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dateline: Chicago, December 2004 surveys poetry affairs in Chicago and elsewhere.

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NYC's Poetry Project announces 31st annual New Year's Day poetry marathon

This auspicious annual affair boasts over 140 poets and performers including Charles Bernstein, Eric Bogosian, John Giorno, Taylor Mead, Sharon Mesmer, Eileen Myles, Dael Orlandersmith, Marc Ribot, Jackie Sheeler, Patti Smith, Edwin Torres, Nick Zedd, and many more. If you could only see one single reading this year, this would be the one. Few others can match the range of artists and artistry heard in this single program.

Beginning at 2:00 pm and continuing until the early hours of the following day, the Poetry Project's 31st Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Reading welcomes (if that’s the right word) the New Year with over 140 writers, musicians, dancers, and artists, all performing and reading their work within the context of a wider culture that surely couldn’t need it more. Many of New York City's and the northeastern seaboard’s most relevant writers and artists will gather in the Sanctuary and Parish Hall of the historic St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery for a day and night of engaged and inflammatory performance — proving that works of nonconformist art and their attendant political hopes and visions can (and must) still exist in our world. Founded in 1966 by the late poet and translator Paul Blackburn, The Poetry Project has been a crucial venue for new and experimental poetries for over three decades.

Tickets at the door are $16, $12 for students and seniors, and $10 for Poetry Project members. Seating is on a decidedly first-come, first-served basis. The event is held at St. Mark's Church, 131 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10003. Refreshments will be more than available. The Poetry Project is wheelchair-accessible with assistance and advance notice. Call 212-674-0910 for more information, or visit the Poetry Project website, which includes and extensive audio and document archives.

Russell Hoban "Some-poasyum"
in London, February 2005

How does one celebrate one of our language's most inventive, living novelists? With a symposium, of course. Hatched recently between Hoban enthusiasts in the UK, Switzerland, the US, New Zealand, and Germany, the first-ever symposium on Russell Hoban will convene in London 11-13 February 2005. Attendees will enjoy round-table discussions on Hoban's work, from The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz to Riddley Walker, to his latest and forthcoming work, Come Dance with Me due in 2005. Trace the footsteps of Hoban's characters through London's streets and underground. Enjoy pub grub and formal dinners with fellow Hoban students, scholars, and fans. And, even meet the maestro himself.

Click to for the full information and registration materials. The event is being hosted in London through The Kraken, a worldwide group of Russell Hoban fans who've borrowed the name from Hoban's enigmatic, plural, typing "presence" in his novel, The Medusa Frequency.


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e-writing fellowship opportunity
at Brown Univ.

December 15, 2004 is the deadline for applying for Brown University's two-year electronic writing fellowship. The fellowship is awarded to a writer working in digital media in order to pursue ewriting in Brown University's prestigious Graduate Program in Literary Arts.

To apply, click to the program's MFA admissions requirements.

new online anthology
from U of C: Otium

otium, n.

Pronunciation: 'O-tE-um'

Etymology: Latin otium

1. Leisure, freedom from business, ease, peace.

2. A new University of Chicago-affiliated online literary magazine currently seeking submissions for its inaugural issue, Winter '05. Focus is on longer works of prose, both fiction and non fiction. Also accepts plays and screen plays. No page or word limits!

Otium originally contacted in mid-November seeking submissions for its inaugural issue in 5 January. The submission deadline passed on 1 December, but we recommend that you keep this submit information handy for future reference... and future issues.

Otium is the new online prose magazine, from the University of Chicago's creative writing program's. It's an online student publication dedicated exclusively to prose: fiction and nonfiction, plays and monologues, screen plays and hypertext. The editor is hoping to create an innovative online magazine that will address U of C student writers' need to publish stories, memoirs, plays, monologues and anything and everything in prose. While Otium's geographical focus is the U of C, it will accept submissions from all over the world.

Send your stories, novel excerpts, novellas, scripts, memoirs, links to videos to the editor. Microsoft Word attachments are the preferred text format. Please include your name and contact info in the document. For questions, contact Achy Obejas.


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anthology on God (or "god"):
call for poetry

A call for submissions for a new anthology was announced in November. The anthology is themed around organized religion and its effect on politics, social, family, and personal life. The publishers want poetry only, and no more than 4 pieces per author, with poems preferably running 30 lines or less. Submission deadline is 4 February 2005. The anthology will be published by A Gathering of the Tribes, New York, who have published Bret Axel, Stacy Ann Chin, and other nationally-touring performance poets.

Send work to:
Att: God
Po. Box 20693
Tompkins Square station
New York, NY 10009

Patricia Smith:
new book out for children

Patricia Smith is quite pleased with the recent release of her new book for kids, Janna and the Kings. According to her it, "... was just named best picture book of 2004 by the Society of School Librarians International. I am jazzed! So if any of you are looking for that special gift for the kids on your list..." should be carrying the book shortly.


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Young Chicago Authors
special event 5 Dec

Young Chicago Authors is one of the city's foremost vehicles for youth literacy through creative writing. The organization has done much for Chicago's writing community, not just by bringing up more than its fair share of strong, new writers, but by also providing paid mentoring opportunities for emerging and newly established adult writers. Each year, YCA hosts a writers showcase for all the creative talents it hosts, students, workshop leaders, and teachers alike.

Sunday, 5 December at 5:00 PM, at the Chicago Historical Society, at North Avenue and Clark Street (Lincoln Park/Old Town area). The event is free, but recommends leaving a generous donation to support YCA's ongoing projects. For more info on YCA, click to their website.

Kwanzaa celebrated with poetry

Harambee na nguzo saba. A collective spirit of Ujamaa emerges in this year's Kwanzaa as people pull together around The Seven Principles. Enjoy music, poetry, dance, feasting -- Kwanzaa is a celebration of the harvest, too -- dance, and an African market with Watoto Village. Share Kwanzaa rituals with friends, hear speakers such as Sarudzayi Sevanhu, and enjoy cultural presenations by Kwame Steve Cobb and Chavunduka, Brill Barrett and M.A.D.D. Rhythms, Brenda Matthews & V.I.B.E., Bro.Blanks & Family of Poetry, Spiritual Journey Percussion Ensemble, Serendipity Percussion Ensemble, Baba Tony & Mama Kucha & Yes Drums.

At Olive-Harvey City College, 10001 South Woodlawn Ave, Chicago. Wednesday, December 29th, 2004 4:00 PM until 10:00 PM. For more information on the event, becoming a vendor or exhibitor call Kwesi Ronald Harris at 312-925-7162.

Friends of wishing an introduction to Kwanzaa may find this independent link very useful, from MelaNet Kwanzaa Information Center.

The Wonder: Tony Fitzpatrick's latest

The Wonder, by Tony Fitzpatrick
Tony Fitzpatrick's book "The Wonder"

As part of the 1980s slam vanguard in Chicago, Tony Fitzpatrick long ago made a name for himself that only began to be noticed among writers. Back then, his poems and stories wove through the lives of corner bullies, boxers, and hardscrabble drunks. Tough people faced with tough times, and not always victorious.

Fitzpatrick's reputation spread after he began acting in off-Loop theater, rendering authentically forceful performances with Curious Theater Branch and other companies. He kept writing, performing, and publishing... and painting. His naïve-inspired art caught the eye of east coast collectors, and he was soon one of Chicago's hot, new 2-D artists.

As a co-founder of Edge of the Lookingglass in Chicago's South Loop over a decade ago, Fitzpatrick's venue was host to performance art as well as the budding Lookingglass Theatre. Thus he is possibly the only person in Chicago with no degrees of separation between himself and Karen Finley, David Schwimmer, Jenny Magnus, and Jonathan Demme... And he's been chosen by almost a dozen other writers in Chicago to render cover illustrations for their own folios.

Now Fitzpatrick is back in print with a new book, The Wonder: portraits of a remembered city, and its release party is promising to be the fete of the season in Chicago. A fantastic literary coda to 2004!

At FitzGerald's, 6615 W Roosevelt Road, Berwyn, IL (near-west Chicago suburbs), on Sunday, 19 December 2004. Event starts at 1:30 PM, lasting 'til 4:00 PM. Beverages and food will be available. There will be readings by the author, with musical entertainment by The Waco Brothers. Those wishing to purchase a copy of The Wonder: portraits of a remembered city should bring cash or checks; credit cards will not be accepted. For more information, call 773-342-5381.

Myopic Books Sunday readings
for December 2004

5 December - Ander Monson and Arielle Greenberg

Ander Monson lives in Michigan, where he edits the online magazine DIAGRAM and the New Michigan Press. His work has appeared in many literary magazines, like Another Chicago Magazine, Ploughshares, and Boston Review. Two books are forthcoming in May 2005: Other Electricities, a novel-in-stories, from Sarabande Books, and Vacationland, poems, from Tupelo Press.

Arielle Greenberg is the author of the New Michigan chapbook Fa(r)ther Down: Songs from the Allergy Trials, based on a real life murder case, as well as the book Given. Her latest projects include a textbook on subcultures, and an anthology on women and mentorship. She is poetry editor for Black Clock, a literary magazine out of CalArts, and co-editor of the poetry annual Court Green, out of the poetry program at Columbia College Chicago, where she happily teaches.

12 December – Daniel Nester, Larry Sawyer, and Douglas Rothschild

Daniel Nester is the author of God Save My Queen: A Tribute and God Save My Queen II: The Show Must Go On, both from Soft Skull Press. His work has appeared in Open City, Nerve, Black Book, The Best American Poetry 2003, among other publications. He is sestinas editor for McSweeney's and edits the online journal Unpleasant Event Schedule. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Larry Sawyer's work has appeared in The Prague Literary Review, Exquisite Corpse, Outlaw, Paper Tiger, Ygdrasil, Nexus, NY Arts Magazine, 5_Trope, can we have our ball back?, Shampoo, WORD/ for Word, Pitchfork, Tin Lustre Mobile, and The East Village, among others. Amply anthologized, he appears in Shamanic Warriors Now Poets (R & R Publishers, Scotland) alongside fellow contributors including Joanne Kyger, Diane Di Prima, Michael McClure, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Patti Smith and many others. Sawyer is the editor of milk magazine.

Douglas Rothschild is uncertain as to how many of the editors of subpress {an innovative small press collective} still remember exactly who he is. He is the author of a number of wonderful little chapbooks which are pretty much impossible to get. However, if you google his name [with quotation marks] over 90% of the entries are actually him. He was in 1995 the originator of the Poetry Talk Show Concept, and founder of the 24 Hour Poet, poetry movement. Rothschild lives somewhere in the Capital District but on the second Monday of every month, mysteriously reappears at the Bowery Poetry Club {308 Bowery, New York City} where he acts as Creator and Host of The Poetry Game Show; "The most fun you have had involving the word 'Poetry' since you were 7 years old."

19 December – Steven Schroeder / Poetry and Politics

Stevem Schroeder writes, "Poetry and politics have in common a concern with place and power. This is not to say that they put them into play in the same way. Politics exercises and accumulates power by taking place: it seizes territory, seeks office, measures success by the degree to which it keeps it: four more years, we will not back down, we are where we are... It is brutally practical, and this can make it contemptuous of truth. Poetry, on the other hand, displaces with the power of surprise. Politics is obsessed with control, while poetry makes meaning by letting it go... "

Steven Schroeder is a poet and philosopher who teaches and writes in Chicago and Shenzhen, China. He grew up in the Texas Panhandle, and his poetry continues to be rooted in the experience of the Plains, which teaches attention to “nothing that is not there” but more especially to “the nothing that is.” His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the Cresset, Georgetown Review, Halcyon, Karamu, Mid-America Poetry Review, Petroglyph, Poetry East, Rhino, and Texas Review.

All readings are at 7:00 PM, upstairs at Myopic Books, 1564 N Milwaukee Avenue (in Wicker Park, near the intersection of North and Damen). Click to the Myopic website for the full schedule. On Sunday, December 26 there will be no reading owing to the Christmas holiday.

The Poetry Game Show in Chicago
with Douglas Rothschild

Douglas Rothschild is the creator and host of "The Poetry Game Show" currently running at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York. He has also served as Curator of the Zinc Bar Reading Series and the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church, and is a Co-Founder of Subpress. The Poetry Game Show is dubbed, "the most fun you'll ever have with the 'p-word.'" Doubting Thomases should investigate for themselves.

At Silverspace (behind the blue door at Milwuakee and Honore), c/o Asimina Chremos, 1474 N Milwaukee Ave #3R Chicago (Wicker Park). Wednesday, 15 December, 8:00 PM. Hosted by Douglas Rothschild, with Catherine Ramsden and John Tipton as the show's judges and "fair minded arbiters of taste."

Danny's Reading Series:
Ed Roberson & Srikanth Reddy

This month, Danny's features these writers:

Ed Roberson is the celebrated author of Voices Cast Out to Talk Us In, winner of the 1994 Iowa Poetry Prize, as well as several earlier books including When Thy King Is a Boy, Etai-Eken, and Lucid Interval as Integral Music. His selected poems, Just In: Word of Navigational Challenges, was published in 1998, and Atmosphere Conditions, which was a National Poetry Series winner, came out in 2000. Roberson has been compared to such masters as Ornette Coleman, Gabriel García Márquez, Romare. Dedicated to experimentation, his poetry explores the African-American experience, seen and heard backwards and forwards in time and space. Ed Roberson was formerly assistant director of special programs at Cook College, Rutgers University. Currently, he is a visiting poet at Columbia College.

Srikanth Reddy's first collection of poetry, Facts for Visitors, was published by the University of California Press in Spring 2004. His poems have appeared in various journals, including American Poetry Review, Fence, Grand Street, and jubilat, and he has written criticism for publications such as The New Republic the Chicago Tribune, and the Denver Quarterly, among others. He is currently the Moody Poet-in-Residence at the University of Chicago.

Wednesday, 8 December at 7:30 PM. (21 and over/please bring ID) At Danny's Tavern, 1951 W Dickens, near the intersection of Damen and Armitage (Bucktown, Chicago). Phone 773-489-6457. Coming Wednesday, 19 January 2005: poets Nick Twemlow and Robyn Schiff.

CIRCA Youth Theater Ensemble:
The Gift of Tongue by Lani Montreal

Witness a young woman's journey to reclaim peace through rhythm and rhyme, co-directed by Louie Pascasio and Ginger Leopoldo, with Music by Steven Baz and Narciso Lobo.

A seven-headed menace called the Tongue Twister kidnaps Ma-Yi's peacekeeper, Tula, and puts a cruel curse upon its people. Ma-Yi is known for its people's excellent communication skills but now,they say mean and hurtful things, even when they only feel kindness. Only the rescue of Tula can restore peace on earth now. Princess Ugat takes matters into her hands. With her gift of tongue and a new-found friend named Makata, she embarks on a journey of magic and discovery to save Ma-Yi. Will she succeed?

The Gift of Tongue is at the Chopin Theater, 1543 W Division (Wicker Park/East Ukrainian Village). With performances on 2 Dec @ 7:30 pm preview (pay-what-you-can); 3 Dec at 7:30 PM and 4 Dec @ 3:00 PM (full productions). Tickets $15 (adult) $10 (students/seniors/groups) On and 4 Dec 7:30 PM there is a Gala & Benefit show, with tickets for $25, including food. Phone 312-222-1616 for tickets and reservations. More info? Click to City Youth Theater.

from Tel Aviv to Ramallah:
Yuri Lane at the Viaduct

Hip hop unites and few may demonstrate it more originally than Yuri Lane performing at the Viaduct Theater in his show, From Tel Aviv to Ramallah. In 1999, Lane journeyed between these cities by bus, taxi and foot to visit friends on both sides of the Green Line. On his return from Ramallah, Yuri was caught in a riot that foreshadowed the current Intifada. He also discovered the cultural divide between Israelis and Palestinians as well as the numerous commonalities of the two cultures.

Lane draws a traveloque, navigating opposite sides of the Green Line with his own (dare we say, astonishing) form of hip hop, wherein he embodies a human beat box. We encourage you to see the artist's website and audition and view some of his tracks for yourself to get what we mean by "human beat box"... it's quite literal! (QuickTime plug-in required for Lane's site.) Good buzz also seems to be around this artist. And when we could all use some peace and goodwill toward all men, this may be a particularly timely show.

At the Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western Ave, south of Belmont Avenue (Lakeview West). For tickets and reservations, Call 773-296-6024. Performances 2-5 December, and 9-12 December. All shows at 8:00 PM, except Sundays at 7:00 PM. For further info, click to the theater's website.

there to (most definitely!) represent... hears good things happening among Chicago's Filipino-American writers. On 19 November, many convened at The Sala Café for a major reading and declaration of their culture. According to Kay Barrett, an organizer for the event, "Filipinos are the second largest group of Asians in the U.S., but continue to be grossly under-represented in the arts and mainstream media. When Filipinos are mentioned, it is usually in a negative light. We as a people have taken shots recently from Jay Leno and the like following the Philippines' withdrawal of its forces in Iraq. This must change, but we can't rely on others to make this change for us."

Artists performing spoken word, music, poetry and stories included Barrett, Mari Calip, Marlon Esguerra, Aimee Tierra, Lovien Flores, and Rominna Villasenior. Want to track future news on Filipino arts in Chicago? Click to, the online home of Filipino-American activist arts in Chicago. "Pintig", incidentally, means "pulse" in Filipino.


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links we like

Just a few links on poetry and media that caught our eye...

Sharon Harris' photo album from Toronto's Small Press Book Fair shows a lot of happy readers and publishers. See anyone you know?... In Jacksonville, FL, artists are addressing cultural diversity in the arts as seen in this Jacksonville Times-Union article, spearheaded by local writers... A curious URL from Sveriges Radio (Radio Sweden) called Let Them Sing It for You resamples pop songs to pronounce any phrase you type. And, yes, it seems to recognize most English words...

The Scream Youth Project, which is part of Toronto's annual Scream in High Park. The (big) Scream is perhaps the only one-night poetry show in North America that rivals The St. Mark's Poetry Project New Year's marathon... Some interesting sound poems by People Like Us (figure them as audio art with speech in a kind of "composed" spoken word) on UbuWeb...

We've been following with interest the work of J.J. Tindall, who has sent us some outstanding audio poetry. Want to hear it for yourself? You can own it... Also received and well worth an audition: the reVerse compilation mentioned last month.

Jayne Fenton Keane, an partner and fan for many years, is a finalist in Australia Broadcasting Corp's online slam. And you can cast your vote for her. Click through to the ABC slam page, and browse around... but be sure to give Jayne your vote!

And you may not want to show the kids... an adolescent poetry generator, from, the same crew who brought us the postmodernism generator. Sense sometimes erupts from this system. Now that's scary!

and finally, crossing cultural frontiers with multi-artist John Goss...

We recently caught a press announcement from a very long-time friend of cross-culturalism, John Goss. A poet, performance artist, and painter educated close to Chicago in DeKalb, IL, Goss has since ventured around the world as a working artist in new media and photography. This writer and Goss have common roots in interdisciplinary arts going back to DeKalb in the 1970s. Now from the vantage point of the 21st Century, it is astonishing to see that both our lives have taken us into intercultural arts as well. Such are the powers of media...

Goss long-ago went off to live where most of his work was, in southeast Asia. He took up a home in Thailand, and learned the Thai language (no small feat for an American). He's now co-publishing with Philip Cornwel-Smith, a book of photography and narrative on Thai society called Very Thai. Cheers to John Goss, for keeping the faith, and keeping his keen eye open for fascinating morsels of culture. Click through to John Goss's website to read more and preview the book.

We're grateful for your continued readership and news tips. Keep the info rolling in! Click the "contact us" link below if you have news tips of your own.

- Kurt Heintz, founder
e-poets network, Chicago

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