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LeBlanc, Courtney 2023

Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Blue Hour Reading Series with Courtney LeBlanc and Cynthia Manick
Haymarket House


It’s easy to get lost here—with nothing
but wide open a person can wander
for weeks without finding shelter.
Men have plowed and planted, hoed
and harvested, been nurtured
and broken by this land—it’s not always
my fault but if a farmer doesn’t learn
grief early he’ll never make it.

– Courtney LeBlanc, “The Plains Speak Grief”

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Watch Courtney LeBlanc’s 2023 reading with Cynthia Manick at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Courtney LeBlanc begins at 19:11 minutes.

Because that would at least give me something
to write about. But I think of all the reasons I shouldn’t:
I’d have to wear something other than yoga pants,
have to go somewhere other than the grocery store
or the park because despite romantic comedies, I’m not
meeting anyone there.

– Courtney LeBlanc, “While Trying To Write A Poem I Realize I Have Nothing To Write About SO I Contemplate Having An Affair”

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Listen to Courtney LeBlanc read her poem, “Honey –for Kristen”:

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Check out Courtney LeBlanc’s blog:

Word Perv

Word Perv (noun): One who takes delight and is skilled at constructing, writing or saying naughty phrases or dialogue.

Visit Courtney LeBlanc’s website⇒

Liang, Stephanie 2023

Monday, July 10, 2023
Poetry @ the Green with Stephanie Liang
320 S. Canal


The overgrown weeds
                    and wilting wisteria
Defy the winter
                    by daring not to die—
Their seedlings spread,
                    spring, into a mess.

– Stephanie Liang, “Yardwork”

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I would not call myself a Nazi sympathizer—
        What does that word even mean, sympathizer?
But ever since that time in the 4th grade
When my arch nemesis Maureen
Invited me to her birthday party,
I realized I needed to give more people a chance.
You’re probably thinking, well she’s not a Nazi.

– Stephanie Liang, “Birthday Parties and Nazis”

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More info on Stephanie Liang⇒

Leigh, Eugenia 2023

Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Blue Hour Reading Series with CM Burroughs and Eugenia Leigh
Haymarket House


My baby brandishes a wooden knife
meant to halve a wooden shallot
as he hollers his newest word. Knife.
Look at my son, flashing
his dagger, jamming it into plush
animals. Knife, knife. Look at him,
oblivious to the weapons
littering his lineage or, God forbid,
possessed by them.

– Eugenia Leigh, “Glossolalia”

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Watch Eugenia Leigh’s 2023 reading with CM Burroughs at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Eugenia Leigh begins at 43:46 minutes.

The rest of us,
trembling among our mothers’
bargain trench coats, waited
for Narnia. There, we dreamed
we were the children
of lions. Heirs to our own beds.

– Eugenia Leigh, “Children of Lions”

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Watch Eugenia Leigh in conversation with Patricia Smith:

Read Eugenia Leigh’s interview with Frontier Poetry:

Poet in the Mirror: Eugenia Leigh | Frontier Poetry – Exploring the Edges of Contemporary Poetry

We’re so proud to share some insight into the lives and hearts of today’s poets with our Poet In The Mirror series. This month, Eugenia Leigh-author of Bianca (available now from Four Way Books)-shares insight into process, writing as an…

More info on Eugenia Leigh⇒

Lam, Kien 2023

Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Blue Hour Reading Series with Danni Quintos and Kien Lam
Haymarket House


Bags of ice drip from the back of a small bike
in Vietnam. The exhaust pipe rumbles. The man
sweats. My tongue melts. We are lucky we are not tiny
starving polar bears slipping off the last refuge
of ice into the black asphalt. The open
ocean. Or I should say we are lucky
the coming flood is incremental.

– Kien Lam, “Almost”

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Watch Kien Lam’s 2023 reading with Danni Quintos at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Kien Lam begins at 39:08 minutes.

A hangover is a kind of prayer in which your last drink is the blood of the Lord, which is you, which is not a sustainable method of consumption. A cow can’t drink from its own utter. The body doesn’t move by itself.

– Kien Lam, “Zuihitsu”

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Watch Kien Lam perform his poetry:

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Lin, Willie 2022

Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Blue Hour Reading Series with Willie Lin and Dipika Mukherjee
Haymarket House


No one wanted to do it, no one wanted
to look at a thing so large, helpless
to die or live, not knowing what to ask for itself.
To imagine an after. Even less to change it.

– Willie Lin, “A Story Ending with an Offering”

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Watch Willie Lin’s 2022 reading with Dipika Mukherjee at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Willie Lin begins at 11:29 minutes.

Already, the crops are failing.
The crows shuttling back and forth,
breaking branches, dropping stones.
How easy to read sadness
into the empty room. It is yours.

– Willie Lin, “Birth”

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Legaspi, Joseph 2022

Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Blue Hour Reading Series with Sarah Gambito and Joseph Legaspi


You’ve come disguised, hair
upswept, eyes two shades
murkier than petroleum,
a face I’ve never seen but know

– Joseph Legaspi, “Night”

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Watch Joseph Legaspi’s 2022 reading with Sarah Gambito at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Joseph Legaspi begins at 13:52 minutes.

The gowns and dresses hang
like fleece in their glaring
whiteness, sheepskin-softness,
the ruffled matrimonial love in which the brides-
in-waiting dance around, expectantly,
hummingbirds to tulips. I was dragged here:
David’s Bridal, off the concrete-gray arterial
highways of a naval town.

– Joseph Legaspi, “At the Bridal Shop”

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Watch Joseph Legaspi read as part of’s P.O.P series:

Read Joseph Legaspi’s interview with The Creative Independent:

Joseph O. Legaspi on living the life of a poet

Poet Joseph O. Legaspi discusses the experience of studying poetry in the Philippines, how the notion of community continues to evolve and influence his work, and what it means to live and work as a poet in New York City.

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Low, Lisa 2022

Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Blue Hour Reading Series with Carlina Duan and Lisa Low


But in the privacy
of my own home, I stroke my hair
like a hipster who wants wisdom
from his beard. I can’t stop admiring
myself to my husband, who isn’t
as amazed as I am about follicles containing
2 or 3 strands, or the different lengths
of hair like actual grass. My first
female friend with armpit hair was beautiful
and, of course, white, and I lived for a few years
in a town full of organic gardening, armpit hair,
and white feminism.

– Lisa Low, “Ode to Armpit Hair”

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Watch Lisa Low’s 2022 reading with Carlina Duan at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Lisa Low begins at 19:02 minutes.

Read Lisa Low’s interview with The Massachusetts Review:

10 Questions for Lisa Low

Massachusetts Review

In childhood, I watched strangers speak in slow motion to my mother in a language she started learning when she was five. I watched their lips—their eyebrows like someone holding a toy out to a child.

– Lisa Low, “My Mother’s Body in America”

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Listen to Lisa Low speak with Su Cho and Marianne Chan on The Poetry Magazine Podcast:

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Lee, Viola 2021

Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Reading Series with Viola Lee and Sun Yung Shin


O, I won’t write about the corn cob buildings
or Oak Street Beach
beyond sidewalk and trees.
O, instead
let me write about the Lavendaria
on the corner of Armitage Avenue
and Kedzie
where the other day I saw
a little boy
pushing his infant sister
in one of those metal clothes carts on wheels.

– Viola Lee, “Wild Abandon”

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Watch Viola Lee’s 2021 reading with Sun Yung Shin at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Viola Lee begins at 4:10 minutes.

Out of poems written by the where and when
Out of everything has become a fever again
Out of dark, light, need for the night
Out of hot, cold, can’t get it right
Out of bargaining for up and down rides
Out of poems and lions standing close to their pride
Out of pomegranates are what one craves
Out of the stomach of fire are the lines seeds pave

– Viola Lee, “A Lightening of Storms”

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Watch Viola Lee read some of her poems at Poetry Foundation’s Open Door series:

More info on Viola Lee⇒