Guild Literary Complex

Applied Words

Applied Words is a multidisciplinary platform for conversations about contemporary social issues. The series includes readings, exhibitions, theatre, dance, and musical performances alongside panel discussions that bring together artists and experts from different disciplines, fields of study, and experiential backgrounds to explore and reflect on a topic of current import. Each Applied Words event combines literary work with one or more other discipline or area of expertise to discover the shared language that emerges when multiple types of knowledge intersect, and to apply that language to charting new and unpredictable paths through historically entrenched conversations.

Join the Guild for a virtual event: Exhibit B
Hosted and curated by James Stewart and Justin Rosier
Featuring Elizabeth Marino, Sejake Matsela, Sara Goodman, and Naomi Washer
When: Wednesday, October 21, 7pm
Where: YouTube

Exhibit B is a performance series that highlights exciting text-based work in Chicago. Presented by the Guild Literary Complex, a 30-year-old grassroots literary arts organization based in Chicago, Exhibit B aspires to give those in attendance the same kind of charge you feel after leaving a great concert. We want prose, poetry, plays, music, and more. We want to create a space that showcases work that you don’t need an MFA to feel and that leaves the audience always wanting more. We want community. We want impact.

Elizabeth MarinoChicago poet Elizabeth Marino has seen her work travel. Her poems and essays have appeared in little magazines, litzines, blogs and print anthologies in India, Gambia, England, Scotland, San Francisco, Austin, Cleveland and Chicago, including two Vagabond collections (Rise and EXTREME). Prior releases include two chapbooks, Debris (Puddin’head Press, 2011) and Ceremonies (dancing girl press, 2016). She was awarded a Ragdale residency, a Hispanic Serving Institution grant, and a CAAP grant. She holds an MA in English from University of Illinois at Chicago’s Writers Program and a BA in English and Humanities from Barat College, in addition to coursework at the University of Oxford. She earned her living teaching writing and literature at NEIU and Roosevelt University for years, as well as had a popular SAGE workshop. Member: Circulo de Poetas and Writers, Mujeres Poetas International, Revolutionary Poets Brigade, Academy of American Poets.

Sejake MatselaSejake Matsela is a writer, film practitioner and photographer from Lesotho, Southern Africa. Working as a writer for screen, an art director and script supervisor, Sejake has contributed in the making of a number of films which have screened on various television stations and film festivals. For four years, he lectured in the screenwriting program at Limkokwing University in Maseru, after which he moved to the United States of America to live with his wife. In 2018, he completed an MFA in Writing at the School of Art Institute Chicago. He was an instructor of record for a year, in the Inner Voices Social Issues Theatre program at the University of Illinois Champaign. In 2019 he completed the script editing and translation for a feature film titled: ‘This is not a Burial, it’s a Resurrection’, which premiered in Cannes in 2019, and is currently in the festival circuit around the world. He is currently  a candidate in the MA Visual Culture program at Illinois State University working in writing, video and photography.

Sara GoodmanSara Goodman loves subculture. She wants to go deep into it. So deep maybe she will come out the other side.  She once fell into an old monitor screen and her life has never been the same. She is also a poet and video artist interested in the way hardware, software, and interfaces influence us as humans. She is delighted by abstractions and likes setting up systems she can interface with that continually loop and deviate over time creating landscapes of digital expressionism.  She currently teaches high school students video art exploration, creative writing, and lit classes in Chicago helping students to learn how to use tools such as video mixers and language to express what is deep inside of them and this gives her much joy! She lives life simultaneously as a human being and an avatar in virtual reality. @saranaomigoodman.

Naomi WasherNaomi Washer is the editor-in-chief of Ghost Proposal and the author of Trainsongs (Greying Ghost Press), American Girl Doll (Ursus Americanus Press), and Phantoms (dancing girl press). She is also the translator of Sebastián Jiménez Galindo’s Experimental Gardening Manual (toad press). Her work has appeared in Seneca Review, Essay Daily, Asymptote, Entropy Magazine, and other journals. She has received fellowships and residencies from Yaddo, Vermont Studio Center, Studio Faire and Chateau Orquevaux in France, and Columbia College Chicago where she earned her MFA in Nonfiction. Her debut novel, Subjects We Left Out, is forthcoming from Veliz Books in March, 2021.


J. Howard Rosier lives in Chicago, where he edits the journal Critics’ Union. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Criterion, Bookforum, 4Columns, Art in America, Poetry, The Drift, and elsewhere. Rosier received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he was awarded the James Nelson Raymond Fellowship for his thesis work. A recipient of the Guild Literary Complex’s 30 Writers to Watch designation, he is currently working on a novel.


James Stewart III is a Black writer from Chicago. He earned an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MA from North Central College. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Pangyrus, Another Chicago Magazine, and Cowboy Jamboree. He is currently finishing a novel about the daily struggles of a multi-racial working-class family and the costs they pay for loving each other. He also co-curates the text-based performance series “The Guild Complex presents Exhibit B” and is a managing editor of the magazine Critics’ Union. To earn a living, Stewart works as a paraprofessional with special needs students at a high school in the Chicagoland-area.