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dateline: Chicago, June 2004

Poetry's in. School's out.
And so are the city's writers.

June busts open with a downtown streetfair packed with live lit' offerings, and a particular emphasis on LGBT/Q literature in celebration of Queer Pride. If it's new or foreign to you, don't fear. We edit our page so you won't have to edit your gaze.

live lit' in the streets...

Printer's Row Book Fair:
5 thru 6 June 2004

Chicago's twentieth annual South Loop street fair for the literati (and friends) boasts a remarkable list of authors and publishing personalities this year, from cooking maestro Rick Bayless to Pulitzer Prize winner William Taubman, with stops along the alphabet for Chicago-raised author Stuart Dybek, cartoonist Jules Feiffer, essayist/novelist Gish Jen, novelist Audrey Niffenegger, and (once) Chicago's own poet Luis Rodriguez. The Printer's Row Book Fair is Chicago's first major outdoor fête of summer, and is billed by its chief presenter, the Chicago Tribune, as the largest free literary event in the American Midwest. It's a happy celebration of all good things to read.

Regular features of the Fair include special presentations at the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Tent, the Nelson Algren Reading Room, and at the Grace Place meeting hall. Check out readings and booths featuring After Hours Press, Visit booksellers from the city, the region and beyond, such as Highlights of Chicago Press & Proud Books, Rhino poetry magazine, the Illinois Women's Press Association, Literacy Chicago, Other Voices fiction magazine, Free Lunch poetry journal, iUniverse Books on Demand, The Tall Grass Writers Guild and Outrider Press, and many, many others.

the 20th annual Printer's Row Book Fair
sponsored by the Chicago Tribune
10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, the weekend of 5 - 6 June, 2004
South Dearborn Avenue, below Congress Boulevard (South Loop)
For complete details, consult the official website,

literature online, in print, and on mic

Zine fest in the public schools
on 5 June

If you're not downtown at Printer's Row on 5 June, get to Kelvyn Park High School on the West Side. There, you'll find teachers, kids, workshop leaders, zine publishers and artists, collaborting in a full program designed to jumpstart and empower young writers in self-publishing, and teach a few career-wise skills along the way.

Brent Ritzel, zine guide and organizer for the Self-Publishers' Event Council, announced this program to in late May. Workshops cover crafts in print publishing, audio production, and visual arts. Panels with working zine and independent publishers will cover distribution issues, politics, and career options in publishing.

See the addendum to this Newswire for the full details on the festival, table space to represent your organization, and networking opportunities for students, zine publishers, and educators.

Blithe House announces all-Chicago
queer fiction issue

Regular e-poets readers are no strangers to Blithe House Quarterly. As a neighbor, just across our e-lit' cul de sac by the Information Superhighway, is proud to say Blithe House is a well-known and -recognized publisher of short fiction by LGBT/Q artists. The small online press has won recognition from OUT Magazine, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and numerous other publishers, on-line and off-, for the quality fiction that keeps growing on the Blithe House website. Click deeper there, and you'll find eight years' worth of collected, original, queer fiction. And it isn't pulp. It's prime.

Blithe House advertises itself as, "where queer fiction lives." asked BHQ executive editor and publisher Aldo Alvarez, what "queer fiction" means to him. Follow his response to that and other questions about Blithe House in the Aldo Alvarez interview in our Plain Text section.

Blithe House Quarterly at Quimby's Bookstore
7:00 PM, Friday, 18 June 2004
1854 W North Avenue, Chicago (Bucktown/Wicker Park)
featuring Dave Awl, Kurt Heintz, Karen Lee Osborne, and K.R. Randen
MC'd by BHQ publisher Aldo Alvarez
For details, consult the Blithe House website.

Homecoming at Unabridged Books:
David Sedaris

Humorist David Sedaris, author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and Naked, will read from and sign copies of his hilarious new collection of essays, Dress Your Family in Cordury and Denim. "Playwright, author, radio star, and retired elf David Sedaris may be the most brilliantly witty New Yorker since Dorothy Parker," said New York Magazine. Well sure, except that you can hardly call him a "New Yorker" now that he lives in France.

Sedaris lived for many years right here in Chicago, and was an occasional feature at performance and spoken word revues at Club Lower Links, circa 1990. He would often share the mic -- and the personae of his stories -- with his sister, in team readings that devastated the audiences with laughter. contributor Natalie Kenvin remembers sedaris was once in a writers' group with her before that. While she did say that Sedaris was once quite serious as a younger writer, even then she saw that his texts were rich and full of character.

Unabridged Bookstore was one of Sedaris's neighborhood hangouts, so the store is pleased as all get-out to welcome him back. His books remain among the Unabridged's best-sellers every week. And his CD Live At Carnegie Hall is the only CD carried at this strictly book bookstore. Sedaris's previous readings at Unabridged have been standing-room-only. For more information on this event, or to reserve a signed copy of Dress Your Family in Cordury and Denim, call Unabridged Bookstore at 773-883-9119.

David Sedaris at Unabridged Books
Friday, 4 June at 7:00 PM
3251 N Broadway, Chicago (Lakeview)
This event is free and open to the public. Space is limited.
Call 773-883-9119 for more information.

Spoon River Poetry Review
features Tony Trigilio, Illinois Poet

Poet Tony Trigilio has enjoyed a particularly fruitful spring. At AWP, he launched Court Green with fellow Columbia College faculty editors David Trinidad and Arielle Greenberg. But spring had one more limelight to cast upon Trigilio.

The spring 2004 of Spoon River Poetry Review issue features Trigilio as their Illinois Poet for 2004. The good news came in the mail. Trigilio explains, "I submitted several poems awhile back. Lucia Cordell Getsi, who edits the magazine along with Gabe Gudding, sent me a note soon afterwards, saying that the she'd like to take them all for the Spring '04 Illinois feature spot." This is not a trivial mention for the magazine, and is definitely appreciated by Trigilio, who continues, "With 17 pages of poetry, not quite chapbook-length, it's a chance to speak to a wider variety of voices than you do when you just publish a few poems in a journal. Gabe's interview with me, too, was a nice way to introduce the work. Also, as feature Illinois poet, I feel the warmth of place -- the way the feature identifies me as part of Illinois, places me right here."

Trigilio hadn't published in Spoon River before, but, he says, "I'd always admired it. Spoon River strives for a wide aesthetic, a broad range of different types of poets, and I've always gravitated toward writing and music that's eclectic in this way. The feature in each issue is great, too, because the interview with the featured poet gives you a chance to see the relationship between that person's poetics and the poetry, at the same time that it humanizes the writer even more."

Spoon River is published at Illinois State University, an has been in continuous publication since 1974. The journal offers fine poetry from both established and emerging poets from the United States and around the world. All work is published in English. Trigilio, who wrote the introduction to ruth weiss in the Book of Voices, is joined by other contributors in the current issue of Spoon River, Jared Smith and Nina Corwin.

Spoon River is available by yearly subscription. Institutional subscriptions are $18, while individual subscriptions are $15. Subscribe through Or send a check or money order (made out to The Spoon River Poetry Review):

Lucia Cordell Getsi, Editor
The Spoon River Poetry Review
4240 Department of English
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-4240

Include your name and the address to where you’d like your subscription delivered.

in video...

High Falls: call for films and videos
by and for women

The fourth annual High Falls Film Festival, dedicated to celebrating the work of women in film, is soliciting shorts (adults and children’s) of 30 minutes or less for this year’s event, to be held in Rochester, New York on November 10-14, 2004. The Festival seeks original films and videos that include women in key roles such as director, writer, producer and cinematographer. There is no fee, and no honorarium. Deadline: 10 September, 2004. Application forms are available and are downloadable from the festival web site at

Send submissions (1/2" VHS in NTSC format or DVD only) to Karen vanMeenen, Shorts Programmer, or Ruth Cowing, Children’s Programmer, High Falls Film Festival, 45 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604.

across genres...

Dyke March: when a
parade becomes an art fest

Chicago Dyke March / Rally 2004 presents "CROSS THIS: how LGBTQ people create/cross boundaries", an evening about jumping cultural and gender boundaries. The featured performer is Dr. Laila Farah, a Lebanese-American feminist performer-scholar, who navigates ideas of nation, gender, and sexuality with innovative performance. The political thrust of her performance comes from a critical and dynamic questioning of US imperialism, Americana, and apathy.

Also on this evening is a screening of "Little Boy Panties." The film explores gender labels in our current society, and poses the question, "Is your gender as easy to change as your underwear?" Hmm...! Be one of the first to see this innovative documentary that promises not to leave any tan-lines.

This event benefits the Chicago Dykemarch/Rally 2004. It convenes Wednesday, 16 June, at Chase cafe, 7301 N sheridan Road (Rogers Park) Chicago. The event begins at 6:30 PM. Donations are on a sliding scale, from $5 to $10. For further info, dial 773-250-7876.

HotHouse: original jazz & writers

What could be more natural than talk of jazz instigated by great writers? The "Conversations with Composers/Chicago Now" series will wrap up at HotHouse this month. The program combines artists' words with their music in a mixture of public interviews and performances. The HotHouse is recording these interviews and performances before live audiences during this seven-week concert series, and will issue a compilation CD. Some of the jazz musicians who've appeared to date are Von Freeman, Fred Anderson, Niki Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble, Mwata Bowden's Sound Spectrum, and Michael Zerang performing with Hamid Drake. Interviewers have included Arlene Crawford, Michael Warr, and Sterling Plumpp.

All events are at the HotHouse, 31 E Balbo, between State Street and Wabash Avenue, Chicago (South Loop). Phone 312-362-9707 or click to the Conversations page for more info.

7 June at 6:30 PM - Ari Brown, Harrison Bankhead, Jodie Christian, Vincent Davis
Interviewed by Travis Jackson.
This show is free, and open to all Ages.

14 June at 6:30 PM - Ed Wilkerson and 8 Bold Souls
Interviewed by Timuel Black.
This show is free, and open to all Ages.

18 June at 8:00 PM - The Roscoe Mitchell Quartet
with special guest Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls.
Interviewed by Mark Ruffin.
21 and older only; $20 admission.

on the spoken word landscape...

Irish poet from County Cork claims prize:
a trip to Chicago

The Cúirt International Festival of Literature, sponsored by the Galway Arts Centre, ran from 20 through 25 April. It is one of Ireland’s foremost literary festivals, drawing upon the strong literary traditions of that country. The festival annually invites national and international writers, academics, authors and poets to Galway to participate in a week-long celebration of the written word through readings, lectures, workshops, discussions and performances.

This year, as part of the festival, a poetry slam took place. It was the third such Grand Slam in Ireland, marking the high point in Galway Arts Centre’s monthly Poetry Slam events. In 2003, the winner of the Grand Slam Galway travelled to Paris to take part in the European Slam. This year, the winner is...

... Trish Casey, raised in the harbor town of Cobh in County Cork, who currently lives in Galway. She was recently selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions series. Last year she won the Performance Prize in the RTE (Irish national broadcasting) Rattlebag Slam at the Dublin Writers’ Festival.

Casey's prize for winning the Grand Slam at the Cúirt International Festival is an expense-paid trip to Chicago to perform before the Uptown Poetry Slam at the Green Mill, over the Memorial Day weekend. If you can't be in Uptown then, she also has a performance at the Chicago Cultural Center (downtown, Michigan Avenue at Randolph Street), on Wednesday, 2 June, at 12:15pm at the Randolph Café. This program is free, and open to the public. See what the best of slam is like from Ireland, and why Annie Proulx has named Trish Casey, "... a wonderful poet."

The Partly Dave Show, 9 June:
The Pansy Kings ride again!

From 1994-1997, the Pansy Kings' annual showcase The Pansy Kings' Cotillion played to packed houses, billing itself as "the ultimate sampler pack of the gay male performance scene." The Chicago Reader dubbed them "The Sultans of Swish." The Windy City Times called them "Sort of a queer vaudeville ... except naturally, ever so much more fabulous."

The Partly Dave Show: The Pansy Kings' Summer Soireé in honor of GLBT Pride Month, will feature all of the original Pansy Kings: monologist David Kodeski, playwright Edward Thomas-Herrera, Kurt Heintz of, novelist Robert Rodi, and Dave Awl as host. The lineup will also include writer, journalist, and recent Book of Voices featured artist Gregg Shapiro, and Partly Dave Show regular (and e-poets Plain Text contributor) Christopher Piatt. Live music will be provided by Anthony Whitaker.

Showtime is 8:00 PM on Wednesday, June 9. Admission is $7 or "pay what you can." The Partly Dave Show ("Not your everyday horse-frightening cabaret excursion") happens the second Wednesday of the month at 8pm, at the venerable No Exit Café (6970 N. Glenwood) in Rogers Park. For more info, click to the Partly Dave website or call No Exit at 773-743-3355.

And another Partly Dave Show:
26 - 27 June at the Neo-Futurarium

The Neo-Futurists have invited Dave Awl to do a special GLBT Pride Month edition of Partly Dave at The Neo-Futurarium. The show's called "The P Word" -- the theme is "Performances Pertaining to Pride (and other words that start with P)." The bill includes Jay Torrence and Sharon Greene from the current generation of Neo-Futurists, plus Venus Zarris, Murray McKay, Christopher Piatt of course, and music by Ellen Rosner's band. All admissions for "The P Word" will be donated to the ACLU's Gay and Lesbian Project.

Showtime is 7:00pm (note the early start time!) at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland, Chicago (Foster & Ashland intersection; Andersonville). Admission is $7 or pay what you can. This show is also previewed on The Partly Dave Show page.

Salach & Ten Tongues: A Wide Arc
CD release set for 6 June

Cin Salach and Ten Tongues are about to add another chapter to their collective history of music and performance poetry. "A Wide Arc" is the title of their new audio CD, which follows on years of live performance and experimentation since "Taste," released in 1999. Time flies! You can click to the Book of Voices to get a taste of Taste, before catching the show at the Green Mill. Compared to "Taste," the musical elements of "A Wide Arc" are expected to sound more like trance music. That kind of aural ambience should be quite harmonius with Salach's poetry. The style may also be trending with other new recordings in spoken word that has been previewing lately, putting Ten Tongues once again on the front edge of spoken word from Chicago.

Salach proudly says, "This is our first full-length CD, and it has been on my list of things to do for 15 years! It sure took us a while to get it together, but I'm really happy with it." The disc's release party will recognize Salach's longstanding collaboration with Mark Howell, a musician and sound artist who has worked with Salach, Mark Messing, and others in the ensemble since well before Ten Tongues' founding. Howell's aural contributions to Salach's poetry date back to the late 1980s.

The tribute to Howell will not necessarily mark an end to his involvement in the group. New media allow for a more dispersed approach to collaborations. Salach explains, "Mark Howell will be working with us long distance after this gig, as he is moving to North Carolina. So this release is a celebration of that collaboration." Why the life-changing transition for Howell and his wife Kae? A change of pace, says Salach, who indicates that they'll be running a bed and breakfast inn, after working in print, design, and multimedia in the Chicago market for nearly two decades.

Cin Salach & Ten Tongues celebrate the CD release of "A Wide Arc" in a performance on Sunday, June 6th at the Green Mill, at Lawrence & Broadway (Uptown), Chicago. Performance begins at 8:00 PM. Open mic starts an hour before, and the world-famous Uptown Poetry Slam follows Ten Tongues' set. This is a 21+ venue with a cover charge; bring proof of age on a valid ID.

Danny's Reading Series on 9 June:
Edgar and Unferth

Danny's Reading Series continues into summer with poetry by Chris Edgar new fiction by Deb Olin Unferth.

Chris Edgar's poems have appeared in Double Change, The Germ, Shiny, Great American Prose Poems, Best American Poetry 2000 and 2001, and other journals and anthologies. He won the Boston Review poetry prize in 2000. His first collection, At Port Royal, was published this past fall by Adventures in Poetry. He is an editor of The Hat, the translator of Tolstoy as Teacher: Leo Tolstoy's Writings on Education, and Publications Director of Teachers & Writers Collaborative. He currently lives in New York City.

Deb Olin Unferth's work appears or is forthcoming in Harper's, NOON, Fence, 3rd bed, the Denver Quarterly, the Colorado Review, StoryQuarterly, and other journals. She is a founding editor of the literary annual Parakeet.

Danny’s is located at 1951 W Dickens in Chicago (Bucktown), and is a 21 and over venue; please bring ID. Phone the venue at 773-489-6057. For details on the Series, visit, or call 312-622-1237. Reading is on Wednesday, June 9th at 7:30 PM.

22 June at Women & Kids:
Annual LBGT Pride Reading

Anticipated with pleasure each year for Pride Month, Women and Children First Books' LGBT "Open Mic" collects a who's-who among Chicago's queer literati, with writers gathered from fiction, poetry, and performance/narrative schools. This year will definitely live up to the standards of years past, with featured readings by journalist and erstwhile monologuist Kirk Williamson, Lisa Hemminger, Columbia College's David Trinidad, Antonia Randolph, Duriel Harris, and Carlos Mock. Making an encore here (after the Pansy Kings' show above) is Chicago Free Press columnist Gregg Shapiro, who has been the guiding force behind these readings as chief curator and organizer for many years. Sample the Pride 2000 readings for an audible glimpse a the past, then come out to hear this year's artists. Even if you're straight as an arrow, you'll find something to like here. This program always features an enjoyable, diverse, and critically astute bill, with a house that welcomes all, regardless of gender and preference.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004 7:30 PM
free, at Women and Children First Books
5233 N. Clark, Chicago (Andersonville)
To guarantee a space for your own poem or short prose piece on the open mic, call at the store at 773-769-9299.

For details about the store and other live lit' events there, consult the Women & Children First website.

a first in Chicago:
PolyRhythmic release new DVD

Ezekiel Brown, that guy with the natty camcorder at the Trace, brought us some interesting news in May. Brown is one of the PolyRhythmic group's founders, and has been bringing his filmmaking skills to bear on some of the group's projects. The PolyRhythmic website has been accumulating much of his media output, and is one of only a very few originating in Chicago ( among them) to feature performance poetry video clips. And now his filmmaking skills are being brought to bear on DVD production with the group's premiere disc, the Best of Safe Smiles, volume 1.

The enterprising PolyRhythmic group anchor are known for their Tuesday night performance poetry open-mic at the Trace club, in Chicago's Wrigleyville, and interdisciplinary partnerships in their poetry revues. In the group's fuller productions, painters, musicians, and DJs have lended their talents alongside the poets. They count among their alumni Kelly Tsai, Patrick Sanchez, Jerome Manansala, and Nikki Patin. Current members in the group include Zeeshan Shah, Mike Green, and Drew Perfilio, who has recently scored a spot on the Mental Graffiti national slam team.


PolyRhythmic: Safe Smiles vol 1.
the new DVD compilation by the PolyRhythmic poetry collective of Chicago

Brown's efforts are paying off in claiming new creative territory for performance poetry in Chicago. To the best of this writer's knowledge, PolyRhythmic's is the first poetry anthology DVD ever produced in this city. Bridge Magazine issued a companion DVD with an issue of their magazine last year, but that issue was about cinema and drew contributions primarily from experimental and established filmmakers. PolyRhythmic's DVD, by comparison, is an autonomous, grass-roots effort. It is built from the group's collaborative output in music, poetry, and performance. The camera that Brown and colleagues have manned at the back of the club has been quietly collecting open mic material and featured performances from the collective's members for months. This first DVD is the distillation of the group's favorite moments. As a glimpse into the stage life of PolyRhythmic, the disc should prove to be quite a souvenir. Producer Brown promises an "easter egg" is on the disc, too... a little surprise tucked away on a menu screen that you may not notice right away. Click it for the reward.

PolyRhythmic DVD: the Best of Safe Smiles, volume 1 is available in June 2004, priced under $20. Contact PolyRhythmic through their website or by attending their weekly featured readings and open mics at the Trace, between Grace and Addison, just north of Wrigley Field in Chicago. Open mike starts at 10:00 PM on Tuesday nights. Recommended donation at the open mic: $3. PolyRhythmic also offer their own brand merchandise through

Mental Grafitti for early summer

Few would argue that Mental Graffiti is a great place to chill, listen, and groove on the tunes and tropes. Set in Wicker Park, Chicago, this spoken word venue is home to slam, freestyling hip-hop, and other spoken word traditions. The young and capable Dan Sully hosts, Itch arms the turntables, and Nikki Patin MCs the slam nights. Here's the anticipated line-up in the weeks ahead:

June 7th: "Big Poppa" John Shirk
June 14th: TBA
June 21st: Mike Haeflinger
June 28th: Dove Rock
July 5th: Ghengis Won
July 12th: Anthony R Miller

Mental Graffiti, Mondays at The Big Horse
1558 N Milwaukee, Chicago
(through the restaurant into the bar)
Right off the Damen Blue Line
cover is $5, 21 and older only, starts at 8:00 PM
For the latest info, check Dan Sully's Mental Graffiti page.

Homolatté in June, 2004

Hear queer words and music every Thursday evening, MC'd by Scott Free starting at 8:00 PM at the No Exit Café, 6970 N Glenwood, Chicago (in Rogers Park). This is a "no open mic" venue, featuring one spoken word artist and one singer/songwriter or band each week. Phone the venue at 773-743-3355. See the website for full program details.

New features @

Finally, here are some recent additions to that you may want to check out... a new chapter in the Book of Voices for Shelley Nation, stories and poems by slam champ and multi-artist Robert Karimi, and original audiopoems by John Paul Davis and Paul Nelson. There is much more spoken word and poetry on the way, and not just from Chicago... Count on it!

Thanks for your news and bulletins. Keep 'em coming!

- Kurt Heintz, founder
e-poets network, Chicago

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