Guild Literary Complex



Eric Charles May

Eric is the author of the novel Bedrock Faith, which was named a Notable African American Title by Publishers Weekly, and a Top Ten Debut Novel for 2014 by Booklist Magazine. A 2015 recipient of the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s 21st Century Award and a former reporter for The Washington Post. May’s fiction has also appeared in Fish Stories, Solstice, Hypertext, Flyleaf Journal, F, and Criminal Class magazines.

In addition to his Post reporting, his nonfiction has appeared in Sport Literate, Chicago Tribune, and the personal essay anthology Briefly Knocked Unconscious By A Low Flying Duck.

Rosellen Brown
Vice President

Rosellen has published ten books – novels, short stories, poetry, essays – and has lived in almost as many places – New York, Boston, San Francisco, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Texas and, currently, Chicago. Half a dozen of her stories have appeared in the annual prize collections (O. Henry, Best American, and Pushcart) and one was chosen by John Updike for his Best American Stories of the Century anthology. One of her novels, Before and After, was translated into 23 languages and became a movie starring Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson.

She has been on the faculty of the MFA in Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago since 1997 and for many summers led the Spoleto Writers’ Workshop in Umbria, Italy. From 1965-67 she taught at Tougaloo College in Mississippi; in 1976 served on the faculty of the first low-residency writing program, at Goddard College in Vermont; taught at Boston University and the University of Michigan and, from 1982-95, at the University of Houston. Brown’s awards have included two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Council on the Arts award for Some Deaths in the Delta and other poems, the Great Lakes College Association prize for the best first novel for The Autobiography of My Mother, Ingram-Merrill and Howard Foundation grants, the Janet Kafka best novel award for Civil Wars. She was named a Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year in 1984 and in 1987 received a literature award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

One of Rosellen’s first experiences with the Guild was as a participant on a panel about writing as a socially committed artist. She also took part in two lively and well-attended public conversations with visitors from the University of Iowa International Writers’ Workshop who, through fascinating accounts of their lives as writers in diverse and sometimes difficult circumstances, put our own conditions in perspective.

Ann Folwell Stanford

Ann is Vincent DePaul Professor of Literary and Multi-Disciplinary Studies at DePaul University’s School for New Learning in Chicago. Her scholarly book, Bodies in a Broken World: Women Novelists of Color and the Politics of Medicine, was published in 2003 and her co-edited collection, Women, Writing and Prison: Writers, Activists and Scholars Speak Out, in 2014.

She has also published poetry in JAMA, Michigan Quarterly Review, Borderlands, Southern Poetry Review, Blue Mesa Review and has poetry forthcoming in Slipstream and the Syracuse Cultural Workers Women Artists Datebook. She lives in Chicago and Sarasota, FL.

James Stewart

James Stewart III is a writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Midwest Review, Zone 3The Forge580 SplitPangyrusCleaver, and Another Chicago Magazine, among others. He earned an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MA from North Central College.
James is a co-founder of the text-based performance series Exhibit Bwhich pushes artists to think beyond the typical limitations of a reading and develop new ways to bring their work into the world. The series hosts performances throughout Chicago, online, and in 2023, will regularly host readings in New York City.

Robin Burnett


Robin Burnett is the director of education and operations at Disability Lead. She has a passion for building programs that bridge disciplines and create opportunities for individual and collective learning and transformation.

She has more than ten years of experience creating and piloting innovative programs. Before joining Disability Lead, Robin founded an interdisciplinary writing initiative at Columbia College Chicago, developed cross-disciplinary curriculum for college writers, and supported a first-of-its-kind intercampus interdisciplinary department at Northwestern University.

Before this, she held internships and volunteer roles with Chicago arts organizations including, Around the Coyote, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and 826Chi. Additionally, Robin has participated in cross-border poetry readings (Red Rover, Chicago Calling, Cairo on the length/Chicago Spoke) and published work in journals including Rumpus, Unrequited, Columbia Poetry Journal, and others.

Robin lives in Chicago with her husband.


Michael Puican
Longest Board President

Mike has had his poetry published in journals such as: Poetry, Michigan Quarterly Review, New England Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Malahat Review and The Bloomsbury Review, among others. Mike was a member of the 1996 Chicago Slam Team. He regularly writes book reviews for Another Chicago Magazine and TriQuarterly.

Mike has been a board member since 2005 and has been a board president since 2009. For more than 15 years the Guild Complex has been instrumental to Mike’s development as a poet. The first performance poetry event he ever attended was a Guild Complex event at the Hot House on Milwaukee Ave. It blew both his socks and the top of his head off. He left that event with a strong desire to explore writing poetry.

The first time he was a featured reader happened a couple of years later at the same Guild Complex series. Later, his chapbook, 30 Seconds, was chosen as the winner of the Tia Chucha Chapbook contest in 2004. Mike feels a real indebtedness to the Guild Complex and strives to work with the organization to help other emerging writers in similar ways.

Reginald Gibbons
Founding Member

Reg, one of the co-founders of The Guild Complex, is the author of nine books of poems and two chapbooks, a novel, a number of edited books, other books, and many essays about poetry. He has also published translations of Spanish and Mexican poetry and of ancient Greek tragedy. In the 80s and 90s, he was the editor of TriQuarterly magazine, and he has long been a member of the faculty at Northwestern University and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Among the many great GC moments he remembers with special pleasure and pride are the reading by Gwendolyn Brooks, the reading/performance of writer John Edgar Wideman and harmonica player Sugar Blue, the 10th-anniversary gala at the then Chicago History Museum, and readings by Grace Paley, Eduardo Galeano, the reading by Angela Jackson and Carolyn Rodgers, and an evening when, as part of the program, several adult students from a literacy program read their first compositions in English, on how they came to America.

Well… and also the TriQuarterly/Guild readings with piano performance by Bethany Pickens in the 1990s, the great benefit with Alex Kotlowitz and Steve James in 2010, the two International Writers Exchanges, and many more memorable events. ([email protected])

Lew Rosenbaum
Founding Member

Lew is a founder of the Guild Literary Complex and an anchor in Chicago’s literary and activist community. He edits and publishes the Chicago Labor & Arts Notes e-mail newsletter. He has been employed as a garment worker, printer, social worker, and history teacher, but for most of his life he has been a bookseller, first at the path-breaking Midnight Special Books in Santa Monica, CA, then at the legendary Guild Books in Chicago.

As the proprietor, Rosenbaum helped to seed Chicago’s present-day literary community decades ago by hosting numerous readings and meetings that gave rise to the Guild Literary Complex in 1989. After Guild Books closed he worked for 10 years at Barnes & Noble, and he had the distinction of having been fired for not pushing the workers to work hard enough.

He has a degree in Biology and three years in medical school, with postgraduate education with California farm workers, health care workers in Cuba, studying philosophy with radicals at the Institute for the Study of the Science of Society, and working alongside Occupy activists. He writes on education and independent politics for The People’s Tribune newspaper.


Andrea L. Change
Executive Director

Andrea is poet, writer and a long-time friend of the Guild Complex. She has been a part of the Chicago poetry community for over 20 years. Her work has been published in a number of poetry magazines, journals and included in such poetry anthologies from Tia Chucha Press as Powerlines and Stray Bullets. Her poetry was also included in the 2001 Steppenwolf Theatre production, Words on Fire.

A hometown girl, born and raised in Chicago, much of her poetry is inspired by her experiences growing up in the city. Other influences range from the classic poetry of Browning, to Pablo Neruda, to poets from the Harlem Renaissance and the beat poets of the ’60s. A graduate from Northwestern University, she is still learning and is constantly fascinated by the great voices she hears at local area poetry readings. She is mother of one son, Phillip, and Sasha, the dog. Still an active member of the poetry and arts community, she currently resides in Rogers Park.

Andrea’s first Guild event was when a friend invited her to see Sterling Plumpp at the book store. “I’d never been to a poetry reading in a book store before so it was quite a novelty. Sterling Plumpp was amazing and right away I was hooked. But my favorite memory is of days when I would meet at a café, usually a place called the Why Not? Café, and sitting with Michael Warr (Guild founding Director), Rohan Preston, Quraysh Ali Lansana (former Staff and Board) and my son, Phillip, in tow. They weren’t just these intellectual giants of Chicago Poetry, they were also just guys who never made me feel uncomfortable or left me out of the conversation, and always treated me like an equal. So many good conversations, I always walked away feeling enriched.”

Meredith Boe
Programming and Development Associate

Meredith is a writer, editor, and critic with experience in book publishing, marketing, and grant writing. She earned an MA in writing and publishing from DePaul University, and, aside from her role with the Guild, she takes on copywriting, copyediting, and development work on a contract basis.

Meredith is the author of the chapbook What City, which won the 2018 Debut Series Chapbook Contest from Paper Nautilus, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Passengers Journal, Newfound, Another Chicago Magazine, Chicago Reader, After Hours, Mud Season Review, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and contributes to the Chicago Review of Books.

Alanis Zoe Castillo Caref
Marketing Coordinator

Alanis Zoe Castillo Caref is a writer-poet activist-artist from Chicago. She is a social media and communications enthusiast who received her BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Alanis was a finalist for the 2021 Undergraduate Creative Writing Awards and has poetry published in two issues of the magazine The Fashion Network. 

Caroline McCraw
Web Design Coordinator

Caroline McCraw is a Chicago-based writer and designer. She received her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and MA in Digital Humanities from Loyola University Chicago, and likes to read + make work related to found language, digital poetics, and archives. |


Mary Hawley
Palabra Pura Coordinator


Eric Charles May, President
Rosellen Brown, Vice President
Ann Folwell Standford, Secretary
James Stewart
Robin Burnett

Board Emeritus:
Reginald Gibbons
Michael Puican
Lew Rosenbaum


Andrea L. Change, Executive Director
Meredith Boe, Programming/Development Associate
Alanis Zoe Castillo Caref, Marketing Coordinator
Caroline McCraw, Web Design Coordinator


Mary Hawley, Palabra Pura Coordinator

Interested in interning or volunteering for the Guild Complex? Visit our Careers & Internships page.


Guild Literary Complex
641 West Lake Street, Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60661

Email us

Email us