Experience a true Chicago poetry experience with three of the founders of the city’s original poetry scene. This powerhouse trio of poet/performers will deliver a Guild-style reunion.
Poet Michael Warr’s books of poetry include The Armageddon of Funk (see armageddonoffunk.com), We Are All The Black Boy, and Power Lines: A Decade of Poetry From Chicago’s Guild Complex, all published by Tia Chucha Press. His literary awards include the Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Illinois Poets Award, a National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, and the Ragdale Foundation US – Africa Fellowship. A frequent collaborator with musicians, visual and performing artists, Michael’s poems have been dramatized on stage, depicted on canvas, and set to original music compositions. His recordings can be found on the CDs A Snake in the Heart: Poems and Music by Chicago Spoken Word Performers, nefasha ayer – the space of in between (featuring Meklit Hadero), and at www.poetryspeaks.com/michaelwarr. His most recent performance of poetry and music was with Quijerema at the de Young Museum. An award-winning arts educator, Michael presents his interactive workshops and presentations combining poetry, performance, and storytelling with projected digital images, text, and music, at schools and community organizations.
Luis Rodriguez is a multi-genre published poet and writer as well as a community and arts activist. He founded Tia Chucha Press in Chicago around twenty-five years ago by publishing Chicago poets around the Poetry Slam movement, and later with cross cultural poets from around the country, including Elizabeth Alexander, Diane Glancy, Ricardo Sanchez, Kyoko Mori, Virgil Suarez, Terrance Hayes, and others. Both Michael Warr and Patricia Smith began their publishing careers with Tia Chucha Press. Presently living in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles, Tia Chucha Press is now part of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural, which has an all-arts workshop space, a performance space, a publishing wing, Internet Cafe and deli, art gallery, an outdoor literacy & performance festival, and a bookstore. His latest book is the sequel to his bestselling memoir, “Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.” The title is “It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing” (Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster).
Poet, playwright, performer and children’s book author Patricia Smith was a 2008 National Book Award Finalist for her fifth book of poetry, Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press) chronicles the human, physical and emotional toll exacted by Hurricane Katrina, a catastrophic natural event with lasting spiritual and political impact. This much-anticipated volume is also the focal point of a new dance/theater collaboration between Patricia and Urban Bush Women dancer Paloma McGregor. Patricia is also the author of numerous other books including Life According to Motown (Tia Chucha)., has appeared in numerous journals including Poetry, The Paris Review, and TriQuarterly, and in many groundbreaking anthologies–most recently Gathering Ground, The Spoken Word Revolution, and Short Fuse: The Global Anthology of New Fusion Poetry. Her poem “The Way Pilots Walk” received a Pushcart Prize, and is featured in Pushcart Prize XXXII: Best of the Small Presses. Patricia has performed around the country and around the world with many prominent actors, writers and musicians. She is a four-time national individual champion of the notorious and wildly popular Poetry Slam, the most successful competitor in slam history and was featured in the nationally-released film “Slamnation,” and appeared on the award-winning HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.”