Literature can be an escape or an inspiration—and if it’s good literature, it’s both. Check out these literary events curated by the Stomping Ground staff to inspire, reminisce, and find unity in the city.
February 1: City Lit Books hosts the Six Points Reading Series event celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Rhino Poetry. The event will feature authors Vu Tran, Tara Stringfellow, and RJ Eldridge. Vu Tran is the author of Dragonfish, a novel about a Vietnamese immigrant to the United States and teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago. Stringfellow is the author of the poetry collection More than Dancing, and is an MFA Candidate at Northwestern University. Read her poem, “hot combs catfish crumbs and bad men” here.
February 2: Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial: Our Miss Brooks 100: Celebrating the legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks, the Art Institute is hosting Our Miss Brooks 100, an evening of readings from five African American poets: Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, Natasha Trethewey, Tracy K. Smith, and Gregory Pardlo.
February 13: The Poetry Foundation is hosting the Poetry off the Shelf series, featuring Angel Nafis and Shira Erlichman. Nafis is the author of BlackGirl Mansion and is an MFA Candidate in poetry at Warren Wilson College. Read her poem “Ode to Shea Butter” here.
Erlichman is a multimedia artist living in Brooklyn. Read her poem “Ode To Lithium #13: Snakes In Your Arms” here.
February 19: The Guild Literary Complex, in collaboration with International Cities of Refuge Network and PEN International, will launch the Chicago City of Refuge project. According to the Guild Literary Complex the exiled writers “have chosen to make Chicago their new home where they can live, work, and write in freedom and dignity.” This event will feature Unoma Azuah, an exiled writer from Nigeria, and Osama Alomar, an exiled writer from Syria.
February 21: The Open Door Readings for February feature Eric Plattner, Logan Breitbart, Toby Altman, and Kathryn West. Eric Plattner is a professor at DePaul University and a founding member of the collective, Poems While You Wait. Toby Altman is a PhD candidate at Northwestern University, as well as a poet, playwright, and literary scholar. Find their work here.
February 21: The Guild Literary Complex will launch it's revamped program, Applied Words, at the Chopin Theatre with it's first event of the series, "Segregation and Education in Chicago." The night includes a reading curated by Ladan Osamn that will feature Aricka Foreman, Christian LaJon, and Keith Wilson. Along with the reading, Kevin Coval, Founder/Director of Young Chicago Authors, will be leading a panel of experts on education policy and artists alike in a discussion into the future of schools in Chicago and nationwide.