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Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:35 PM
Chicago Poetry Archives: Click Headlines .

Welcome to's Letters Section. Once the boxing ring of poetry, this forum has matured into the best place to find out what's happening in the Chicago Poetry Scene. The editor reserves the right to reject any letter he finds unproductive. Also, please be sure the letter you send is the letter you mean to get published; the editor doesn't like having to come in here to change things. If your letter is NOT meant for publication--please specify that. Otherwise, we reserve the right to publish ANYTHING sent to or Letter eX.

Click here to order a pizza.

TallGrass Performance Ensemble Brings "Escape to the Tropics Jan. 6

The TallGrass Writers Guild Performance Ensemble will present "Escape to the Tropics" on Thursday, January 6 at 7pm at the Orland Park Public Library, 14921 S Ravinia Avenue in Orland Park, where the phone number is 708-349-8138. This FREE celebration in words and music of sand, surf and balmy breezes is open to all with Ensemble members presenting work by Mary Oliver, Charles McGrath, Billy Collins and other notable poets. Musical interludes will include audience participation songs of palm trees and beaches.

Poetry Billboard

If you are in the neighborhood of Chicago and Wells, look up, because now through January 2005 you'll see a very large (in sheer size) poem meant to celebrate this holiday season. The billboard is sponsored by The Poetry Center and Lightology. The billboard features the poem "Farewell," which was written by Li-Young Lee specifically for the occasion. The poem reads: "Be light. At the crest / of every moment emerging, / breath." The Poetry Center and Lightology sought to use the billboard to print interesting, thoughtful and artistic text--a non-commercial message Chicagoans could look forward to seeing throughout the holiday season. Last December, the billboard featured lines from a poem by U.S. Poet Laureate Mark Strand.

The Man Who Came To Dinner

Jeff Helgeson, author of the book "Thresholds" and long time supporter of the poetry scene, is directing a production of "The Man Who Came to Dinner," at The North Lakeshore Cultural Center, 6219 North Sheridan Road, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through January 15th. 8 PM Fri & Sat, 2PM Sun. Friday December 10th will be Puddin'head night and we will have an open mike performance with an old time radio theme after the play. Tickets are $12.00. The play starts at 8PM. For more info visit Puddin'head Press.

Two New Venues

SPIRIT QUEST, Open Microphone Coffee House, For Poets and Musicians, Every First and Third Friday, St. Joseph and St. Aidan’s Church, Episcopal/ Anglican, Greenwood at Oak Street, Blue Island Illinois, Suggested Topics for Poets: December 17 Let's Celebrate! -- January 7 New Year's Hangover and Hopes -- January 21 Working for Peace Today -- Musicians and bands are welcome to request performance times
Spirit Quest. Be creative… Have Fun… Tell your story and speak your mind, For information, call Rod Reinhart at 708-528-9862 or 708-389-0733 or contact Spirit Quest is co-sponsored by St. Joseph/St.Aidan's Episcopal Church, the Blue Oasis Coffee House, the Blue Island Public Library, The Blue Island Sr. Citizens Group, CASA, St. Clement's Episcopal Church in Harvey, and the Blue Island Area Ministerial Association.


Impact Night-Come check out the spot on Tuesday night at the Big Horse. erformances by various Chicago land poets. Everyone is welcome, that is 21 and over of coarse. Bring yourself, friends and everyone. If you got something to read come and spit your knowledge on the mic. Doors open at 10 PM and we start soon after that. Location - 1558 N. Milwaukee, Age - 21 and Over venue, Price - $4 dollars at the door. $3 dollars with flyer, FOR MORE INFO OR TO READ CALL- 312-525-0917 OR 847-915-2133, or check out

Poet Laureate Page

CLICK HERE for Kevin Stein's Page.

Calvin Forbes To Appear In Oak Park

Join us at the next 3rd Saturday Coffeehouse Open Mic Night on Saturday, December 18th, with featured artist Calvin Forbes---a poet, professor of jazz history, and chair of the School of the Art Institute's Writing Program. His books of poetry include The Shine Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2001), From the Book of Shine (1979), and Blue Monday (1974). "The ghostly rhythms of the blues...haunt Calvin Forbes's delicately constructed poems," said the African American Review. "The mostly third-person Shine with a traditional African American folk character who is the very embodiment of the Blues as well as the title-character of a famous jazz tune." Forbes' honors and awards include fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference.

3rd Saturday Coffeehouse is hosted by poet Charlie Rossiter. Join us at Unity Temple's Gale House, 124 N. Kenilworth, Oak Park, on the third Saturday of each month. 7:30 pm sign up, 8 pm Open Mic, and 9 pm featured performer. Open Mic is limited to 5 minutes, regardless of genre. We are acoustic--no plug-ins, no equipment provided. $3-$5 donation at the door. Wheelchair accessible. Call 660-9376 or email for more information

Cindy Salach to Serve Poetry on China

In Winter Term, the Creative Writing Program at University of Chicago is offering this Performance Poetry course. PERFORMANCE POETRY, ENGL 12406/32406, MAPH 32905, ISHU 22908, Instructor: cin Salach, TU/TH 10:30-11:50am

The description of the course is as follows: A good performance poem starts with a great written poem. Most of the time. First we'll write them, then we'll sing them. Dance them. Draw them. Serve them up on good china. Bring them home to meet our mothers. There are as many ways to perform a poem as there are to write one. Come discover/develop/reveal your style, on the page and on the stage in a safe, inspiring, encouraging environment. Say your truth out loud. Split the world open. Some of what to expect: In-class writing assignments, out-of class field trips, performance of your own and other poet's work, theater exercises, collaborative exploration, critiquing of performance poetry videos and recordings, and discussion of written and performed student work. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

To Apply: In addition to 3-5 poems, submit a one-page statement about why you are interested in performance poetry as well as any previous performance experience. Email materials to by 12/1/ 04.

Win $1000

Outrider Press in affiliation with TallGrass Writers Guild is sponsoring the 10th anniversary anthology in the acclaimed "Black-and-White" series, offering $1000 in cash awards; seeks poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction on the theme: FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN -- LOVE THE SECOND TIME AROUND. Need not be limited to romantic love.

Judges: Pulitzer Prize nominee Lee Martin (Prose) and former Chicagoan Tim W. Brown (Poetry). Deadline for entries is February 28, 2005. Complete guidelines with entry form are found below or are available by downloading from or by emailing a request for guidelines to


On Tuesday, December 28 at 7:30 pm, The TallGrass Writers Guild Authors Series welcomes Janet Desaulniers, Chicagoland author of the October 2004 short story collection, What You've Been Missing, winner of the 2004 John Simmons Award from the University of Iowa, "among the most prestigious literary prizes America offers" according to the New York Times. Portions of this work focusing on love appeared in The New Yorker; the stories won her numerous fellowships and prizes including awards from Glimmer Train and Ploughshares magazines, and inclusion in the Pushcart Prize anthology.

Desaulniers will read portions from this prize-winning collection and discuss the process of its creation and publication, as well as distribute/discuss handouts that are useful to writers of all levels. The event is upstairs at The Red Lion, 2446 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago (773-348-2695). Ms. Desaulniers will be available to sign copies of her book.

Immediately following her reading is the regularly scheduled TallGrass Open Mic, where everyone is welcome to perform up to 10 minutes of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, music and comedy. Cover charge for this Authors Series Appearance, which includes the reading and talk by Janet Desaulniers, all handouts, plus the Open Mic, is $6 reduced to $5 for students with a school ID.

U.S. Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser, Featured on

While in Chicago for the 2005 Poetry Day reading sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, publishers of Poetry magazine, Ted Kooser sat down with Charlie for an interview/reading. For nearly an hour they talked poetry and Mr. Kooser read a selection of poems from his long poetry career. Mr. Kooser also took the opportunity to announce "American Life in Poetry," a new poetry project co-sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and the Library of Congress. To hear it all in streaming audio, just go to and click on the feature. To hear past features such as James Laughlin, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, David Hernandez and more, go to the poetrypoetry Vault.

2005 Juried Reading

Click Here to enter the 2005 Juried Reading sponsored by The Poetry Center of Chicago.

Twighlight Tales 11th Anniversary

If you haven't already heard, Twilight Tales will be celebrating the fact that we've been going strong for 11 years on Monday, November 15th. The party starts around 7:30 PM and ends...well, who knows? There is no admission to this event. There will be drinks, music, cake, and more. There may be a little nostalgia wafting around, too, but don't worry -- that comes out with a little scrubbing. And if you can't make the party, stop by one of the other great shows later this month and through December, including the following: NOVEMBER 29th: Masque of the Small Town Oddball. A new chapbook featuring Martin Mundt, Paul Dailing, David Coxhead, and John Weagly. DECEMBER 6th: December Open Mic All genres welcome! Sign up at the door! 20 minutes for fiction. 10 minutes for poetry. Time limits are strictly enforced. DECEMBER 13th: Charlie Brown "Wicked Insight" Talented young author, Charlie, reveals a dark past & Jay Bonansinga "The Sinking of the Eastland" Jay reads from his new non-fiction work about America's forgotten tragedy that occured right here in our own beloved Chicago

For more details, see our web site at or write

On Thursday, December 9 at 7 pm, the TallGrass Writers Guild Performance Ensemble will present TO LIGHT A CANDLE, a program of readings and music celebrating the holiday season. A presentation of stories, poems and music on Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanzaa, the hour-long show is FREE to all at the Beverly Branch Chicago Public Library, 2121 West 95th Street, Chicago. The telephone number there is 312-747-9673. Performance Ensemble members Michelle Jacobsen, Vince Manno, Leana Page and Whitney Scott will present seasonal work by Louisa May Alcott, John Updike, e.e. cummings, Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg and other literary notables as well as folk tales from East Africa and Russia and music including The Dreidel Song and the (in)famous Lutefisk Song commemorating a Scandinavian holiday delicacy thought by some to be an acquired taste.

TO LIGHT A CANDLE will be repeated on Saturday, December 11 at 11 am, at the Near North Branch Chicago Public Library, 310 West Division, Chicago. The telephone number there is 312-744-0991.

Poetry on the Radio

Mz. Linda's Late Night Cafe is a poetry based radio show, it can be heard nightly at at 11:00 p.m. till 12:00. They need the support of the community. Raybon Myers & Nina Alexander of WORKS OF ART are both going to be on the show this month. If you're interested in going on the internet radio, contact

Also, November's Poet of the Month, J. J. Tindall, will be reading on WNUR's "The Lit Show" on Sunday, Nov. 7 at 3:30 p.m.:

Majestic Midway

Majestic Midway is a small nonprofit theater located in the Clearing neighborhood on the Southwest side of town (read: Midway Airport). They will be having open mic poetry slams and are inviting all poets to participate. Yours truly has been asked to be the hostess of this insanity :: So here are the dates: Nov. 23rd @ 7:30, Dec. 21st @ 7:30, Jan 25th @ 7:30, Feb. 9th @ 7:30(Weds), March 1st @ 7:30. Please contact Jenniffer Thusing at for any more information. Jennifer is very cool and laid back and I think everyone would have a good time, and I will do my best to be the best hostess I can. Jennifer found out I do poetry and the rest is history. The theater also puts on plays, and early next year will be producing my husband Robert’s play!!

--Kwame Pitts

P.S. The website is

Full Circle

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2nd Annual Full Circle: A Festival of Danztheatre, February 25th-27th. Be apart of the City of Chicago's Winter Delights by participating in Full Circle: A Festival of Danztheatre! We are looking for performance pieces with spoken word, plays with dancing, physical theatre pieces, performance artists, dance and clowning pieces. If you move and act at the same time, WE WANT YOU! Submissions are due: December 1st. Pieces must be about 10 minutes in length. All Artists will be paid. For more information contact Full Circle's mission is to create a platform for danztheatre artists to explore, refine, and present their work, and to create a venue where artists and community groups collaborate to develop new work in danztheatre. Producers: Project Danztheatre Company, a non-profit company founded in 2001, is a group of multi-disciplinary artists who collaboratively explore creative ways of adapting literature to the stage through various artistic media. By applying visual art, text, dance, music and movement to each project, the Company pushes artistic boundaries to create truly innovative pieces. PDC contains two programs: the Adler Danztheatre Project and the Kids Project. aurorARTS alliance is a multi-arts organization in Logan Square that fosters artistic alliances that build and strengthen the spirit of both the individual and the community. Winifred Haun & Dancers is continuing its mission to support new and emerging artist and provides marketing and technical support to the dance community. Full Circle: A Festival of Danztheatre is sponsored by the Chicago Office of Tourism and presented as part of Chicago Winter Delights, the citywide initiative that features eight weekend celebrations, January 6-February 27, 2005. For more information, please call toll-free 1.877CHICAGO (1.877.244.2246) or visit The Festival is also sponsored by CityArts I grant, from the City of Chicago and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Glabman, Pilsen Art and Poetry

Attention all chicago culture lovers. here is an open invitation to see my work before i take off for europe and never look back. I am in the annual ART SYNTHESIS 04' This is my eighth year in this show that features local artists and brings the art world to the children of the community. The show is standard library hours at the Indepndence Branch 3548 W. Irving Park Road, Runs till December. Open Now. The second one is I will Be in the PILSEN STUDIO ART WALK October 30 and 31 from 11am to 7 pm, I will be at GRINGOLANDIA STUDIOS 2232 W. 21st street in Pilsen. BOTH SHOWS ARE FREE TO THE PUBLIC. Hope to see some of the poets out there and get inspired by the great art in the Pilsen Community. I am also featured in the documentary film VECINOS, by Mark Nelson, which is about the Pilsen Art Community. It is showing at underground theaters all over, like Polvo. PS Still have a few copies of my book BLACK OLIVES, it is only ten dollars with more than 30 pages, artwork and laminated cover and back. Get one before they are gone. Only 100 made. contact me at

--Steve Glabman

Always A Chicago Poet

Saloon poet Larry Winfield has just released "Monkey King", a "quick and dirty CD chapbook of political and other poems and avant noise, recorded in Skid Row L. A. with the election just around the corner." Now on sale through $10. MP3 album available online, CD's sold locally or shipped.

Chicago saloon poet Larry Winfield began writing in the early 80s and attended his first reading at Weeds in 1990. Over the next twelve years he hosted open mics at The Gallery Cabaret, The Underground Wonder Bar and Yo Ma's, performed at many local poetry venues and festivals, organized the protest poetry reading at the ' 96 Democratic Convention, for two years hosted a weekly poetry and jazz show on pirate station Guerilla Love Radio as DJ Merlot, published the poetry books Rosedust, Erzulie and Wicker Park Sonata and the online/print zines Liquid Glyph and City Table Review, produced short films, and performed in Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, NY, LA and SF, and with ensemble groups Brothers in Verse and the many versions of his poetry band Brass Orchid. He currently lives in L A and is writing his first novel.

News From Free Lunch

Bit of news: four of my poems have been set to music by composer Mike Adamzyk and will be performed at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Sat. 10/9 at 8 PM and Sunday 10/11 at 3 pm. Admission is $8.

On Jan 16, 2005 , 2-4 pm, Free Lunch will feature Chicago poet, Mark Perlberg, in a reading at Wilmette Public Library, 1242 Wilmette Ave., Phone: 847-256-5025. Five audience readers who sign up before the reading will read a favorite poem from American or World literature (not their own poem). The best reader will receive a gift certificate of $25 from Alibi Books of Glenview, IL. Reading is free and refreshments will be offered after the reading.

All best,

--Ron Offen

WORD/DANCE at the Chicago Cultural Center

Word/Dance is a performance event featuring the work of four poets (Jim Harrison, Shin Yu Pai, Dulce Maria Loynaz and John Koethe) and four choreographers (Jan Bartoszek, Mei-Kuang Chen, Maray Gutierrez and Deb Loewen). This event, a partnership between Hedwig Dances and The Poetry Center of Chicago, presents work that focuses on themes of custom and place through the fusion of word and movement. Each of the four works probes these themes from various perspectives. The evening includes a performance by Wild Space Dance Company, one of Wisconsin’s most creative performing groups. Wild Space Dance Company will perform “Art of the Ordinary,” a new work created by its artistic director Deb Loewen in collaboration with John Koethe, the Poet Laureate of Milwaukee. The dance is based on Koethe’s poem, “North Point North.” It investigates the forces that shape identity in contemporary midwestern culture by melding movement, visual art, spoken word and music. Hedwig Dances artistic director Jan Bartoszek will choreograph a dance inspired by Jim Harrison’s poem “Moving.” Harrison’s work is anchored in rural northern Michigan where he has lived and worked. Bartoszek spent her youth in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the performance work echoes memories of northern life. Shin Yu Pai’s poem “Recipe for Paper” is the springboard for a dance by Hedwig artistic associate Mei-Kuang Chen. Pai and Chen are collaborating on the performance, a reflection on the ancient Chinese invention of papermaking and its implications in contemporary life. Maray Gutierrez will render a new work based on Cuban poet Dulce Maria Loynaz’s work, “Cheche.” It is a poem of admiration for a florist and her commitment to her métier. Hedwig Dances is the dance company in residence at the Chicago Cultural Center. Under the artistic direction of award-winning choreographer Jan Bartoszek, Hedwig Dances performs at local and national venues.

Click Here for dates and times.

South Side Slam

Thursdays, 7 pm - Southside Slam. Open Mics at N'diga Coffee & Books, 3510 W. 63rd Street. List opens at 6 pm, performances begin at 7 pm. Bring a gently used book and get in free ($2 otherwise, performers free, no cookbooks please). Non-smoking, children friendly environment. Info: 773.925.2517

Everyone, LVNG 11 is now available for download in a PDF format on the Flood Editions website. Go to:

People of Color Conference

CALL FOR: Chicago-area POETS and SPOKEN WORD ARTISTS who would like to be part of a People of Color Conference at the University of Chicago. We are looking for 3 to 4 poets on the night of October 1 who could present work dealing with such issues as race, identity and diversity etc. Financial compensation is available. For more information, contact: Stephanie Huh at


Dear All,

The new issue of MiPoesias "Literary Review" is now on-line. It features some heavies like Timothy Liu, David Trinidad, and an interview with the new US Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser, as well as some lightweights like me. It can be accessed at . Didi Menendez continues to reinvent the on-line literary journal. Enjoy.

--Terry Lucas

Quimby's Thirteenth Year Exhibition, September 25

This September 2004 Quimby's Bookstore celebrates thirteen years in the world of independent publishing, with an exhibit opening at the Old Town School of Folk Music that features zines, dusty ephemera, and incriminating evidence from over the years. This exhibit will display handmade zines, books, and cartoons by regional and international artists and writers. Quimby's is one of Chicago's pioneer supporters of urban folk & other self-trained visual and text artists. The opening celebration is free and will include finger food, beer, and dancing to the entire length of DJ Dangermouse's "THE GREY ALBUM" and select songs by the eclectic band known as THE BOOKS. Music and dancing starts at 5pm and will run straight through until 7pm. The Old Town School of Folk Music is at 4544 N. Lincoln Avenue.

Some Fun From Puddin'head

Click here for Dave Gecic's poetry fest pics.

Chicago Shakes

This just in from Word of Mouth Reviews--Do not miss The Merry Wives of Windsor at Shakespeare Rep on Navy Pier (312.559.5600 Barbara Gaines makes you see the poetic text, and it turns out (Surprise!) this is one of the great Shakespeare comedies, over-the-top-falling-down-rolling-in-the-aisles-true-romance-gone-wacky funny; she was in the preview audience and told us that it was sinful how much fun they had with it.

--Tom Roby

Export: Writing the Midwest

dear midwestern friends...colleagues...currently i am putting together an e-anthology for january issue of michael rothenberg's fine literary journal Big Bridge, the e-anthology "Export: Writing the Midwest" aims to highlight the work of writers either currently living in or who have a very relevant and personal relation with the midwest...i am looking for submissions of -poetry -fiction -essays other words...whatever quality material you should decide to send...GUIDELINES: Poetry...Submit no more than 4 poems at a time in either .doc, .txt, or in the body of an email...Fiction/Non-Fiction...Should not exceed 4 pages preferably sent as a .doc file...Contact: Andrew Lundwallat Deadline: December 1st, Subject line of emailed submission should read: "Big Bridge Submission/'Export: Writing the Midwest'"...Please include with submissions a short descriptive biographical note and an author's photo if you've one to share...thanks ever so much...all best wishes...

--andrew lundwall

Poetry Editor Wanted For "Get Underground"

Get Underground is a non-commercial, consistently kick-ass, underground culture and arts website. Our staff is composed of volunteers who do it for the sake of personal fulfillment, a notch on their resume and to be a part of something cool, creative and real. Poetry Editor Responsibilities: Reviewing and responding to poetry submissions to Get Underground. Selecting kick-ass underground poetry for our poetry section (10-15 every 2 weeks) Monitoring our poetry forum (which runs itself) Qualifications: Familiarity with the wide-rangin' world of underground-poetry and Spoken Word, Excellent taste ;), Energetic, dependable, available, and able to work towards deadlines. Good communicator with editorial skills. Creativity and vision are absolutely essential To apply, or for more information, email: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your qualifications, and why you want to join the underground team.

Joe Roarty Mourns Loss of Brother

Mr. Editor,

Hello. I'm writing on behalf of my brother Joe to pass along to Joe's friends that our brother, Danny, was killed in a tragic accident on 8 August. I'm sending this as I know Joe would never notify other's with his grief. He is just that way!

More information can be found at the below site...and click Roarty funeral notice.

The remaining four brother's and sister stayed with Kelly, Danny's wife, in Hershey, Pennsylvania for a week after the accident as the children recuperated at the Hershey Medical Center. We were all returning from a family wedding in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Kelly asked Joe at the end of the week if he could come to her home in Newark, Delaware and help with the children. Joe's soft nature and the children's love of their Uncle Joe was a blessing from God. If you review the web diary, you can see the children love having Uncle Joe there to assist them as they recover from their injuries.

One of the funny stories during this tragedy was when Danny's oldest son, Joshua, under heavy medication because of his injuries said, "Nobody loves me but Uncle Joe." Joe, of course, replied with his funny frown.

If friend's would like to call or write Joe he can be reached at the following address:

Joe Roarty
319 Palomino Road
Newark, Delaware 19711

Thank you,
Jimmy Roarty

Maureen Flannery Forges Ahead with Poetry Theater and a New Book

This is a good fall for poetry in the Flannery household. Dan Flannery has selected from his wife’s poems, adapted them for the stage, and is directing the musical production named The Fine Line: a Woman Versifies Her Life. Its all about the interaction of family life and one’s particular art form. Michael Smith, acclaimed folk singer, and Robert Bowker, artistic director of the Lakeside Singers, have set her poems to original music. Toby Nicholson is choreographing the dance numbers. It will be performed at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon headquarters, 1856 Sheridan Road in Evanston as part of Evanston Arts Week. Monday, Oct 4th, Tuesday, Oct 5th, Thursday, Oct 7th, Friday, Oct 8th, all at 8 PM. Open Admission, No Tickets, Donations Appreciated (Dan must make performance space rent), Parking available in the SAE lot and on the street

Also. Ancestors in the Landscape: Poems of a Rancher’s Daughter, A New book by Maureen Tolman Flannery, Readings and Events: Friday, Sept 3rd, 7:00 PM, The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, 811 Elm St, Winnetka, Poetry Reading—Maureen Flannery, David Lieberman, Anne Reiner; Sunday, Sept 5th from 8:00-9:30 PM, Catch WZRD, FM 88.3, Charlie Newman’s radio show. He will interview poets Maureen Flannery and Charles Rossiter. Charlie is the host of the audio website Poetry; Wednesday, Sept 8th at 7:30 PM, Book release signing and reading, Barnes and Noble, Old Orchard; Tuesday, Oct. 12th for 8:00 to 10:00 PM, Open mike followed by Maureen as feature poet, The Café, 5115 North Lincoln (just south of Foster on Lincoln)

Lance's Advances

I will be performing Butoh (a form of Japanese dance/theatre) at The Abbie Hoffman Theatre Festival at Strawdog Theatre this weekend on Friday August 20th at 10PM in Hugan hall at Strawdog and on Saturday August 21st at 9:55PM
on the Main Stage.

--Lance Adams

New Poet Laureate

Friends, It was announced today that Ted Kooser of Nebraska is the new poet laureate for the United States. Born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939, Kooser is a retired insurance executive whose poetry has been widely published.

--Larry Janowski

Cable TV Goes Poetry

Arthur Holland's Works of Art Show will air Sunday, August 8 at 5 p.m., channel 21 and Friday, August 13 at 10 p.m, channel 21 (the guests are a highly controversial interview with Chicago Poetry Fest founder C.J. Laity, as well as poetry by Emilio and Seth). Also, on Sunday, August 22, at 5:30 p.m., channel 21 and Friday, August 27, at 10 p.m., channel 21 the show (Family of Poetry) will air (the guests are Brother Blanks and Latiya and Jim.

Works of Art, a great poetry CAN TV show, is looking for poets with the blues, or at least poets with blues style poetry; they need about five poets for the next WOA shooting in August. If you write blues style poetry, you can send a small sample or request info to This is a very professional television program looking for quality poetry.

Poetry Center Is Booking It

The Poetry Center has published the third volume of the Hands on Stanzas Anthology of Poetry, a 650-page collection of poems written by more than 1,700 public school students who participated in The Poetry Center's Hands on Stanzas poets-in-residence program. The poems provide a glimpse into the lives and creative abilities of inner-city youth between the ages of seven and seventeen. In the poem "When I Take My Pencil," R. Ramos writes, "words go out like a tornado...straight in a line, a line like/ soldiers in the army. It moves / and it stretches." In "Sun," A. Reyes writes, "Such a bright and strange thing. / Is it that all the people with yellow teeth / stand together with a flashlight and create sun? / Or maybe they throw bananas at the sky?" Poems from prior volumes of the Hands on Stanzas Anthology have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Defender, Teachers and Writers and other publications. During the 2003-2004 academic year, The Poetry Center of Chicago placed 19 Chicago poets-in-residence at public schools throughout the city, where they taught the reading, writing, discussion and presentation of poetry. Last year's 34 long-term residencies served more than 15,000 students.


The Poetry Center recognizes outstanding work by poets-in- residence with the Hands on Stanzas Gwendolyn Brooks Award. Underwritten by The Chicago Literary Club and conferred with the blessing of the Gwendolyn Brooks Estate, the award gives cash prizes to poets-in-residence whose extra efforts benefited their students, schools and communities. This year's winners are Larry O. Dean and Pam Osbey. Dean, poet-in-residence at Shields Elementary, is a musician and award- winning author of six poetry collections. Osbey, poet-in- residence at South Shore High School, has published two books and is a spoken word artist who regularly performs at Chicago venues.


Founded in 1974, the award-winning Poetry Center of Chicago is an independent not-for-profit arts
organization that supports poetry and poets through readings, the Hands on Stanzas poets-in- the-schools program, and a Broadside Series. The Chicago Literary Club, sponsor of the Hands on Stanzas Gwendolyn Brooks Award, is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1874 and dedicated to all things literary.

New Venue

Chase Cafe, 7301 N. Sheridan, open mic Mondays, 8 - 10 PM, no cover.

Poetry Center Summer Residencies

The Poetry Center of Chicago has selected recipients of two month-long summer residencies. Poets Misty Harper and Katrina Vendenberg were selected from a national pool of applicants who have published no more than one book of poetry. Each poet will receive housing in downtown Chicago, a $1,000 stipend, a spot in the the Fall 2004 Reading Series, and publication in the Broadside Series. Residencies are intended to assist poets at an emerging stage of their careers. The Poetry Center will be accepting applications for next summer in early 2005. Misty Harper received a B.S. from Georgia Institute of Technology. She currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where she is pursuing an MFA at Indiana University's Creative Writing Program. She won Willow Springs' 2003 Vachel Lindsay Poetry Award, the National Society of Arts and Letters' 2003 Estell Carter 2nd Place Award, and Swink's Emerging Writer in Poetry Award. Her poems have been published in Hotel Amerika, Swink and Willow Springs. Katrina Vandenberg's first book of poems, Atlas, will be published by Milkweed Editions in the fall of 2004. She has an MFA from the University of Arkansas, and her poems have appeared in The American Scholar, Iowa Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and other magazines. She is a former Fulbright fellow in creative writing, a hemophilia-AIDS activist and the current visiting writer at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Cash Money For Good Poetry

Wearing my non-profit organizational hat as president of Poets & Patrons, which has been around since 1954, I wanted to remind your readers that our Chicagoland Poetry Contest is in full swing now, and people can submit poems for cash prizes any time up until August 18th. The contest is now in its 48th year--and details are available at our website People can enter up to eight poems for a grand total of only $5--which is a pretty good deal any way you slice it. Judges are chosen from across the country.

All Best,
--Jared Smith

The Title Goes To . . .

Congratulations go out to Senam Amegashie for winning the 11th Annual Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic. Award sponsored by The Guild Complex. She received $500 and the great love of a great audience.

Jacinda from Kuumba Linx (you can check her out in the upcoming Chicago Poetry Fest) came in a close second and Lucia Blinn came in a close third. There were twenty-five poets competing for the prize, but all the poets came out winners. The evening was one of high emotions, as each poet gave it their 100%. From Wayne Allen Jones bursting out in tears during his poem, to Charles Bernstein cracking up the audience with his "deer voice," the evening was one mixed with poetry from all sorts of voices. Toni Lightfoot gave one of the best peformances of the night, in my opinion, but the audience was held to the task of picking one poem to receive the honor, and Gwendolyn Brooks would be proud of their choice. Senam performed that same poem last year at a show, and I knew then it was a winner. Tara Betts did a wonderful job holding the night together, keeping the audience there, and keeping the energy flowing from beginning (7:30) to end (11:00). But even with all that great poetry flowing, I'd have to say that the highlight of the night for me was when Nora Brooks Blakley got up and read some of her mother's poetry.


PoetryPoetry Selects New Feature

Hello Friends,

I want to let you know about a really cool website that just happens to be featuring yours truly with audio of a poetry reading I gave "recently" here in Chicago. Just this past weekend, the folks at told me that I am now their main feature. If you go to the website, you'll see my name, and if you click on it, you'll find a bio, some background, and audio links to the reading which I gave at Molly Malone's in Forest Park, Illinois, about a year ago. You can stream (listen to the sound directly) the whole reading or individual poems from the website, or you can download and save it to your computer and listen to it whenever you choose. The whole reading is about 35 minutes, I believe, and listening to it reminded me what a great evening that was. I hope you think so too. Let me know.

I want to thank host and producer Charlie Rossiter and Webmeister Bill Dupree for the high quality of the look and sound of this feature and the entire website, and I hope you enjoy listening.


--Larry Janowski

just a thanks for putting together the printer's row event. i had a great time . you do a good job and i appreciate the opportunity. you'll see more of me. my current work schedule does not permit much downtown time, but that will soon change. if you are ever in the 'burbs, feel free to come and read with us at the barnes in schaumburg ( 1st sat of every month, 590 e golf road, 7:30 pm) or the caribou coffee (2nd fri of every month, 1649 algonquin rd., rolling meadows) at 7:30 pm.

--ed "many layers" layer

What's New With J. J. Tindall?

I am working to promote my new, full-length CD of poems set to music by Rex Tangle, called "A Foggy Oasis," which has already received airplay in Europe (audio links at my home page) and which can be ordered now via e-mail (also at my home page). Some of these poems have also been accepted by Jim Coppoc for his upcoming anthology Tens, and a video I produced with local director B.K. Read for my track "Art Film," from the CD "Men In Love" (also included on the recent Netherlands broadcast) is scheduled for airplay on Chicago Cable Access (CAN-TV) this July. I will be performing selections from my new CD and others July 4th at the Phyllis' Musical Inn Extravaganza (unfortunately I will be in L.A. working during your Lincoln Square festival). Thanks and peace, JJ



Blithe House Quarterly (, an online journal of queer short fiction, celebrates its Summer 2004 all-Chicago issue with a reading by four local writers: DAVE AWL, KURT HEINTZ, KAREN LEE OSBORNE, K. R. RANDEN hosted by BHQ founder/publisher ALDO ALVAREZ, Friday, June 18, 7:00 p.m., Quimby's Bookstore, 1854 W. North Ave., All ages, Free admission

Northwestern University's master of arts in creative writing (MCW) evening degree program is adding a poetry concentration this fall. Currently, students can study fiction and creative nonfiction in this 10-course MA that offers professional development of the craft of creative writing through a workshop-based curriculum flexibly scheduled on the Evanston and Chicago campuses.

In it's first year, the poetry concentration will feature workshops led by Michael Anania, Mary Kinzie, and Reg Gibbons (winner of this year's Hardison Poetry Prize).

Admission is on a rolling basis; students can start in any term. Nondegree options are also available for students who only want to take select courses.

More information about the MCW program is available at:

--Cary Nathenson, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Academic Programs
School of Continuing Studies
Northwestern University

Regarding Frieda Stein Fenster, of's Memorial Award

I received the following letter by U.S. mail, not return address, postmarked San Francisco.

"I would like to correct your information about Frieda Stein Fenster. First of all Frieda has many family memers who remember her. Second, if you read her obituary in the Chicago Tribune on Tues. Dec. 20, 1983, she was strangled not shot as your web site mentions. She was found in the back of the store not working the counter of the store, when she died. Max Stein (Frieda's father) bought the store from his father in 1889. Also Frieda was only 77 years old when she died.

Please get your fracts straight about Frieda.

Thank you
A Family Member

glad to see some good coming out of this tragedy.


Dear Family Member,

Thank you so much for writing. I am positive that the television reports from ABC Channel 7 at the time claimed Frieda was shot. But I am assuming you know the truth in this matter. If you ever feel comfortable enough to give me a return address, I have some old photos of Frieda I would like to pass on to you. I have been holding them for twenty years now, and I feel they may have been waiting for you.


--C. J. Laity

Wicked Alice

Wicked Alice, an online poetry journal, is seeking submissions from Chicago area
women poets for its special summer issue. Check us out at Deadline: June 15th. E-mail:

Outrider Press Awards Announced: Things That Go Bump In The Night

Judges Richard Chwedyk (prose) and Pam Miller (poetry) have determined the following

Winner in Prose $500 - Dennis Weiser for Tzytzyan...
2nd Place Prose - Rose Vanden Eynden for Blue Lady
3rd Place Prose - Morgan Howell - Moonwalking
Honorable Mention - Irv Gorman - Protagonist
Honorable Mention - Newton Berry - How We Ate Old Tom...

Winner in Poetry $500 - Barbara Crooker - October Strikes
2nd Place - Kristy Bowen - Sometimes, Mary
3rd Place - Louis Bourgeois - Leaving
Honorable Mention - Tony White - Once a Boy
Honorable Mention - Danny Stetzel - Me Bedroom

Congratulations to all of you! Each winning author will receive a certificate. Please let us know ASAP if you will be able to attend the Printers Row Book Fair and the Kickoff Reading. Each poet listed above can read the piece indicated. Due to unprecedented time constraints, no other pieces.

With prose: the authors listed above will be given 3 minutes to read an excerpt (page-turner/cliffhanger recommended) from each published piece, with the exception of Mr. Weiser, who will have a 5-minute spot to read an excerpt -- again, due to time constraints over which we have no control.

The Poets’ Club of Chicago

is pleased to announce the annual


Open to all. Submit only one entry of either a Shakespearean or Petrarchan sonnet. The entry must be original and unpublished. Submit 2 copies, typed double-spaced, on standard 8½” X 11" paper with name and address on one copy in the upper right corner, but no ID on second copy.

First Prize $50.00. Second Prize $35.00. Third prize $15.00. Three Honorable Mentions Unranked

There is no fee. Winners will be notified by October 30, 2004. The poet keeps all rights. No entries will be returned. Enclose a SASE for the winner's list.

Mail entries, postmarked by
September 1, 2004 to:

Tom Roby, Apt. 2702
1212 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

Questions? Contact

Poetry Magazine Gives Poet $100,000

Click Here to find out who got $100,000.

Lawrence Tyler Passes Away

Lawrence Tyler at Coffee ChicagoChicago poet Lawrence Tyler has died. He has been undergoing chemotherapy for the last year and recently had a new outbreak of cancer. Visitation were Monday morning from 9AM to 10:30 AM at Williams Kampp Woodward Funeral Home 430 E Roosevelt Road - Wheaton IL. There was a mass at the funeral home at 10:30. He was buried at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside. The Puddin'head Press will hold a memorial later in the year.

--Dave Gecic

Poetry Flash From Poetry Center

The Poetry Center of Chicago will present the nationally celebrated talents of Miller Williams and his daughter Lucinda Williams on June 4. This will be the final performance in the Center's 2003-2004 Reading Series, which began in September with a poetry reading by Billy Corgan. Miller Williams is the author, editor, or translator of thirty books, including fourteen volumes of poetry. He was the 1997 inaugural poet for the second presidential inauguration of Bill Clinton and his awards include the Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship in Poetry from Harvard University. Lucinda Williams is a two-time Grammy award-winner who was named one of the top 100 women in rock by VH1 and voted "America's Best Songwriter" by TIME Magazine. Part country, folk, rock and blues, her evocative songs are acclaimed as brilliant, breakthrough musical narratives. It's been said that she is to music what Flannery O'Connor is to fiction. This will be the sixth collaborative concert for Miller Williams and Lucinda Williams where the poet and the songwriter will alternately recite and perform. "Featuring two pivotal American voices, this event emphasizes how poetry and songwriting can influence and illuminate one another," said Kenneth Clarke, Executive Director of The Poetry Center. General admission tickets are $35 and $20 for Poetry Center members. Tickets will be available in late April through TicketWeb. Visit for event details and information on membership. And, oh, by the way, the poets have been selected for the Juried Reading.

I saw Robert Creeley at the U of C. Was pretty amazing, as his work seems to improve with his age. Did phenomenal pieces from his new book and made veiled asides assailing the pretention of the very halls of erudition welcoming him ("I don't even know what these poems mean ... I just write them"). At times he seemed to ramble, but it was a good, grandfatherly kind of rambling. At the ensuing reception, I waited out several undergrads asking the man what the poems were about (see prior parenthetic aside) or plugging their own agendas just to say hello ("you dropping out of that Bowling Green writing program was probably a very smart move," he told me -- a long story involving Carl Thayler and trite institutional political correctness in the early '90s). Was like talking to Moses, only much more cool.

--Scott DeKatch

Chicagoans Protest

Click Here for images from the March 20 Chicago protest.

**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.

Note: An archive of letters from the Version Two site.

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