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Alabi, Kemi 2023

Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Blue Hour Reading Series with Kemi Alabi and Jessica Walsh
Haymarket House


Beloved, last night I doused us in good bourbon,
struck a match between our teeth, slid the lit head
lip to chest, throat zippered open and spilling.
Our union demands a sacrifice. Take my masks—
my wretched, immaculate children. Sharp smiles
bored by cavities. Braids thick with hair slashed off
lovers as they slept.

– Kemi Alabi, “A Wedding, or What We Unlearned from Descartes”

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Watch Kemi Alabi’s 2023 reading with Jessica Walsh at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Kemi Alabi begins at 42:25 minutes.

Read Kemi Alabi’s interview with Beloit Poetry Journal:

Beloit Poetry Journal

How did the poem ” Against Heaven ” come into being? Tell us a little about the origin, inspiration, or circumstances surrounding it. ‍My debut collection Against Heaven has five title poems. I didn’t expect to write five, but after the first “Against Heaven” emerged during the 2020 uprisings, I couldn’t resist new arguments and approaches.

yusef says this morning makes us the oldest song in any god’s throat. i dress this on a new love whose fingers dissolve time, who plumes me into a whole choir, reconstructs her mouth to fit the worship. but nightdreams call me a liar, show only your face. my blood tides to the timbre of your voice and nothing else.

– Kemi Alabi, “the oldest song”

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Watch Kemi Alabi discuss their poetry collection Against Heaven:

More info on Kemi Alabi⇒

Accola, Rosie 2019

Friday, September 20, 2019
Six Points Reading Series with Jessica Mascarenhas and Rosie Accola
Space Oddities in Humboldt Park


I haven’t been sleeping
though I was taught to dream
of leering men cached in alleys.
I am no longer afraid of them.
When I do sleep,
my fists are clenched.
Sleep is the absence of vigilance;

– Rosie Accola, “My mom never let me go to warped tour”

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Purchase Rosie Accola’s book Referential Body:

I think of you whenever I listen to Deathcab,
yr poems make me want to fight for femmes and
beat Bukowski in a bar-room brawl
while running around my parents’ block in winter.

– Rosie Accola, “Sleep”

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Follow Rosie Accola on Twitter⇒

Aldana, Christian 2022

Tuesday, September 6, 2022
Poetry @ the Green with Christian Aldana
320 S. Canal


This is what joy looks like:
palm to palm, radiant, mga kasama.
Sing like every tomorrow is infinite,
each one of us a river, a rush, a dream.

Palm to palm, radiant, mga kasama
smile wide and drink sunlight.
Each one of us a river, a rush, a dream
unfurling into a monumental sea.

– Christian Aldana, “Pantoum for 2032”

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Watch Christian Aldana’s performance for Filipino American History Month:

Luya Set – Chris, Gilary & Lorenze from Caroline Olsen on Vimeo.

They will come to the door in broad daylight. Because they can.

When the sun is high and shining, and Chicago summer feels like it will never end

They will wait in the street.

They will knock.

– Christian Aldana, “Know Your Rights When ICE Comes to Your Door”

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More info on Christian Aldana⇒

Almandina, Melissa Castro 2022

Tuesday, August 30, 2022
Poetry @ the Green with Melissa Castro Almandina
320 S. Canal


My father used to take me across time,
It came with us when we took the bus from Guadaliajara to Michoacán where
I sought scorpions, I hunted them, like I hunted ghosts
I was 4.

– Melissa Castro Almandina, “Because I Taught Myself How to Read English”

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Trapped monarchs die inside
Before they become dust
It is cruel to see a monarch in
A cage, winged flesh ripped
In the name of nationalism
In keeping the wings white
What a cruel vision
To see fluttering dreams

– Melissa Castro Almandina, “Children of the Dead”

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Check out this book review of “The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext,” featuring poetry by Melissa Castro Almandina:

“The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext” Celebrates Latinx Community and Future-Building

“Writing, for me, is a way of reimagining that which I’ve experienced and creating something new. It’s a way of future-building. It’s a way of taking back agency. Each time I do this in my writing, I think it makes me a little more free.”

Visit Melissa Castro Almandina’s website⇒

Adams, Carris 2017

Thursday, March 30, 2017
with Danielle Rosen and Maggie Crowley (performed as Patricia Rose)
Museum of Contemporary Photography



View some of Carris Adams’ visual art here:


Adams is represented by Goldfinch Gallery in Chicago, IL

Read this interview with Carris Adams from VoyageChicago:

Watch Carris Adams perform for the Chicago Poetry Center as a member of Patricia Rose:

Poetry Reading: Maria Barnas and Danielle Rosen

The poets will be reading in response to the current exhibition on view, Viviane Sassen: UMBRA. Maria Barnas is a Dutch writer, poet and artist whose work centers on the myriad ways description can shape reality. Barnas wrote a series of poems to accompany UMBRA, which she will recite during this event.

More info on Carris Adams⇒

Carris Adams is a visual artist whose practice visually investigates markers of domesticated space. The conceptually multi-layered works seek to inform and position viewers to recognize their assumptions, recall an experience and perhaps note how societal markers materialize in the landscape. Adams received her BFA from the University  of Texas at Austin (2013) and her MFA from the University of Chicago (2015).

Akbar, Kaveh 2018

Friday, Jan 26, 2018
with Tarfia Faizullah
Produce Model Gallery

Teenagers are texting each other pictures
of orchids on their phones, which are also orchids.
Old men in orchid pennyloafers
furiously trade orchids.

              – Kaveh Akbar, “Orchids are Sprouting from the Floorboards”

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Read this interview with Kaveh Akbar from Slice Magazine:

angels don’t care about humility
you shaved your head        spent eleven days half-starved in solitary
and not a single divine trumpet wept into song      now it’s lonely all over

– Kaveh Akbar, “Heritage”

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Watch Kaveh Akbar read here:


Watch Kaveh Akbar read his piece, which is also live at PANK in our new Spring / Summer 2016 issue.

your mouth a moonless system
of caves filling with dust
the dust thickened to tar
your mouth opened and tar spilled out 

– Kaveh Akbar, “Palmyra”

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More info on Kaveh Akbar⇒

Kaveh Akbar is an Iranian-American poet who has received honors including a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, the Levis Reading Prize, and a Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. In February 2019, he was named an editor for Poetry Daily. His poems appear in The New Yorker, Poetry, and The New York Times, among others. His debut full-length collection, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, is out with Alice James in the US and Penguin in the UK, and his chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press. Akbar founded  Divedapper, and, along with Sarah Kay and Claire Schwartz, he writes a weekly column for the Paris Review called “Poetry RX.” Previously, he ran The Quirk, a for-charity print literary journal. He has also served as Poetry Editor for BOOTH and Book Reviews Editor for the Southeast Review

Adair-Hodges, Erin 2018

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
with Sarah Rose Nordgren and Jenny Molberg
Unabridged Bookstore



Certainly we have the time for that, at least,
to find the words they’ll bury us in,
singing over whatever’s left
a tumble of jumbles pushed out by tongues
because to keep living is the loneliest thing. 

Erin Adair-Hodges, “As If”

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Read this interview with Erin Adair-Hodges from the Georgia Review:

All I know
is that we do not have to have a thing
to lose it. I mourn the children
I am too sad to have, and the disappointment
of the lover I am too tired to take.

– Erin Adair-Hodges, “Of Yalta”

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Watch Erin Adair-Hodges read for the Chicago Poetry Center, with Sarah Rose Nordgren and Jenny Molberg:

The Poetry Center of Chicago: Six Points Reading Series

The Poetry Center of Chicago brings together poets Jenny Molberg, Erin Adair-Hodges, and Sarah Rose Nordgren for an installment of the Six Points Reading Series. This program was recorded by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV).

Erin Adair-Hodges starts reading at 17:20.

More info on Erin Adair-Hodges⇒

Erin Adair-Hodges is a poet and essayist born and raised in New Mexico who received her M.F.A. from the University of Arizona. She is the winner of the Allen Tate Award for Poetry, the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize for her first poetry collection Let’s All Die Happy, and various other prizes and awards, and her poems have appeared in Green Mountains Review, Kenyon Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others.

Altman, Toby 2016

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
with Maggie Queeney
City Lit Books

ok, excuse me while I ode myself—or what’s left of me: lilac and fog, the founding act of bliss. Once I merged my delicate fingers with the internet—but its engine erupts aromatic paste, worn as prophylactic against the plague. Very soon I will be the silence of vespers

– Toby Altman, “ENVOY (about the author)”

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 And pilgrim who sings holy body less
and rents himself, all to the earnest earth,
how opens he, and open learns
borders and blank, the shape of breath. 

– Toby Altman, “untitled”

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More info on Toby Altman⇒

Toby Altman is the author of Arcadia, Indiana (Plays Inverse, 2017) and six chapbooks, including Every Hospital by Bertrand Goldberg (Except One), winner of the 2018 Ghost Proposal chapbook contest. His poems can be found in Colorado ReviewjubilatLana Turner, and other journals and anthologies. He earned a PhD in English at Northwestern University.

Amos, Holly 2016

Wednesday, August 10, 2016
with Mairead Case and Dan Magers
Mars Gallery


I won’t look anyone
in the eye
for three days. Because I am human
I want to compare the train
to a metal cage

– Holly Amos, “I See The X-Ray of the Rescue with 50 BBS in Him”

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Read this interview with Holly Amos from H_NGM_N:

“The Next Big Thing” Interview: Holly Amos

The lovely & oft-cardigan-ed Stephen Danos was tagged for “The Next Big Thing,” a self-interview for writers with recent or forthcoming books. Then Stephen tagged me to answer some questions about my…

And home is a projection of what my mind sees. All wisps. The black pocket we call memory: that which seeks light only to contain it.

– Holly Amos, “The Sky Got Caught In My Hair, If Only Theoretically”

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Watch Holly Amos discuss her work:

Notable Native: Holly Amos

Holly Amos knew from a young age that she wanted to write. She has written everything from journals to her own novel. Now the editorial assistant at Poetry magazine, the Columbia alumna shares her love for the profession and discusses where she hopes to be in the future.

More info on Holly Amos⇒

Holly Amos, the assistant editor of Poetry, published her first full-length collection Continual Guidance of Air in 2016. Her humor writing and poetry has appeared in a variety of publications, including Little Old Lady; Points in Case; Forklift, Ohio; and Prairie Schooner.

Achanzar, Helene 2016

Thursday, May 19, 2016
with Tim “Toaster” Henderson
Beauty & Brawn Art Gallery and Think Space


In the land I was born,
there is an island in the middle of a river.
There is a name for the amount
of beauty required to launch a ship.

– Helene Achanzar, “Meaning Light”

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Listen to this podcast with Helene Achanzar here:

S1 Ep 02: Helene Achanzar (Lighthouses & Buffy) by The Lit Fantastic (Podcast)

Helene Achanzar is a Kundiman fellow who has earned awards from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc. She is a freelance writer who has written for Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Vice Media. Helene will be beginning her MFA studies at University of Mississippi this fall.

More info on Helene Achanzar⇒

Helene Achanzar is a John and Renée Grisham fellow from the University of Mississippi, where she also served as senior editor of the Yalobusha Review. She is also a Kundiman fellow and has received awards from The University of Iowa Writer’s House and Philippine American Writers and Artists.