Illinois

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

date
Apr 12 2016
Prairie Poetry: Four Essential Illinois Poets

Prairie Troubadour Vachel Lindsay traveled miles upon miles trading poems for food and lodging. Edgar Lee Masters revealed the truth and secrets of small town life in his Spoon River Anthology. Gwendolyn Brooks was the poet of the urban experience and gave voice to the disenfranchised, earning acclaim for her textured portraits of life in Bronzeville. LBJ observed that Carl Sandburg “was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America.” Join William Pack as he tells the remarkable stories of four significant Illinois poets and shares some of their finest writing.

7:00pm
6800 W. 43rd Street
60402 Stickney, Illinois
Apr 12 2016
Poetry off the Shelf: Alicia Ostriker

Alicia Ostriker has published 14 volumes of poetry, including The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog (2014); The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1979–2011; and The Imaginary Lover (1986), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award. She was twice a National Book Award finalist, for The Little Space (1998) and The Crack in Everything (1996). Among Ostriker’s critical work on American poetry is the now-classic Stealing the Language: The Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America (1987).

7:00pm
61 West Superior Street
60654 Chicago, Illinois

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poems

poem
"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
poem

     To the Williamson Brothers

High noon. White sun flashes on the Michigan Avenue asphalt. Drum of hoofs and whirr of motors. Women trapsing along in flimsy clothes catching play of sun-fire to their skin and eyes.

Inside the playhouse are movies from under the sea. From the heat of pavements

poem
        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
     painted women under the gas lamps