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Topic: Poetry Gossip: Click On Headlines
The new items published under this topic are as follows.


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spacer.gif   ChicagoPoetry.com Announces Largest Edition of Poetry Cram Ever
Posted by : cj on Monday, September 17, 2012 - 01:58 PM
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25161 Reads

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THE CRAM 14 POETS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN

CLICK HERE to order a copy of JOMP.

ChicagoPoetry.com is pleased to announce that 71 poems, written by 63 poets, from Chicago and 20 other Illinois cities, and from 13 states across the country, as well as from the UK, Romania and Ecuador, have been chosen as runners-up in the Poetry Cram 14: Journal of Modern Poetry (aka, JOMP) competition.

JOMP is a 100 page 6' x 9' perfect bound volume of poetry with a full color glossy cover that was released on October 24 at the huge Chicago Poetry party at the Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western Ave, from 7 to 10 PM. Over thirty poets featured in JOMP read for the event. The event was FREE and open to the public. For more information about the theater please click here.

All 300 copies of the first run of JOMP were given away free to the contributing poets as well as to audience members at the event, and now JOMP is available through an extended run for $12: CLICK HERE.

The winning poems have been selected as well: CLICK HERE.

Congratulations go out to the Poetry Cram 14 poets!
Note: Click Here to find out who made the cut!!

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spacer.gif   Was It Performance Art? Or Disturbing The Peace?
Posted by : cj on Thursday, September 29, 2011 - 02:45 PM
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6707 Reads

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On Tuesday, September 27, during a question and answer session following a reading by Chilean poet Raúl Zurita sponsored by the Poetry Foundation at their multi-million dollar River North home, a small group of poets called the Croaton Poetic Cell went into the poetry library and dropped two banners. One of the banners read “What Would Have Happened if Emily Dickinson Had Been Prescribed Prozac?” (referring to the money the Foundation inherited from the Lilly Corporation), and the other banner said “VIVA CADA” (referring to the Chilean Colectivo de Acción de Arte of which Zurita was a founder and leader during the 70s). Click Here for video.

The Poetry Foundation security (which some witnesses describe as wearing CIA outfits), promptly ripped the banners down. The poetry activists then entered the reading room and passed out leaflets explaining that their banners were an attempt to honor "Raúl Zurita and the heroic spirit of CADA". The leaflets protested the arrest of activist Stephanie Dunn, who was charged with "disturbing the peace" for what the Croaton describes as a peaceful protest action during the "Collections and Cocktails" library opening at the Foundation a few weeks before. "To our knowledge, this is the first time that a supposed institution of poetics has pressed charges against a poet for what is essentially a poetic act," the fliers said. The flier continued: "To us, it makes perfect sense that an institution funded by a 100 million dollar grant from Lilly Pharmaceuticals, manufacturers of Prozac, would find any behavior beyond polite docility objectionable enough to call the cops." The leaflet then demanded "the Poetry Foundation spend the remainder of its drug money on the creation of two new poetry centers in existent disused buildings: one on the south side and another on the west side, whose mission it would be to support poetry in impoverished communities by any means necessary." If this demand is not met, the leaflet threatened: "These disruptions will continue . . ." The Poetry Foundation secret service men "chased and cornered" the poets in an attempt to physically apprehend them to be arrested for "trespassing" by police who were on their way, but the poets managed to "make a break for it". Click Here for video.

Poet and former State of Illinois Teacher of the Year, Kent Johnson wrote on the site montevidayo.com: " . . . this multi-million dollar Poetry institution called the cops on the activists for doing nothing but hanging some banners and peacefully passing out the statement [about] the astonishing, outrageous issue . . . that a young poet and performance artist from Chicago, Stephanie Dunn, who carried out a guerilla-poet’s-theater type act . . . is now apparently subject to charges pressed by the Poetry Foundation." Johnson went on to call the Poetry Foundation a "Happy Big-Tent House" that calls "the cops on brash young poets who step beyond the bounds of High Society protocol . . ." "What does it say when this institution attempts to suppress such radical (and in the history of poetry, venerably practiced) spirit by calling on the POLICE to arrest poets and have charges brought against them . . . the Poetry Foundation has put the Po back into Poetry . . ." Johnson continued, "I suspect there will be more actions coming . . ."

However, a well known Irish singing poet who was at the event and witnessed her get arrested claims Dunn was "not arrested for an essentially poetic act but because she was drunk and started provoking the guards by taking off her clothes." Other witnesses reportedly describe her action as disrobing and groping "an unwilling person in a public space." So far my invitation to the Croaton to describe Dunn's actions and explain what they have to do with poetry have not been accepted. Instead, I've been told that I "can read a detailed description of the events leading up to her arrest in the forthcoming issue of Sous Les Pa" (whatever that is).

--CJ Laity
This is a breaking story and is being updated as more information comes to the surface. Check back for updates.

UPDATE 10/03/11: Rebecca Roberts writes at montevidayo.com: "I was at the event where Stephanie Dunn was arrested, and this is what I saw: After the readings were finished, she and another person were partially undressed and making sexual gestures. This went on for a few minutes, then the security guards asked them both to leave. As they were being escorted out the door, I saw Stephanie swing at the security guards. My understanding is that this violent gesture prompted the call to police."

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spacer.gif   EXCLUSIVE: INSIDE THE HOME FOR POETRY
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 06:46 PM
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10682 Reads


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The Poetry Foundation's new multi-million dollar Home For Poetry is set to open with an Open House Gala on the weekend of June 25, but will it be completed in time. At the time of this report, the building seems to be only about half finished. Here's the scoop!

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spacer.gif   Rambunctious Review "Water" Poetry Contest
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, February 09, 2011 - 10:13 AM
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7392 Reads


Note: Rambunctious Review Sponsors Poetry, Fiction, Art and Photography Contests On Theme Of Water. Click Here to learn more. Deadline March 15.

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spacer.gif   What I Hear About The Chicago Poetry Scene
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, October 06, 2010 - 01:44 PM
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5939 Reads



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spacer.gif   Autumn Chicago Poetry Gossip (Updated Sept. 13)
Posted by : cj on Thursday, September 09, 2010 - 12:51 PM
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6100 Reads



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spacer.gif   End Of Summer Poetry Gossip
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 01:42 PM
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6068 Reads



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spacer.gif   The One and Only Chicago Poetry Gossip Column
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 06:01 PM
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5530 Reads



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spacer.gif   Sergio Mayora "Moves On" From Weeds
Posted by : cj on Friday, May 21, 2010 - 01:55 PM
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8554 Reads

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It has been confirmed. The unimaginable has happened. After 23 years of co-hosting and bartending the Monday night poetry open mic, Sergio Mayora is no longer at Weeds.

Cabini Green may be getting razed and the nightclubs may be moving in, but for the last two decades the inside of Weeds Tavern at 1555 N. Dayton, near North and Halsted, has remained like a time capsule. My first experience at Weeds was when I stumbled into the dive, perhaps in 1989, to use the bathroom. I was freaked out by Gregorio Gomez, dressed up like the Pope, performing his poem "The City" on stage, so I stuck around for a few beers to hear Sergio Mayora, the bartender, recite the two poems he wrote in his life: "My People" and "Shivering Through". Some twenty years later, I walked into the bar again for the hundredth time, and Gregorio was still there reciting his parody of The Lord's Prayer, amongst the bras hanging from the ceiling and the tequila being splashed into shot glasses; by then, everyone knew Sergio's two poems by heart. But over the last few years the seedy decor began to vanish and it seemed the "yuppie beer garden" was no longer a joke.

Now I've learned that Sergio Mayora, who once ran for Mayor of Chicago, has had some type of falling out with his relative who owns the bar and that he has "moved on." Sergio "moving on" from Weeds is like Marc Smith moving on from the Slam. It's unthinkable. The question now stands, is Weeds still Weeds without Sergio Mayora? You can find out on Monday, May 31, when Gregorio will host the 11th Off The Wall Poetry Contest, or any Monday night for that matter, as the open mic continues--without Sergio Mayora.

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spacer.gif   Is A New Era Dawning For Poetry Center Of Chicago?
Posted by : cj on Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 04:23 PM
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5749 Reads

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It seems The Poetry Center of Chicago has very quietly parted ways with their Executive Director, Francesco Levato, and Mr. Levato is shrouding himself in just as much secrecy over his departure as he did over his activities when he held his job. On the Poetry Center "Staff & Board" Page on their website, Johnpaul Higgins is now listed as "Managing Director". "Formerly the Program Facilitator and Development Director for the Poetry Center, [Johnpaul Higgins] has a thorough, working knowledge of the organization and a firm grounding in non-profit fundraising and management," the Poetry Center says of their new Managing Director. There is no mention of Mr. Levato, nor of the position of "Executive Director" for that matter. I did a Google "cache search" and found that this information has been posted as far back as May 10.

When did this major change so silently take place? I have my ear practically glued to the Chicago Poetry Scene's train track, yet this news comes as a surprise to me. I'm a bit baffled, but no more baffled than I've been by anything else related to Levato that has happened with the Poetry Center in the last two and a half years. I did quite a bit of searching around in an attempt to discover if any official announcement regarding this change in leadership was ever made, but I came up empty handed. I am on the Poetry Center's email list, but I saw nothing there either. I then took a look at Francesco Levato's personal website, hoping to find a clue, and I noticed that all mention of his position as Executive Director of The Poetry Center of Chicago had vanished. He wasn't even mentioning that he is the "former" Executive Director. It's as if his time at the Poetry Center didn't even exist.

Despite this Twilight Zone-ish introduction, I am going to be optimistic about this news. I view this as a positive move on the Poetry Center's part. Quite frankly, Mr. Levato had a rare opportunity and he blew it. He was in the position to do some great things with his leadership role, but instead he made it all about himself. I have been very outspoken regarding my views about what Levato was up to, and if my frankness helped this changing of the guard to happen, then I am relieved that it helped. However, the time for criticism seems to be coming to an end. Perhaps now is a good time to show the Poetry Center's new leadership some support. Perhaps it is not too late to fix the Poetry Center of Chicago and bring it back to the state of integrity it enjoyed for over thirty years.

--CJ Laity

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spacer.gif   Cool Chicago Poetry News
Posted by : cj on Sunday, May 02, 2010 - 01:00 PM
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5117 Reads



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spacer.gif   Chicago Poetry Gossip April 13
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - 05:19 PM
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6908 Reads


Note: Here is some extra poetry gossip for the month of April

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spacer.gif   March Poetry Madness, Chicago Style
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, March 02, 2010 - 04:00 PM
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5894 Reads



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spacer.gif   Shappy Seasholtz To Tour Chicago
Posted by : cj on Monday, February 15, 2010 - 05:42 PM
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5275 Reads



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spacer.gif   Chicago Poetry Performances, Events and Readings
Posted by : cj on Saturday, February 13, 2010 - 04:25 PM
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5453 Reads



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spacer.gif   What Chicago Poets Want To Know
Posted by : cj on Monday, January 25, 2010 - 02:25 PM
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5908 Reads



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spacer.gif   NEW YEAR CHICAGO POETRY GOSSIP
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, January 05, 2010 - 01:00 PM
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5494 Reads



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spacer.gif   Weeds Uses Drug Image To Promote Poetry Contest
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 11:24 AM
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5449 Reads



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spacer.gif   End Of The Year Poetry Gossip
Posted by : cj on Sunday, December 06, 2009 - 12:49 PM
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6519 Reads



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spacer.gif   Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Poetry Gossip?
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, December 01, 2009 - 01:35 PM
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5288 Reads



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spacer.gif   December 7: The Bon Bon Is Back (and more)
Posted by : cj on Monday, November 30, 2009 - 11:48 AM
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5317 Reads



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spacer.gif   The Letter eX Poetry Newsmagazine
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - 05:02 PM
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5768 Reads



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spacer.gif   The Chicago Poetry Week In Review
Posted by : cj on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 02:41 PM
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5637 Reads



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spacer.gif   Poetry News in Chicago
Posted by : cj on Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 02:29 PM
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5591 Reads



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spacer.gif   December 9: Verbatim Verboten Deluxe at Hamburger Mary's
Posted by : cj on Friday, November 13, 2009 - 12:23 PM
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5624 Reads



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spacer.gif   November 16: Mental Graffiti Poetry Slam Presents Jon Sands
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - 11:04 AM
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5233 Reads



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spacer.gif   CJ Laity's Chicago Poetry Gossip
Posted by : cj on Friday, November 06, 2009 - 12:11 AM
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5469 Reads





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spacer.gif   Chicago Poetry Gossip: Alive and Well
Posted by : cj on Friday, October 30, 2009 - 01:16 PM
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5628 Reads



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spacer.gif   October 30: Exquisite: A Series of Corpses at St. Paul's Cathedral
Posted by : cj on Monday, October 26, 2009 - 12:57 PM
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5402 Reads



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spacer.gif   Chicago Poetry Reading and Event Announcements
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - 06:29 PM
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7759 Reads



And then on Tuesday, November 10, from 4:30 to 6 PM, there will be a Teen Urban Haiku and Renga Poetry Workshop with Regina Harris Baiocchi at the Whitney M. Young Library at 7901 S. King Drive. Participants are invited to read one poem up to two minutes long during the open microphone. Teens ages 13 and up are welcome to participate! Phone: 312-747-0039.

On Thursday November 5, 6 PM, The Oak Park Arms at 408 S. Oak Park Ave in Oak Park. (708-366-0544) will present a reading of light verse—humorous poems by X. J. Kennedy, Tom Disch, John Updike, Gail White and more—read by the staff of Light Quarterly, which claims to be the only print magazine that regularly publishes light verse.

On Friday, November 06, at 7 PM, there will be a fall issue Fifth Wednesday Journal Release Party at The Book Cellar, 4736 N Lincoln Ave. Fifth Wednesday is a literary print journal published out of Lisle, Illinois twice a year.

On Sunday, November 8, from 2 to 3 PM,, the Chicago Humanities Festival will present Michael Salinger: Well-Defined, An Irreverent Poke at Vocabulary Definitions, at Francis W Parker School, 2233 N Clark Street. Adults: $5.00, Educators & Students: FREE Michael Salinger delivers his playful poems and also will discuss his work on stage and in the classroom as a literary advocate and poetry champion. Michael Salinger is a poet, fiction writer, and performer. His work has appeared in dozens of literary journals published across the US and Canada and he is the author of Stingray and Well Defined - Vocabulary in Rhyme, among others. An eight-time captain and coach of the Cleveland Slam team that represented the city at the National Poetry Slam competition, he is also the founder and director of the Nova Lizard project, and chief facilitator of the teen writing and performance program at Cleveland's Playhouse Square Foundation

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spacer.gif   Poetry Center of Chicago Loses Touch
Posted by : cj on Sunday, October 18, 2009 - 12:51 PM
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3445 Reads


Note: Can the Poetry Center progamming get any worse? Can the Poetry Center of Chicago get any more anti-Chicago? CJ Laity is not afraid to speak his mind.

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spacer.gif   THE ORIGINAL AND AUTHENTIC CHICAGO POETRY GOSSIP
Posted by : cj on Friday, June 12, 2009 - 09:05 AM
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10443 Reads


Note: Here is the latest poetry news for you.

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spacer.gif   GOSSIP: SLAM POETS SNUB SCHEDULED ONSITE AWP SHOW
Posted by : cj on Saturday, February 14, 2009 - 07:50 PM
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7681 Reads


Note: Marc Smith, Kevin Coval, Idris Goodmwin and Mark Elevand completely blew off their scheduled AWP panel titled Chicago Poetry Slam. We have photos of the disappointed crowd and the breaking news about what actually happened. NOW INCLUDES A RESPONSE LETTER.

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spacer.gif   MENTAL GRAFFITI INJECTS POETRY SCENE WITH ADRENALINE
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 - 12:42 AM
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7782 Reads


Note: Laity checks out Mental Graffiti at Funky Buddha and has a few words to say about it. Click here for full story.

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spacer.gif   PRINTERS BALL GETS BUSTED
Posted by : cj on Saturday, July 21, 2007 - 10:08 AM
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32686 Reads


Note: The Chicago Police bust Chicago literature. Click Here for the story.

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spacer.gif   GUILD COMPLEX DIVVIES OUT DINERO DURING POETRY DUEL
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - 11:44 PM
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5306 Reads


Note: On Wednesday, June 21, the Guild Complex held the 13th Annual Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic. Awards. ChicagoPoetry.com's own C. J. Laity was there to report on the big poetry duel. Click here for the complete story.

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spacer.gif   HELEN SCHAIBLE SHAKESPEAREAN/PETRARCHAN SONNET CONTEST
Posted by : cj on Monday, January 02, 2006 - 01:25 PM
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6981 Reads


Note: Here is the new year scoop on Ink and Ashes, The GuildComplex, The Cafe's Birthday Bash, The PoetryCenter of Chicago, a Sonnet Contest, The Lisle Library, and more. UPDATED: now includes an opportunity from WomanMade Gallery.

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spacer.gif   NOVEMBER POETRY GOSSIP (UPDATED)
Posted by : cj on Thursday, October 27, 2005 - 12:46 PM
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4471 Reads


Note: Here's the scoop on Doña Rosita, The Welfare Poets, 3 Guys From Albany, Ana Castillo and Carlos Cumpian, A Carlos Cortez tribute, Poetry at the Wild Hare, and the Illinois State Poetry Society contest winners.

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spacer.gif   EXPIRED PAGE
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, October 04, 2005 - 10:44 PM
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8463 Reads

CJ Laity has taken this page down for you.

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spacer.gif   CLICK HERE: JUST A LITTLE POETRY GOSSIP FOR YOU: UPDATED
Posted by : cj on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 12:03 PM
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4447 Reads


Note: I'm all moved into my new crash palace and ready to rock and roll. Here's some gossip about Carlos Cortez, Robert Bly and Kenneth Clarke. RECENTLY ADDED: THE SCOOP ON KURT HEINTZ and Discrete's move to Spareroom and the infamous September 11 poetry show!

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spacer.gif   HOT SUMMER GOSSIP HITS THE WINDY CITY
Posted by : cj on Saturday, June 25, 2005 - 04:55 PM
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5206 Reads


Note: Keep up to date with the latest poetry scoops, including news about Beach Poets, The Illinois Poetry Society Contest, Ebony Energy, and Yahale Yadede,

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spacer.gif   CHICAGO POETRY IS WAAAY COOL
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 10:26 AM
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5976 Reads


Note: Here is the latest juicy gossip, including news on New Jersey's Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Poetry World Radio, The Cafe, and images from the Mirror Ball and the Printers Row Book Fair.

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spacer.gif   JILL SCOTT GETS COLD FEET: BLOWS OFF POETRY CENTER
Posted by : cj on Thursday, May 19, 2005 - 01:48 PM
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5968 Reads


Note: Jill Scott sticks it to the Poetry Center and now there may be a lawsuit on the horizon.

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spacer.gif   MAY WE GOSSIP IN MAY? (UPDATED)
Posted by : cj on Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 07:08 PM
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4554 Reads


Note: Click here for the latest gossip about Court Green, Ellen Wadey, Gary Soto and Charlie Rossiter. NOW UPDATED WITH THE LATEST GOSSIP ABOUT FRACTAL EDGE PRESS.

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spacer.gif   THE NATIONAL POETRY RECITATION CONTEST (AND MORE)
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, March 16, 2005 - 09:47 AM
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4874 Reads


Note: The National Endowment for the Arts is establishing a student poetry contest with cash prizes. Click on the headline for this story, as well as the most recent gossip about Quraysh Ali Lansana, Jared Smith and Milk Magazine.

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spacer.gif   MAJOR POETRY PUBLISHER BLAMES BUSH FOR WAR
Posted by : cj on Sunday, February 06, 2005 - 02:06 PM
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4145 Reads


Note: An incriminating piece of audio file was uncovered about the publisher of Letter eX. JUST ADDED: a bootleg copy of Laity's new poem: BLOW ROCK. Is this the end of that loudmouth? Click on the headline.

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spacer.gif   ARCHIVE: DAVID KODESKI TO APPEAR FOR FREE NEO-FUTURIST PARTY
Posted by : cj on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 07:32 PM
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4838 Reads


Note: David Kodeski, Anita Loomis and Dave Awl will be among the artists performing for the release party for the new Neo-Futurist book. Click on the headline for details.

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spacer.gif   ILLINOIS ARTS COUNCIL FORKS UP $59,500 TO POETS
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, January 18, 2005 - 05:00 PM
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4830 Reads


Note: Brenda Cardenas, Barry Silesky, and Larraine Harrell are among those who got a piece of the pie. Click on the headline for the details.

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spacer.gif   THE (NOT SO) DISCREET SERIES
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:17 PM
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3992 Reads

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Scenes From The Discreet Series


I heard about the hip 3030 W. Courtland space run by The Elastic Arts Foundation from several artists as well as from an article in the Chicago Reader. Finally, I had my excuse to venture out to Humboldt Park to check it out, on Sunday, November 21, the night the Discreet Series presented Matthew Goulish and Charles Bernstein, the 24th event for a poetry series that normally happens on the 2nd Friday of every month. It was a good night to see poetry, and apparently I wasn't the only one who thought so. About a hundred people packed the pews of this old church building.

This venue has a wonderful stage surrounded by walls painted maroon with a black backdrop. It also has a great sounding PA system and awesome lighting. As the readers took the stage, the lights were turned down, so that the entire place was dark except for the poet at the microphone. Cool.

Mathew Goulish of Goat Island Performance Group did a long performance piece about Hamlet, Act One, Scene Five. Well, really it was about a locally known performance artist, the late Lawrence Steger. Goulish's material worked best when he slowed down and zoomed in on the imagery, such as in his description of a man doing a handstand on a chair, or when he played a recording of Steger, who described someone tapping a brass pot pipe into an ashtray. Though the atmosphere in the room might have been appropriate for Goulish's somber eulogy, having known the subject of the story personally when he was alive, I couldn't help thinking Steger would prefer to be remembered with something less sentimental and serious, maybe something a lot more bizarre and cynical.

Charles Bernstein was next. Bernstein has a way of taking a subject that at first seems utterly ridiculous, and he just goes on and on with it until we are forced to accept its significance. In his new poem "Likeness", Bernstein spits out over a hundred short phrases that are mockeries of similis, such as "the Uncle is like the Uncle." Okay. With 22 books to his credit, I guess he can do whatever the hell he likes. In this reading, Bernstein read some material inspired by current events. He (and his daughter Emma) described war as "the first resort of scoundrels," "a five mile hike in a one mile cemetary," "the broken dream of the patriot," and "an excuse for a lot of bad anti-war poetry." Some of his material sounded like song lyrics, such as the whimsical "Doggy Bag." He used his voice in a manner many struggling performance poets would be envious of, deliberately getting closer and farther away from the microphone for the sake of effect during his poem "The Bricklayer's Arms." Bernstein never failed to inspire laughter, such as with his poem "Ballad of the Girlie Man," but all the while there was also a foreboding side to the humor, that left me in a state of deep reflection.

If you would like to know what the Discreet Series is going to be up to next, click here and enjoy the poetry.

--C. J. Laity

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spacer.gif   LOCAL POET BECOMES "MOM"
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:16 PM
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3577 Reads

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Have you been wondering why you haven't heard "Spaceman Blues" read at a ChicagoPoetry.com show lately? One of Chicago's favorite poets, former host of the infamous 90s poetry venue Kill The Poets, Jacqui Wolk, has been a bit busy; she gave birth to Eleanor Grace Wones on Friday, October 22, at 9:31 AM. Eleanor weighed in at 8 pounds 6 ounces.

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spacer.gif   MYOPIC'S DOUBLE FEATURE
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:14 PM
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3479 Reads

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Forget the open mic. Forget the frills. Don't expect a slam or a jam. The Myopic Books' Poetry Series, at 1564 N. Milwaukee, gets right to the meat, featuring a Sunday night double feature reading at 7 PM in the bookstore's second floor space. The audience sits between the books, between political science and criticism, between women's spirituality and mythology. They are there for one reason only, to hear some great poetry read by some serious writers. The last time I've seen a poetry audience this polite and attentive was at the Third Saturday Coffehouse in Oak Park. There is an intellectual peace in the Myopic room before the reading, as the thinkers converse. From behind the bay window stage can be heard the sounds of Wicker Park, a saxophone playing, some drunk howling.

The highlight of the October 24 reading was Murat Nemet-Nejat (pictured to the left), the editor of the new anthology of Turkish poetry, Eda (Talisman Press, 2004). His reading was educational and delightful, ranging from poems based on films that he has seen, to religious work, to poems that he has translated into English, written by other Turskish authors.

Myopic Books is the place to see the poets that you don't normally get to see elsewhere. It's a tight hour of poetics that doesn't mess around. And it's free. Can't beat that. Check out the upcoming line-up here.

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spacer.gif   SLANGUAGE SPOKEN HERE
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:12 PM
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4514 Reads

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The African-American / Latino performance ensemble Universes recent presentation, "Slanguage" (presented for three days in Chicago by the Museum of Contemporary Art in conjunction with the Guild Complex), is definitely at its best when the spoken-word pieces escape the highly choreographed South Bronx version of PBS's ZOOM that holds all the parts together. Using minimal props, moments such as Gamal Abdel Chasten's "Muhammed Ali poem" (during which shadows box) and also his hilarious Bruce Lee bit--or, for that matter, when Ninja, standing inside a square spotlight, demonstrates pure rage as he mimes being trapped in a box--allow raw emotions to come off more naturally and less scripted. The learning-of-our-ABCs variety show interludes are important and do have their sharp moments as well, such as the wonderfully lit subway scenes, or all the chiming in from the silhouettes of cast members waiting in the wings as their comrades take center stage. Marlyn Matias helps to blend the reality-intruding-upon-Sesame-Street theme with her performance of a "SpEnglish" Dr. Seuss tale, and Mildred Ruiz never hesitates to fill in the blanks with her powerful singing voice.

As a team, Universes managed to guide my mind out of the theater and make me feel like I was actually a part of their world at least a half dozen times, which is more than can be said about most poetry theater that I see.

Though Steven Sapp may have been caught off guard at first by what seemed to be a lack of enthusiasm from the audience on Saturday night, the group quickly accepted that, in Chicago, such enthusiasm is not a given, but must be earned. They proceeded to give their fierce talent to us, and by the end of the show, the audience's energy had been transformed from polite applause to a roaring standing ovation.

Enough material is packed into these two hours to fill up several nights at the Nuyorican Cafe. There is rarely a moment for the audience to pause to think as one chunk of urban reality plunges right into the next, making the show as a whole a little difficult to absorb. But, I suppose, getting too much for your money isn't a bad deal at all.

For more about Universes, check out UniversesOnline.com.

--by C. J. Laity, Chicago's most trusted poetry critic

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spacer.gif   POETRY RECORD SMASHED DURING YEAR OF GOOD KARMA
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:08 PM
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4378 Reads

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This is no illusion. This photo shows only part of The Cafe, at 5115 N. Lincoln, when about 80 people literally crammed in on the evening of Tuesday, July 20. The poetry record of 28 poets set at the first poetry cram was smashed to smithereens, when 39 poets read during The Poetry Cram II, which was a benefit for The 2004 Chicago Poetry Fest; the event raised over $250. Never before was The Cafe so crammed, as when C.J. Laity took to the stage on that rainy night. And the quality of the poetry, ah, the quality . . . was wonderful. I won't bother going into detail, because if you missed it, shame on you.

Now that the record has been broken, the Year of Good Karma can resume; a New Poetry Order has been established. To ensure the good karma flows at ChicagoPoetry.com, Publisher Laity has established a new "parody page," where he will publish his rants and raves from this point on. The new page here at ChicagoPoetry.com can be found only by the domain name e-poet.net or by clicking on that new banner with the toilet at the right of the home page. Now readers will have a choice. Those who wish to keep up with Laity's signature rants can check out his new project, e-poet.net. Those who wish to skip the madness, can concentrate on the uninterrupted Chicago poetry news here at ChicagoPoetry.com. Those who desire both, knock yourself out.

Thank you for reading Operation Poetic Justice. Our mission was a success! Please vote in our poetry contest. And see you at the poetry fest. Solidarity forever!

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spacer.gif   TRACE OF POETRY FOUND ON CLARK STREET
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:05 PM
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4548 Reads

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Billy Tuggle at TraceTrace is a bar at 3714 N. Clark, right down the street from Cabaret Metro. They do their "PolyRhythmic" thing on Tuesdays, late, starting at 10:30 PM (though you'd be wise to get there by 10:00 PM if you expect to get a spot on the sign up sheet). Spoken-word is celebrated with massive energy upstairs, in a rectangular room full of mirrors. This is the night spot for twenty-something poetry. Expect a grab bag full of goodies. It is well worth the hassle you'll have finding parking.

On July 13th the open mic. was an impressive mixture of styles, offering a little bit of everything, from Billy Tuggle (pictured) representing the Wicker Park Slam Team (he promised his team would concentrate more on the art of slam poetry and less on the competitive aspect of it), to a wonderful new female voice rising in Chicago, Lane Falcon, who will be one of the features at this year's Chicago Poetry Fest. A DJ kept the giggles coming as he sampled Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Queen, and anything else he could muster, between each poet. Musical sets are allowed during this program, so also expect one or two songwriters with guitars to share their work, but the focus is primarily on poetry.

The older generation better get busy, because if the quality of the work presented at Trace is any reflection of what the younger generation is up to these days, we have some major catching up to do. The work (except for one babbling screamer who ignored the four minute time limit) was extremely literate and well performed. There was a lot of heart in that room. You just gotta check it out to understand it.

--C. J. Laity


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spacer.gif   MOLLY MALONE'S THROWS A SHIN DIG
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:00 PM
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5075 Reads

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Molly Malones In Oak ParkBob Chico ChicoineOn Monday, July 12, 2004, a group of extremely talented poets gathered at Molly Malone's Irish Pub, 7652 Madison Street in Forest Park, for a spoken-word shin-dig. Nina Corwin (with an especially delightful glow about her) and Al DeGenova (who recently returned to Chicago from a series of trips, including one to Germany) hosted the evening; they have a habit of hosting this poetry shin-dig on the 2nd Monday of every month. The microphone was opened up to a variety of artists, including Bonnie Summers, who started the evening off with a poem so short that she read it twice. Ruan Wright, who is one of the features in the upcoming Chicago Poetry Fest, read an anti-list poem, and Susan Messer read a "brooding interior piece." One of the high points of the evening was Patty MicMillan's poem about suicide, which was an "address to Spaulding Gray." Patrick Brown mixed things up with a serious poem about land mines, followed by a hilarious poem about attempting to file taxes on the internet. Larry Janowski proved he is not one of those stage hogging poets who always does the same three poems everywhere he goes (you know the type). Janowski read some fresh stuff I haven't heard before. He startled us with his imagery in a piece about the beautiful flowers among the weeds next to the highway, and then gave us a taste of the whimsical with his piece about enjoying Barry Manilow songs.

After the open mic. there was a break, during which even more poets showed up, specifically to hear the feature. One of these late arrivals was none-other than father of the Poetry Slam Marc Smith himself. It was really refreshing to see Smith come out to support this grassroots poetry shin-dig. The feature for the evening was Bob "Chico" Chicoine, who honored the 25th anniversary of The Disco Demolition (you might recall they blew up a pile of disco records at Comiskey Park), by reading some baseball poems, including a character study about Bob "the smiling beer vendor." Though much of his work leaned toward the lighter side, such as his gut aching Bukowski haikus, or his marriage poems, Chicoine also demonstrated a more somber side with a war poem. Venue hosts, prick up your ears--Chicoine's set was tight and it was a delight.

Next month Molly Malone's will feature Brenda Cardenas. Hmmm. Now that sounds hot. Oh yeah, Molly Malone's co-host Nina Corwin wants me to be a nice guy and remind everyone to come out to see Lisa Buscani during her Word Gourmet show at Guild Complex on Wednesday, July 28. And you guys know what a nice guy I am.

--C. J. Laity

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spacer.gif   BUSH ADMINISTRATION RESTRICTS EDITORS
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 11:14 AM
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3405 Reads

Publishing some poetry is now against the law.

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spacer.gif   The Gwendolyn Brooks Writers Conference
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 11:12 AM
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4317 Reads

Check out the magic cube with images from the 2003 Gwendolyn Brooks Black Writers Conference.

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spacer.gif   The Guld Complex Chapbook Series
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 11:09 AM
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3618 Reads

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Michael PuicanManuscripts by Michael Puican (who regularly writes reviews of poetry for Another Chicago Magazine) and Zada Johnson (a professor of African-American Studies at Olive-Harvey College) were selected as the winners of the inaugural Tia Chucha Press Chapbook series. The Guild Complex received approximately 50 manuscripts, which were judged by an editorial board consisting of Reginald Gibbons (chairman of Northwestern's English Department), Julie Parson-Nesbitt (former director of the Guild Complex), Michael Warr (currently the producing director of DanceAfrica) and Quraysh Ali Lansana (director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center). In addition to these two winners, Tia Chucha Press will also publish a chapbook by Guild Complex Poetry Fellow Josie Raney, who will receive $10,000. Straying slightly from the original intent, which was to publish poets who had not previously published a full-length book of poetry, a chapbook by well-known poet Tony Fitzpatrick will be the fourth in the series. According to the original guidelines, 400 copies of each chapbook will be printed.

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spacer.gif   ARCHIVE: NATIONAL POETRY SLAM COMES TO CHICAGO
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 11:01 AM
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3760 Reads

Letter eX covers the 2003 National Poetry Slam.

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spacer.gif   ARCHIVE: LOCAL VENUE BUSTED BY POLICE
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 12:03 AM
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4270 Reads

The Hot House Gets Raided For Featuring Cubans.

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spacer.gif   ARCHIVE: PEOPLE'S POETRY IN NEW YORK
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 11:57 PM
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4238 Reads

Julie Parson Nesbitt Reports From Lower ManhattanI just wanted to say a few words about the People’s Poetry Gathering that took place April 11 – 13 in New York. Nina Corwin and I went together. With a name like, “A Paradise of Poets,” how can you resist?



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spacer.gif   ARCHIVE: PANIC ON THE STREETS OF CHICAGO
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 11:52 PM
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3958 Reads

As an illegal war erupts, thousands of angry Chicagoans take to the streets

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spacer.gif   ARCHIVE: TRIBUNE BUYS BOOK FAIR
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 11:35 PM
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4519 Reads

The Chicago Tribune Buys The Printers Row Book Fair.

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spacer.gif   POETRY MAGAZINE RECEIVES ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 11:06 PM
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4165 Reads

Ruth Lilly, the 87-year-old, ailing, billionaire heiress, the last surviving great-grandchild of the founder of Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, plans to donate more than $100,000,000 to Editor Joe Parisi's Poetry Magazine--no strings attached.


Note: Ruth Lilly gives Poetry Magazine a fortune.

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