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
July 22, 2020
7PM – 8:30PM

View the Facebook event here:

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.

Our first show will feature writers Jazzy Smith, Robin Reid Drake, Justin Howard Rosier, and James Stewart III.

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.

Jazzy Smith: Jazzy still owes money to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for her MFA in Writing. She has a bet that she will be writing as long as she owes SAIC money, which is, guess how long. She works with runaway and homeless young people. Lives in and loves Brooklyn.

Robin Reid Drake is a writer, artist and educator from North Carolina. Drake is a teaching artist in Chicago Public Schools engaging young people around subjects of queer and trans history, power and poetry. Their work has been published in Yale University’s Palimpsest, WUSSY magazine, and the New Southern Fugitives, amongst others, and is forthcoming in Foglifter Press’ anothology, Home is Where you Queer your Heart. Drake has shown work in gallery settings as part of commissions and collaborations with artists Matt Morris, Emilio Rojas and Jazzy Smith. They are currently rough housing with a horror film, set in the Applalachian, Piedmont and Outer Banks ecologies that raised them. Read more and stay in touch at

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.