Applied Words

This series from the Guild features readings, gallery shows, and dance and musical performances alongside panel discussions on rotating social justice issues. By connecting artists and experts in various fields of study, Applied Words uses language as a platform for conversations about contemporary social issues at the local, national, and international level.

Language takes many forms — words, dance,  visual art — and by showcasing these “languages” alongside conversations of social import, we put the languages of art and activism together. Artist and expert meet in this one-of-a-kind program to chart a new path through creativity and justice.

Each Applied Words event combines reading and performance with a discussion between featured artists or experts and the audience that explores creative writing’s intersection with an artistic discipline or a non-arts field.


American Authors, Transnational Voices
Tuesday July 31 2018 ~ 7 – 9 PM
Chopin Theatre 1543 W. Division, Chicago
RSVP on Facebook

At a moment when the US government seems to be pushing much of the rest of the world away, Natania Rosenfeld has assembled a program of writers whose work is informed by backgrounds, experiences, and research that reach across national borders. The memories and histories of persecution, migration, exile, and assimilation threaded through these authors’ poetry and prose are a welcome reminder that American writing is always already global.



Natania Rosenfeld grew up in Oberlin, Ohio, received her BA from Bryn Mawr College and her Ph.D in English literature from Princeton. She worked as Assistant Curator of Books and Manuscripts at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, taught at the University of Pennsylvania and The Curtis Institute of Music, was Associate Editor at The American Poetry Review, and was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Duke University. She has been a Professor of English at Knox College in Galesburg, IL since 1998. Natania is the author of, Outsiders Together: Virginia and Leonard Woolf (Princeton UP, 2000), several scholarly articles on literary modernism, and a book of poetry, Wild Domestic (Sheep Meadow, 2015). Her e-chapbook, She and I: Essays, (2018) is available for free download at Recent short fiction, personal essays, and poems have appeared in magazines including Southwest Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Hotel Amerika, The American Poetry Review, Ninth Letter, The Fairy Tale Review, Prairie Schooner, Rhino, and POOL. Four of her essays have been listed as “Notable” in Best American Essays. Her in-progress novel, “Hidden,” focuses on Jews hidden in World War II, their afterlives in New York as well as those of their hiders in Poland, and their descendants. Natania has completed a collection of personal essays, “Eye, Myself and You: On Art and Identity,” and is at work on “Scribbling Jewesses: Intertwined Essays on Else Lasker-Schueler, Charlotte Salomon, Florine Stettheimer, Maira Kalman and Sophie Herxheimer,” and a second book of poems, “The Green Lamp.”

Ruth Danon is the author of Word Has It (Nirala, March 2018), Limitless Tiny Boat (BlazeVox, 2015), Triangulation from a Known Point (North Star Line, 1990), Work in the English Novel, (Croom-Helm, 1985), and Living With the Fireman (Ziesing Brothers, 1981). Her poetry and prose have appeared in Barrow Street,The Florida Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Post Road, Noon, Versal, Mead, BOMB, The Paris Review, Fence, The Boston Review, 3rd Bed, Crayon, and many other publications. Her work was selected by Robert Creeley for Best American Poetry, 2002.  Her poems also appear in the anthologies, Eternal Snow (Nirala, 2017) and Resist Much, Obey Little (Spuyten Duyvil, 2017). She has been a fellow at the Ragdale Foundation, the Corporation of Yaddo, the Ora Lerman Foundation, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She grew up in upstate New York on the grounds of the Binghamton State Hospital, where her mother, a Hungarian refugee, worked as a psychiatrist. She is completing a memoir about this experience. She lives in Beacon, New York and teaches in New York City and Beacon.

Dina Elenbogen is author of the poetry collection Apples of the Earth (Spuyten Duyvil, NY 2006) and the memoir, Drawn from Water: An American Poet, an Ethiopian Family, an Israeli Story (BKMK Press, University of Missouri, 2015.) Her poems have received the Jeff Marks Memorial Poetry Prize, the Anna Rosenberg Award from Poetica Magazine, and the Miriam Lindberg Israel Poetry for Peace Prize. She has completed a second poetry collection, Most of What is Beautiful, and an essay collection, Losing our Sages. Her poetry, essays, and fiction have appeared in magazines such as Woven Tale Press, Tiferet, Prairie Schooner, Calyx, Poet Lore, Rhino, Paterson Literary Review, Voices Israel, Lit Hub, Tikkun, Chicago Reader, New City, Midstream, Sheridan Road Magazine, JUF News, The Times of Israel, Chicago Jewish News, and Bellevue Literary Review, and in the anthologies City of the Big Shoulders (University of Iowa), Brute Neighbors: Urban Nature Poetry, Prose, and Photography (De Paul Humanities Center), Beyond Lament (Northwestern UP), Without a Single Answer: Poems on Contemporary Israel (Judah Magnes Museum Press), Sarah’s Daughters Sing (Ktav), Word by Word: The Iowa Writer’s Workshop 75 Years (University of Iowa), Nice Jewish Girls: Growing Up in America (Penguin/Plume) and Where We Find Ourselves (SUNY Press.) Dina received a MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She teaches at the University of Chicago Graham School, where she received the 2012 excellence in teaching award, and at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Faisal Mohyuddin is a writer, artist, and educator from Chicago. He is the author of a poetry chapbook, The Riddle of Longing (Backbone Press, 2017), and his first collection, The Displaced Children of Displaced Children (Eyewear Publishing, 2018), was selected by Kimiko Hahn for the 2017 Sexton Prize. He also received the 2014 Edward Stanley Award from Prairie Schooner and a 2017 Gwendolyn Brook Poetry Prize. His poetry, fiction, and visual art have appeared in Prairie Schooner, the Missouri ReviewNarrative, RHINO, Poet Lore, Chicago Quarterly Review, Crab Orchard Review, New England Review (online), Atlanta Review, Catamaran Literary Readerthe minnesota review, Tinderbox, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Hair Trigger. His poetry is anthologized in Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry (University of Arkansas), The Book of Donuts (Terrapin Books), and Misrepresented People: Poets Respond to Trump’s America (New York Quarterly Books). The child of immigrants from Pakistan, Faisal received his undergraduate degree from Carleton College, an MS in education from Northwestern University, and an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago. He teaches English at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois, and he serves as educator adviser to Narrative 4, a global not-for-profit dedicated to empathy-building and barrier-breaking through the exchange of stories. He is an alumnus of the U.S. Department of State’s Teachers for Global Classrooms (TGC) Program, he has been recognized for innovative teaching by Microsoft and he has twice been a National Endowment for the Humanities summer teaching fellow.

This reading is a part of the Guild Literary Complex’s Applied Words series of multidisciplinary events and conversations on contemporary social issues.



  • February – Segregation and Education in Chicago
    Tuesday, February 21, 7:00pmThis month’s Applied Words examines how Chicago’s racial divide affects its educational system. Kevin Coval, Founder/Director of Young Chicago Authors, will be leading a panel of experts on education policy and artists alike in a discussion into the future of schools in Chicago and nationwide.


  • March – Intersectional Women’s Issues: Representation in the Media
    Tuesday, March 14, 7:00pmThis month’s Applied Words deconstructs how women are represented in film, music, television and other popular media and what lasting effects these portrayals leave on young, female identifying individuals. Dr. Nicole Spigner, Associate Professor of African American Literature and Culture at Columbia College Chicago, will lead a discussion with artists working to reimagine the narrative of women in the media.


  • April – Accessibility to the Arts: Class and Opportunity
    Tuesday, April 11, 7:00pmThis month’s Applied Words focuses on gauging who, economically and socially speaking, has the accessibility and opportunity to engage with the arts on a public level. The conversation will speak to the dichotomy between “low and high culture” art forms and how they impact the larger community as a whole.


  • May – Mental Health and Homelessness
    Tuesday, May 9, 7:00pmThis month’s Applied Words addresses the link between the mental health system and homelessness. The discussion will be centered around what can be done locally, nationally, and globally to combat homelessness and the need to re-evaluate how mental health facilities operate and provide care for those individuals.


  • June – Gender and the Arts
    Tuesday, June 13, 7:00pmThis month’s Applied Words tackles gender identity and how the private and public spheres converge in the arts. C. Russell Price, visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Northwestern, leads an investigation into how gender identity influences creativity and an artist’s career.


  • July – Nature and Neighborhoods
    Tuesday, July 11, 7:00pmThis month’s Applied Words features eco-poet and Associate Professor of Creative Writing Matthew Shenoda leading a discussion about how varying communities’ interaction with the natural world affects their public health differently by class and race.

Applied art” – noun: the application of design and aesthetics to objects of function and everyday use; the incorporation of design and creative ideals to objects of utility, such as a cup, magazine or park bench

Applied Words” – noun, verb and series from the Guild Literary Complex