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Asghar, Fatimah 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016
with Donna Vorreyer
Grace Church of Logan Square
Saturday, April 9, 2016
with Ladan Osman and Roger Reeves
Tea Project at Links Hall


Today, I broke your solar system. Oops.
My bad. Your graph said I was supposed
to make a nice little loop around the sun.

– Fatimah Asghar, “Pluto Shits on the Universe”

Continue reading this poem⇒

Read this interview with Fatimah Asghar from Bitch Media:

Pair Domains – Dynamic DNS

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 How I played football
with the boys in the school park
& let my moustache grow longer
than anyone in my class
& isn’t that a type of girlhood

– Fatimah Asghar, “Mother”

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Watch Fatimah Asghar’s TedxRushU talk:

We Own All the Language in the World | Fatimah Asghar | TEDxRushU

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Watch the web series, Brown Girls, Fatimah Asghar wrote here:

Episodes – Brown Girls Web Series

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More info on Fatimah Asghar⇒

Arnold, Craig 1999

Wednesday, November 10, 1999
with Brigit Pegeen Kelly and Talvikki Ansel


Teach me a fruit of your
country I asked and so you dipped
into a shop and in your hand
held me a thick yellow pinecone

– Craig Arnold, “Pitahaya”

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Watch Craig Arnold read his poem, “Incubus,” from University of Wyoming Television:

Craig Arnold reads Incubus

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You have towered here
leaning half over the wall
all my awareness

– Craig Arnold, “Mulberry”

Continue reading this poem⇒

Read this interview from McSweeney’s with Arnold’s partner Rebecca Lindenberg, about the book she wrote after Arnold’s disappearance and death:

A McSweeney’s Books Q&A with Rebecca Lindenberg, author of Love, an Index

A man disappears. The woman who loves him continues to see him him everywhere, even after she knows he can never return. In her fierce, one-of-a-ki…

More info on Craig Arnold⇒

Ansel, Talvikki 1999

Wednesday, November 10, 1999
with Brigit Pegeen Kelly and Craig Arnold


it’s iron, the bottle
crouched on its white pedestal,
long beak spout and wide open handle
you could see starry sky through.

– Talvikki Ansel, “Don’t Tell Me”

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Read this interview with Talvikki Ansel from The Journal Mag:

Interview with Talvikki Ansel – The Journal

Talvikki Ansel is the author of the poetry collections My Shining Archipelago (1997) and Jetty and Other Poems (2003). She is the recipient of the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize and is the 2014 winner of The OSU Press/ The Journal Wheeler Prize in Poetry for her collection Somewhere in Space.

Slippage time, sky darker
than yesterday,
cold snap forecasted,
a gray screen over the river
and the old fort, ice chunks.

– Talvikki Ansel, “Valentine’s”

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Listen to Talvikki Ansel read her poem, “World,” on The Atlantic:

The Atlantic | July/August 2001 | World | Talvikki Ansel

World by Talvikki Ansel

More info on Talvikki Ansel⇒

Ali, Agha Shahid 2001

Wednesday, April 4, 2001


At dawn you leave. The river wears its skin of light.
And I trace love’s loss to the origin of light.
“I swallow down the goodbyes I won’t get to use.”
At grief’s speed she waves from a palanquin of light.

– Agha Shahid Ali, “Of Light”

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Read this interview with Agha Shahid Ali from Poets&Writers:

An Interview With Poet Agha Shahid Ali

On December 8, 2001, Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali died of brain cancer at the age of 52. Ali taught creative writing at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for seven years, and published eight books of poetry, including Rooms Are Never Finished (Norton, 2001), which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

We shall meet again, in Srinagar,
by the gates of the Villa of Peace,
our hands blossoming into fists
till the soldiers return the keys
and disappear. Again we’ll enter
our last world, the first that vanished.

– Agha Shahid Ali, “A Pastoral”

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Watch this interview with Agha Shahid Ali and his brother for NPR:

Izhar Patkin: Agha Shahid Ali on All Things Considered

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More info on Agha Shahid Ali⇒

Agha Shahid Ali was born in New Delhi, India in 1949. He arrived in the United States in 1975 and was the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, and was also a finalist for the National Book Award. His poetry reflects his Hindu, Muslim, and Western heritages, often blending forms and cultures. Ali was also a translator, translating most notably the work of Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz into English. He died in December 2001 at the age of 52.

Abegunde, M. Eliza Hamilton 2003

Thursday, April 17, 2003
After Hours at the Art Institute of Chicago, a collaboration with the Poetry Center of Chicago


Afterwards, we would remember the sudden appearance
of the two-headed yellow snake crawling from the trees
to the edge of the gate the moment I poured the water.
We would remember how the snake drank thirstily,
and did not try to cross over.

– M. Eliza Hamilton Abegunde, “Visitation”

Continue reading this poem⇒

Read this interview with M. Eliza Hamilton Abegunde:

Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism/M. ELIZA HAMILTON ABEGUNDE: AN INTERVIEW

Sometimes, the line between a writer’s mundane, everyday world and her creative, imaginative landscape can blur, even resist separation. This might describe the life of healing facilitator M. Eliza Hamilton Abgnd, whose novel-in-progress, The Arian’s Last Life, has been, thus far, a 20-year commute between past, present and future.

Do not let the smell of your own feces distract you.
Roll the toilet paper tightly after each use and discard
in the thin blue bags Dete changes every Monday.
Roll your tampons and sanitaries into the black bags
you have brought – so afraid someone will find them,
and pick the dried blood into a stew.

– M. Eliza Hamilton Abegunde, “Prime Directive #1”

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More info on M. Eliza Hamilton Abegunde⇒

M. Eliza Hamilton Abegunde is a poet, teacher, birth doula, and an ancestral priest in the Yoruba Orisa tradition. Her poems have been anthologized in Gathering Ground, Beyond the Frontier: African American Poetry for the 21st Century, Knowing Stones: Poems of Exotic Places, and rhino. She is also the author of three poetry chapbooks and various collaborative projects and is a Cave Canem Fellow.

Ackerman, Diane 1993

Wednesday, October 6, 1993


How my roots fandango,
shag down
dark as anchovy fillets
in the sun
or, wind-spurred,
dicker, dodder, swoop and dodge.

– Diane Ackerman, “Lament of the Banyan Tree”

Continue reading this poem⇒

Read this interview with Diane Ackerman from January Magazine:

Interview | Diane Ackerman

Buy it on Amazon Books by Diane Ackerman Deep Play I Praise My Destroyer The Rarest of the Rare A Natural History of the Senses The Moon by Whale Light Jaguar of Sweet Laughter Reverse Thunder On Extended Wings Lady Faustus Twilight of the Tenderfoot Wife of Light The Planets: A Cosmic Pastoral For Children: Monk Seal Hideaway Bats: Shadows in the Night Anthology: The Book of Love (with Jeanne Mackin) If I had my druthers every prose book I wrote would be like inhaling jungle.

The old moon lying in the young moon’s arms
lives in the shadow of her crescent light
and yet he rounds her out, shields her from harm
as she ripens in the star-encrusted night.

– Diane Ackerman, “Natural Wonders”

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Watch Diane Ackerman discuss her passion for nature writing from Kirkus TV:

Kirkus TV Interview with Best-Selling Author Diane Ackerman

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More info on Diane Ackerman⇒

Poet, essayist, and naturalist, Diane Ackerman is the author of two dozen highly acclaimed works of nonfiction and poetry. She has received a P.E.N. Henry David Thoreau Award for Nature Writing, Orion Book Award, John Burroughs Nature Award, Visionary Artist Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Lavan Poetry Prize, honorary doctorate from Kenyon College, among others, and has been lionized as a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library. Several of her books have been Pulitzer Prize and National Book Circle Critics Award finalists. In 2016, Ackerman was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Ashbery, John 1977

Friday, April 15, 1977
The Poetry Center at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Vintage poster of John Ashbery's reading at the Poetry Center of Chicago.

Vintage poster of John Ashbery’s reading at the Poetry Center of Chicago.

Buy this poster⇒

Never mind, dears, the afternoon
will fold you up, along with preoccupations
that now seem so important, until only a child
running around on a unicycle occupies center stage. 

– John Ashbery, “Like A Sentence”
Read this interview with John Ashbery from the Paris Review:

Ahead, starting from the far north, it wanders.
Its radish-strong gasoline fumes have probably been
Locked into your sinuses while you were away.
You will have to deliver it.
The flowers exist on the edge of breath, loose,
Having been laid there.
One gives pause to the other,
Or there will be a symmetry about their movements
Through which each is also an individual.

– John Ashbery, “Flowering Death”
Watch John Ashbery discuss poetry with TIME Magazine:

Andrews, Tom 1997

Wednesday, October 15, 1997
with Margaret Gibson

October dusk.
Pink scraps of clouds, a plum-colored sky.
The sycamore tree spills a few leaves.
The cold focuses like a lens. . .

– Tom Andrews, “At Burt Lake”

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Listen to Tom Andrews’s Poetry Center reading with Margaret Gibson:

Read Tom Andrews’s poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Strangled Moose:”

Tom Andrews Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Strangled Moose

Seven men, a pale woman and a dog Circle the indoor, rubberized track Like strangled moose. Orpheus rolled through his sleep. Eurydice read a popular novel, a period piece Involving a ménage a trois And the strangling of a moose. Dear Mr. Farnsworth, I’m sorry. I swear the black elk looked Like a black moose.

There is a sleep like the long dissolve
of bone into brown dirt. The nurse carries
a paper cup, a syringe of that sleep…

– Tom Andrews, “Codeine Diary”

Continue reading this poem in Tom Andrews’s book, The Hemophiliac’s Motorcycle

More info on Tom Andrews⇒

Anania, Michael 2003

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
with Haki Madhubuti

Clear vials of cloudy
sputum on a windowsill,
the hand they said I saw
waving from a balcony,
that bony face of his
bouyed up in tufted satin.

Michael Anania, “Materials of June”

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Listen to Michael Anania’s 2003 reading at the Poetry Center of Chicago:

settle it, then,
the syllable snapped
between your finger

– Michael Anania, “Rain Dancing”

Broadside of “Rain Dancing” by Michael Anania

Buy this broadside⇒

More info on Michael Anania⇒

Michael Anania is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer who also boasts a distinguished editorial career. He has published twelve collections of poems and his essays have been collected in 1991’s In Plain Sight: Obsessions, Morals and Domestic Laughter. A committed modernist, Anania’s work reflects a wide range of beliefs, settings, and styles.

Amichai, Yehuda 1983

Friday, December 2, 1983
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Vintage poster of Yehuda Amichai's reading at the Poetry Center of Chicago.

Vintage poster of Yehuda Amichai’s reading at the Poetry Center of Chicago.

You too belong to another summer
the land’s soft underbelly is you too,
dry grass in the hair,
chaff stuck to a warm thigh,
oil of stillness on the forehead
and the smell of thirsty earth
in the hollow of your eyes.

Yehuda Amichai, “Rain in a Foreign Land”

Continue reading this poem⇒

Read this interview with Yehuda Amichai from the Paris Review:

The Art of Poetry No. 44

Photograph by Hana Amichai Born in Würzburg, Germany in 1924, Yehuda Amichai emigrated to Palestine with his Orthodox Jewish family in 1936. During World War II he fought with the Palestinian brigade of the British army in the Middle East, and he served as a commando in the Haganah und…

My father fought their war four years or so,
And did not hate or love his enemies.
Already he was forming me, I know,
Daily, out of his tranquilities;

– Yehuda Amichai, “Sonnet”

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Read this NPR segment on Yehuda Amichai:

Love, War and History: Israel’s Yehuda Amichai

Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai talks to Henry Lyman, in an excerpt from Lyman’s long-running public-radio series Poems to the Listener.

More info on Yehuda Amichai⇒

Called “the most widely translated Hebrew poet since King David,” Yehuda Amichai was born in Germany in 1924 to an Orthodox Jewish family. They immigrated to Jerusalem in 1936, where Amichai would eventually study Hebrew literature at the University of Jerusalem. He published his first book of poetry, Now and in Other Days, in 1955. One of the first poets to write in colloquial Hebrew, he would go on to win multiple international poetry prizes for his work, translated into forty languages. Amichai died in 2000 at age 76.