Poetry Foundation’s May 2015 Events

The following events are free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis. These spring events take place at Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street, Chicago unless otherwise specified.  More information about our events is available at poetryfoundation.org/programs/ events.


Be sure to also visit the Poetry Foundation gallery for The Chicago 77, a single, hand-made edition of a 77-line poem comprised of found text and objects from each of Chicago’s 77 community areas.


Poetry Foundation May 2015 Events

(recently added events are in bold)


The Chicago 77
First Friday Gallery Reception
Friday, May 1, 6 pm – 9 pm

Join us at the First Friday gallery reception for The Chicago 77 exhibition at Poetry Foundation. The evening features include tabletop games, video screenings, and tunes by J. Johari Palacio aka Basis aka Perpetual Rebel aka The Bored Enthusiast—plus refreshments.



Poetry off the Shelf
Poesia en Abril
Saturday, May 2, 7 pm

The annual bilingual festival Poesía en Abril returns to the Poetry Foundation for readings by two of its featured poets. Olvido García Valdés is the author of a dozen collections of poetry, including Y todos estábamos vivos, which won Spain’s National Poetry Prize in 2007, as well as books of translation, prose, and art criticism. Distinguished Mexican poet and translator Héctor Carreto has won the prestigious Luis Cernuda and Aguascalientes National Poetry prizes.

Co-sponsored by contratiempo, Instituto Cervantes, and DePaul University


Poetry off the Shelf
Tim Seibles
Wednesday, May 6, 7 pm

Tim Seibles is the author of several collections of poetry, including Hurdy-Gurdy, Buffalo Head Solos, and Fast Animal, which won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and was nominated for a 2012 National Book Award. He has taught at Old Dominion University, the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program, and at Cave Canem.


Poetry off the Shelf
Middle East Poetry Festival
Saturday, May 9, 2 pm

Peace! In these troubled times, will we ever achieve peace for ourselves, our families, our community, our world? Hear Iraqi and other Middle Eastern poets describe what peace means to them in their own language.

Co-sponsored with the Iraqi Mutual Aid Society


Poetry off the Shelf
A. Van Jordan
Tuesday, May 12, 7 pm

A. Van Jordan was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. His collections of poetry include Rise (2001), which won a PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award and was selected for the Book of the Month Club of the Academy of American Poets; M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A (2005), which received the Anisfield-Wolf Award; and Quantum Lyrics (2007).


Poetry off the Shelf
Kundiman Reading
Thursday, May 14, 7 pm

The Poetry Foundation partners with Kundiman, a national organization that supports Asian American writers, to present a reading by Kundiman faculty and fellows Li-Young Lee, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Eugenia Leigh, and Helene Achanzar.

Co-sponsored with Kundiman


The Open Door Reading
Eastern Illinois University’s Charlotte Pence & Derick Ledermann / DePaul University’s David Welch & Laura Wagner
Tuesday, May 19, 7 pm

The Open Door series presents work from Chicago’s new and emerging poets and highlights the area’s outstanding writing programs. Each hourlong event features readings by two Chicagoland writing program instructors and two of their current or recent students.


Harriet Reading Series
Literature for All of Us Poetry Bash
Friday, May 22, 1:00 pm

Youth come together to share parts of their lives and their perspectives on the world in poetic verse. Literature for All of Us invites you to come join us as they demand songs of peace and ask that we paint them in their true colors.


Harriet Reading Series
Lecture by Jon Leon
Thursday, May 28, 6:30 pm

The Harriet Reading Series features talks, performances, and readings by poets whose work has appeared on Harriet, the Poetry Foundation’s blog. Writer and critic Jon Leon is the author of The Malady of the Century, Elizabeth Zoë Lindsay Drink Fanta, The Hot Tub, and a number of privately issued titles and special editions.


Inna Faliks & Jesse Ball at Piano Forte
Friday, May 29, 7:30 pm
PianoForte Studios
1335 South Michigan Avenue

Created by acclaimed pianist Inna Faliks, Music/Words is an interdisciplinary performance series that explores the connections between poetry and music in the form of a live recital and reading with prize-winning novelist and poet Jesse Ball.

Co-sponsored with PianoForte Foundation