecdotal and clinical evidence. Many masterworks in literature, music and the visual arts saw creation during periods of emotionally charged energy - positive as well as negative. While it may not be appropriate to digress here into writing about the disproportionately high correlation between poets and manic-depressive illness, chronic depression and suicide, we have to acknowledge and address its importance for a disproportionately significant percentage of those in the literary arts, and I would invite further discussion on the matter.

So much for the ramblings of this gypsy scholar - for now.

Whitney Scott

**We hope you found the information on this page useful. needs your help. We are holding a fundraising drive in order to stay online. There are two ways that you can help: Click here to offer a financial gift or click here to order the new book by Press.

spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
BlockRTop.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
  Poetry Contest
· Enter Our Contest
BlockRBott.gif spacer.gif spacer

spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
BlockRTop.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
Order a book
The Ultimate Chicago Poetry Anthology
Clever Gretel by Jennifer Dotson
JOMP 15 Is Here
Postcards from Poland by Joseph Kuhn Carey
Journal of Modern Poetry 16
Vape Mania
Jomp 17
BlockRBott.gif spacer.gif spacer

spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
BlockRTop.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
· Buy JOMP 18
· Buy JOMP 19
· Buy JOMP 20
BlockRBott.gif spacer.gif spacer

spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
BlockRTop.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
  Poetry Publishing
Chicago Poetry Press publishes the highest quality poetry in beautiful, perfect bound editions. We rely on your continued support to operate, because we are not funded by any corporation, foundation, government agency or university. You can always contact
CJ Laity at Publisher@
BlockRBott.gif spacer.gif spacer

spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
BlockRTop.gif spacer.gif spacer.gif
  eX-ceptional 150
· Acme Artworks
· Alarm
· American Perspectives
· Answer Tag Home Press
· Area Chicago
· Avant Chicago
· Bailliwik
· Beard of Bees
· Black Arts
· Blossom Bones
· Bohemian Pupil
· Borders Open Door Poetry
· Born Magazine
· Bucktown Arts Fest
· Chance Operations
· Chicago Artists Coalition
· Chicago Cultural Center
· Chicago Dramatists
· Chicago Innerview
· Chicagoist
· Chi Labor Arts Fest Blog
· Chicago Magazine
· Chicago Quarterly
· Chicago Review
· Chicago6Corners
· Chi Town Daily News
· Christian Poets Society
· cinematheque
· Common Review
· Conscious Choice
· Contra Tiempo
· Conundrum
· Court Green
· Crab Orchard
· Cross Roads
· Curious Theatre
· Elastic Arts
· Elder Stories
· EM Press
· Empty Bottle
· F News Magazine
· Fast Geek Press
· Fence
· Fifth Wednesday
· Free Lunch
· Free Street
· Front 40
· Gapers Block
· Gargoyle
· Haiku Society
· Haymarket
· Heartland Cafe
· Hemmingway Foundation
· Highland Park Poetry
· Hotel Amerika
· Hour Glass
· Hull House
· Humanities Fest
· Hyde Park Art
· Improv Olympics
· Intersections
· In These Times
· The Ivory Tower
· Kalamu
· Karamu
· Kedzie Press / The Green Parent
· Lake Claremont
· Lawyers For Arts
· Lisle Library
· Literary Chicago
· Literary Pizazz Radio
· Lit Line
· Links Hall
· Looptopia
· Love Chicago
· Lumpen
· Machine
· Make Magazine
· Manual of Style
· Mayapple Press
· Mayor's Office of Events
· MetroMix
· Mexican Fine Arts
· Midland Authors
· Midwest Literary Fest
· Midwest Zines
· Milk Weed
· Millions
· Moria
· Mule
· Muse Letter
· Naperville Writers
· National Writers Union
· Nelson Algren Committee
· Neofuturists
· Nextbook
· Ninth Letter
· Old Town Folk School
· Open Book
· Osbey Books
· O Sweet Flowery Roses
· Other Voices
· Otium
· Palatine Slam
· Paper and Carriage
· Paper Mustache
· Perpetual Motion
· Plainfield Poetry
· PM Poetry
· Poem Present
· Poetic License
· Poetry Cache
· Poetry Daily
· Poetry Radio
· Poets and Writers
· Poets Kitchen
· Polvo
· Polyphony
· Pudding House
· Punk Planet
· Reconstruction Room
· Redmoon
· Roctober
· Rose Metal
· Room 315
· Rubba Ducky
· Sawbuck
· Scars Publishing
· Screwball
· Second Run
· Seminary Co-op
· Seventen Bishop
· Shark Forum
· Shelter
· Shortpants
· Skeleton News
· Small Happy
· Stop Smiling
· Sourcebooks
· Spareroom
· Spondee
· Stone Jones
· Story Studio
· Story Quarterly
· Street Level
· Teatro Luna
· This Is Grand
· Ticket2Write
· Time Out
· Uncommon Ground
· Unlikely Stories
· UR Chicago
· Venus
· Visions For Chicago
· Wordsfest
· Writers Workspace
· You Are Beautiful
BlockRBott.gif spacer.gif spacer

Web hosting provided by TechFinesse