Spring is finally here in Chicago! That means a couple important things: the end of snow and the beginning of writers emerging from their winter cocoons. What better way to enjoy warm weather than to go out and enjoy the literary offerings of Chicago?
Some of my favorite reading series are organized and conducted by CCC alums. The Dollhouse, a (usually monthly) poetry reading series happens in a cozy house in Lincoln Square. Originally envisioned by CCC MFAs, the reading series is still going strong since its inception in 2011. It is currently curated by Dolly Lemke, Holly Amos, & Justin Grogan (a.k.a our current MFA Poetry Ambassador!) The Dollhouse has featured readers including CCC Alums, faculty, Chicago-based poets and poets from around the country. They’ve even been featured in write-ups in the Chicago Tribune and Poets & Writers, among others. For more info: http://thedollhousereads.tumblr.com/
Another great reading/performance series masterminded by CCC alums is The Swell. With Tara Boswell, Patrick Samuel, and Daniel Scott Parker at the helm, The Swell features poetry, music, live performance, and multimedia. You never know what might happen when you show up at a reading, which are hosted at a number of circulating locations around the city. Always exciting, fun, quirky, and thought provoking, The Swell was one of my first experiences in Chicago with more experimental readings. For more info: https://www.facebook.com/theswellseries
In the city of Chicago, we are lucky enough to have the Poetry Foundation right in our backyard, so to speak. One of the neatest things I have seen offered at the Poetry Foundation is the Open Door Readings where a poetry instructor is invited to read and extends the invitation to one of their current students as well. Nonfiction Professor Jenny Boully read in January and invited third year MFA candidate Naomi Washer to read alongside her—a huge and exciting accomplishment. Open Door Readings happen monthly, in addition to the wealth of other events that the PoFo hosts on a regular basis for FREE. Check out the Poetry Foundation’s website for more information: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/
Last, but not least, we have an on campus reading series at Columbia College Chicago featuring current MFA candidates in all three genres. The 33 Reading series was originally envisioned by prior MFA candidates with curators from each genre being chosen from the second or third year of their program and at the conclusion of the year, passing the torch onto the next rising class. I was honored to be chosen as the Nonfiction Curator for the 2014-2015 33 Reading series. Occuring each month on campus, the 33 Reading Series tries to give as many MFA candidates a chance to read and share their work with their peers as possible. Unlike the classroom workshop setting, writers get a chance to share across genre and build ties with peers they may not get a chance to work with in the classroom.
Any other favorite reading series to add, Chicagoans? What are you most excited for in your literary springtime?