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

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Oct 13 2015
Graywolf Poetry Tour - Mary Jo Bang, Nick Flynn and Diane Seuss

Co-sponsored by University of Chicago Creative Writing and Poetics

About "The Last Two Seconds" by Mary Jo Bang: One of Publishers Weekly's Top 10 Poetry Books of the Spring. "The Last Two Seconds" is an astonishing confrontation with time—our experience of it as measured out by our perceptions, our lives, and our machines. In these poems, full of vivid imagery and imaginative logic, Mary Jo Bang captures the difficulties inherent in being human in the twenty-first century, when we set our watches by nuclear disasters, species collapse, pollution, mounting inequalities, warring nations, and our own mortality. This is brilliant and profound work by an essential poet of our time.

About "My Feelings" by Nick Flynn: In "My Feelings", Nick Flynn’s fourth book of poetry, the author makes no claims on anyone else’s. These poems inhabit a continually shifting sense of selfhood, in the attempt to contain quicksilver realms of emotional energy—from grief and panic to gratitude and understanding. A major subject is the death of Flynn’s father, a formerly homeless man suffering from mental illness and delusions of his own grandeur (and made famous recently by Robert De Niro in the film "Being Flynn", based on Nick Flynn’s memoir). What does it mean to lose someone like that, finally, and what is the legacy of fatherhood? Flynn’s jagged, lyrical poems attempt to make sense of these questions and the clutter left behind in our lives. Alongside those elegies are also moving poems about his daughter, his own sense of fatherhood, and his fractured memories of his mother, before she took her own life.

About "Four-Legged Girl" by Diane Seuss: In Diane Seuess’s urgent and rapturous third collection, "Four-Legged Girl", her kaleidoscopic lyricism is on full display. These are hothouse poems written from her personal life, from a childhood lived beside the death of her estranged father to a wild love life as recounted from the streets of New York. The book culminates to the remarkable title poem about the famous turn-of-the-century sideshow freak, the woman with four legs, the body made strange to itself and to others. Seuss’s work is emotional and lyrically rich, but grounded in her wild femininity, her childhood narrative, and her sense of rural Michigan, where she now lives. Perfect for fans of Linda Gregg, Lucie Brock-Broido, and D. A. Powell, "Four-Legged Girl" is a gutsy, sexy book of poems that is poised to make a big splash this fall.

About Mary Jo Bang: Mary Jo Bang is the author of six collections of poems, including "Louise in Love", "The Eye Like a Strange Balloon", "The Bride of E", and "Elegy", which received the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has also recently translated Dante's "Inferno". She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and teaches at Washington University.

About Nick Flynn: Nick Flynn is the author of three acclaimed books of poetry, "The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands", "Blind Huber", and "Some Ether", winner of the PEN/Osterweil Award. He is also the author of three memoirs, "The Reenactments", "The Ticking Is the Bomb", and "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City", winner of the PEN/Martha Albrand Award. He is also the author of a play, "Alice Invents a Little Game" and "Alice Always Wins" (2008). He has received fellowships from, among other organizations, The Guggenheim Foundation and The Library of Congress. Some of the venues his poems, essays, and nonfiction have appeared in include the New Yorker, the Paris Review, National Public Radio’s "This American Life", and the New York Times Book Review. His film credits include artistic collaborator and “field poet” on the film "Darwin’s Nightmare" (nominated for an Academy Award for best feature documentary in 2006), as well as executive producer and artistic collaborator on "Being Flynn", the film version of "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City". A professor in the creative writing program at the University of Houston, where he teaches each spring, he then spends the rest of the year in (or near) Brooklyn.

About Diane Seuss: Diane Seuss is the author of two previous poetry collections, "It Blows You Hollow" and "Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open", winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2014, the Georgia Review, New Orleans Review, Poetry, and elsewhere. She is writer-in-residence at Kalamazoo College and lives in Michigan.

About Srikanth Reddy: Srikanth Reddy is the author of two books of poetry--"Facts for Visitors" (University of California Press, 2004) and "Voyager" (University of California Press, 2011) --as well as a scholarly study, "Changing Subjects: Digressions in Modern American Poetry" (Oxford University Press, 2012). His poems have appeared in various journals, including APR, Grand Street, Fence, and Ploughshares, and his critical writing has been featured in publications such as the New Republic, Raritan, and American Literature. He has held fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Whiting Foundation (in the Humanities), and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the doctoral program in English at Harvard University, Reddy is an Assistant Professor in English and at the College.

1301 E. 57th St.
60637 Chicago, Illinois
Oct 06 2015
Juan Felipe Herrera

In collaboration with the Library of Congress and the Poetry Foundation, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will host one of the first performances by the newly appointed U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera.  This event will be held on Tuesday, October 6, beginning at 6:00 p.m.  The event is free, but we ask that you reserve a seat, 

212 North Sixth Street
62701 Springfield, Illinois

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				       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
"Give me some light!" cries Hamlet's
uncle midway through the murder
of Gonzago. "Light! Light!" cry scattering
courtesans. Here, as in Denmark,
it's dark at four, and even the moon
shines with only half a heart.

The ornaments go down into the box:
the silver spaniel, My Darling
on its collar, from
(In Springfield, Illinois)
It is portentous, and a thing of state   
That here at midnight, in our little town   
A mourning figure walks, and will not rest,   
Near the old court-house pacing up and down,   
Or by his homestead, or in shadowed yards
He lingers where his children used to play,