On December 11, 2003, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich named Kevin Stein the state’s fourth poet laureate, following Howard Austin, Carl Sandburg, and Gwendolyn Brooks. Stein has published eight poetry collections and chapbooks, three scholarly books, and two poetry anthologies.

upcoming events

datesort ascending
Dec 08 2016
Poetry Reading: Reginald Gibbons and Alan Shapiro

About "Last Lake": In his tenth book of poems, Reginald Gibbons immerses the reader in many different places and moments of intensity, including a lake in the Canadian north, a neighborhood in Chicago, the poet Osip Mandelshtam’s midnight of social cataclysm and imagination, a horse caravan in Texas, and an archeological dig on the steppes near the Volga River. "Last Lake" begins with a cougar and ends with bees; it speaks in two ways—with reminiscence, meditation, and memorial, and with springing leaps of image and thought.

About Reginald Gibbons: Reginald Gibbons is Frances Hooper Professor of Arts and Humanities at Northwestern University. His poetry collections include National Book Award finalist "Creatures of a Day" and "Slow Trains Overhead": Chicago Poems and Stories, the latter also published by the University of Chicago Press.

About "Life Pig": Alan Shapiro’s newest book of poetry is situated at the intersection between private and public history, as well as individual life and the collective life of middle-class America in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Whether writing about an aged and dying parent or remembering incidents from childhood and adolescence, Shapiro attends to the world in ways that are as deeply personal as they are recognizable and freshly social—both timeless and utterly of this particular moment.

About Alan Shapiro: Alan Shapiro has published many books, including "Reel to Reel," a Pulitzer Prize finalist. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A new collection of essays, "That Self-Forgetful Perfectly Useless Concentration," is also available this fall from the University of Chicago Press.

6:00pm to 7:30pm
5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.
60637 Chicago, Illinois
Jul 21 2016
Poetry Reading - John Koethe and David Trinidad

“Few poets write more accurately and painfully [than John Koethe] about that uncanny estranged place that never finds its way out of us; the present, or idea of the present, as mere projection, and yet a projection so poignantly, materially, tenderly touched it gleams with all its claustrophobic distances . . . This is a poetry of magnificent undertow.” —Jorie Graham

"'In Notes on a Past Life,' David Trinidad exorcises the ghosts of New York with a compulsively readable, wrenching memoir in verse. His “Goodbye to All That” offers a critique of ambition, an ode to community, and a sip of the poison that poetry is, in the end, the antidote to." —Eula Biss

About "The Swimmer": A searching new collection from America’s philosopher-poet. John Koethe, in his tenth volume of poetry, investigates the capricious nature of everyday life, “the late night jazz, great sex and all / The human shit defining what we are.” His poems—always dynamic and in process, never static and complete—luxuriate in the questions that punctuate the most humdrum of routines. In "The Swimmer," the “terrible feeling of being just about to fall” energizes everything: life’s trivialities, surprises, and disappointments, even “the indifference and infirmities of age.” Together, these remarkable new poems rescue the detritus of life from oblivion and render a robust portrait of an individual: complicated, quotidian, and resounding with truth.

About John Koethe: John Koethe has published nine books of poetry and has received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and the 1973 Frank O’Hara Award for Poetry. He has also published books on Ludwig Wittgenstein and philosophical skepticism, and is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

About "Notes on a Past Life": "'Notes on a Past Life' catalogs in 'Trinidadian' detail an outsider’s relationship to the insider world of New York City poetry—cutthroat parties, fragile egos, heartbreaking losses, as many endings as beginnings. Trinidad refuses the safe distance of “the speaker” in these autobiographical, intimate (sometimes searing) poems. This is a book for outsiders and insiders, for romantics and cynics. Some will be pissed. Some will be thrilled. And everyone will be “dishing” (as poets do) about this astonishing book, afraid to admit how much they love it." —Aaron Smith

About David Trinidad: David Trinidad’s latest book is "Notes on a Past Life" (BlazeVOX [books], 2016). His other books include "Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems" (2011) and "Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera" (2013), both published by Turtle Point Press. He is also the editor of "A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos" (Nightboat Books, 2011). He lives in Chicago, where he is a Professor of Creative Writing/Poetry at Columbia College.

5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.
60637 Chicago, Illinois

recent & featured listings

typesort ascending name state
Colony The Ragdale Foundation Illinois
Writing Program Art Institute of Chicago Illinois
Writing Program Columbia College, Chicago Illinois
Writing Program Illinois State University Illinois
Writing Program Illinois Wesleyan University Illinois
Writing Program Knox College Illinois
Writing Program Midwest Writer's Workshop Illinois
Writing Program University of Illinois Illinois
Writing Program University of Illinois at Chicago Illinois
Landmark The Carl Sandburg Cottage Illinois


        Hog Butcher for the World,
        Tool maker, Stacker of Wheat,
        Player with Railroads and the Nation's 
             Freight Handler;
        Stormy, husky, brawling,
        City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your
				       for Ted Berrigan & Alice Notley

the bridges of Chicago
are not the bridges of Paris
or the bridges of Amsterdam
except they are a definition
almost no one bothers to define
like life full of surprises
in what now looks to be the oldest
modern American city
o apparition of the movie version
Chicago Morning

To Philip Guston

Under a red face, black velvet shyness
Milking an emaciated gaffer. God lies down
Here. Rattling of a shot, heard
From the first row. The president of the United States
And the Director of the FBI stand over
a dead mule. "Yes, it is nice to hear the fountain