November in the U.S. hangs heavy with the legacy of imperialism like dead leaves clinging to a rain-soaked tree. Even as we gather to reflect back on the year and express our gratitude for our various privileges, we are also commemorating the beginnings of a country founded on genocide. Rather than drown in guilt about our problematic history or let Thanksgiving float by unacknowledged, take the opportunity to look outward. Through these events, explore the historical connection between writing and revolution, contemplate the function of writing as a vehicle for exploring contemporary fallout from centuries of colonialism and conquest, and confront your own privilege.
Arts and the Nuclear Age: Takako Arai and Jeffrey Angles - Wednesday, November 1st, 5:00 p.m.
Japanese poet Takako Arai and Western Michigan University professor of Japanese and translation Jeffrey Angles will be reading their poetry on Wednesday, November 1st at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center, Seminar Terrace 801. Arai’s writing explores the lives of working women within the context of globalization, economic struggles, and other contemporary issues. The event is free and open to the public.
Red Press: Radical Print Culture from St. Petersburg to Chicago - Ongoing throughout November, Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Ever wonder how written materials can spur and stoke revolution? Attend this free exhibition on Bolshevik Revolution-era print culture at the University of Chicago Regenstein Library’s Special Collections Research Center to peruse broadsides, pamphlets, periodicals, and posters propagating both revolutionary and anti-revolutionary ideas.
Malu Halasa, Mother of All Pigs, in Conversation with Adam Morgan - Friday, November 3rd, 6:00 p.m.
Jordanian-Filipina American writer and editor Malu Halasa will be discussing her novel Mother of All Pigs with Chicago Review of Books Editor-in-Chief Adam Morgan at 57th Street Books (5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.) on November 3rd, 6:00 p.m. The book follows the Jordanian Sabas family as they handle the ripples of the Syrian conflict, a plague of Evangelical tourists, and the family’s own internal power struggles. The event is free and open to the public, so add it to your calendar for a thoughtful Friday evening.
Poetry Reading: Danez Smith & Eve Ewing - Saturday, November 4th, 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Women and Children First (5233 N. Clark St.) will host a November 4th reading by black queer writer and performer Danez Smith and Dr. Eve Ewing, sociologist of education focused on racism, social inequality, and urban policy. Smith and Ewing will be reading from their recently published collections, Don’t Call Us Dead (Smith) and Electric Arches (Ewing). Smith deals with HIV and police violence against black men, and Ewing centers on black girlhood and womanhood in her essays, visual art, and first collection of poems. While the event is free and open to the public, running 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., it is sure to be popular, so plan to arrive early!
Weeds Poetry Open Mic - Every Monday, November 6th-27th, 9:30 p.m.
Every Monday night at 9:30 p.m. this November, The Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia) is home to the Weeds Poetry Open Mic. Chicago’s self-professed longest-running, wildest poetry series invites anyone to step up to the mic: “We don’t care about your reputation—just your poetry.” Participants ages 21+ will have five minutes to read three poems of their choosing.
Book Launch Party: Subject to Change: Trans Poetry & Conversation - Wednesday, November 8th, 7:30 p.m.
Subject to Change is an anthology edited by H. Melt featuring poetry and interviews from Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Christopher Soto, beyza ozer, Cameron Awkward-Rich, and Kay Ulanday Barrett, five trans poets. The editor will be joined in conversation by queer/trans/Muslim contributor beyza ozer, bilingual South Korean immigrant author of What About the Rest of Your Life Sung Yim, and black trans artist, activist, and educator Vita E. The event will take place on November 8th, 7:30 p.m. at Women and Children First (5233 N. Clark St.).
Author Reading: QUEER CLOUT by Timothy Stewart Winter (paperback tour) - Friday, November 10th, 7:30 p.m.
Scholar Timothy Stewart Winter will be at Women and Children First (5233 N. Clark St.) on November 10th, 7:30 p.m. for a free reading, audience Q&A, and book signing of his award-winning Queer Clout: Chicago and the Rise of Gay Politics, now out in paperback. The book follows the trajectory of Chicago’s gay movement from the ’50s onward and is the recipient of the American Historical Association’s Committee on LGBT History’s 2017 John Boswell Prize for the outstanding book in the field of LGBT history.
Open Mic Night at City Lit Books - Wednesday, November 15th, 6:30 p.m.
Fight the first-frost doldrums with a little live lit and hit up the City Lit Books Open Mic Night on November 15th to share, cheer, or just contemplatively eat snacks. You know there’s something you’ve been meaning to read. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at 2523 N. Kedzie Blvd.
Artists Connect: Fatimah Asghar - Thursday, November 16th, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Engage with art as a vehicle to your own creative expression and learn from another artist’s perspective on November 16th as Pakistani, Kashmiri, Muslim American poet Fatimah Asghar responds to work featured in the Art Institute of Chicago’s galleries for Islamic Art. Asghar’s work has been featured everywhere from Teen Vogue and BuzzFeed to The Offing and NPR, and she has spent time studying theater in post-genocidal countries as a Fulbright Scholar. The event will take place from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Gallery 50 (111 South Michigan Avenue) and is free with museum admission.