Tuesday, June 7, 2016,

Time: 10:00 am until 6:00 pm 

Chicago Cultural Center, 

78 E Washington St., 

Chicago, IL 60602. 


Join us for the fourth annual BrooksDay, celebrating the works of Gwendolyn Brooks on her birthday!  We are honoring her tremendous legacy as an artist and an iconic figure of generosity and civic conscience in Chicago and in the nation as we head to the centennial of her birth next year.

This year certainly will be remembered for its own flavor with its unique and amazing performances. Along with youth, other poets, actors and teachers, many notable literary, cultural, civic, and political leaders from Chicago and beyond will take the stage at the Chicago Cultural Center on June 7 to celebrate Gwendolyn Brooks, who was the first African American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize.  BROOKS DAY 2016 is the last marathon event leading us to a city-wide celebration in 2017 –each annual unique unto itself, all commemorate Gwendolyn Brooks’s artistic achievement, her legendary generosity toward other poets, her influence as a pathbreaking cultural figure in Chicago and the nation, and her deserved stature as the iconic poet of modern Chicago.

This year we are outdoing ourselves, featuring Kevin Coval, Aviya Kushner, and Andrea Change, as emcees, performing with many of Chicago’s top literary and artistic talent including graffiti artist Tyrue Slang Jones, artistic brother-trio Sketch N’ Tyme wit LTAB 2016 winners, Rebirth. Readers include Michelle Boone, Steve Young, Jackie Taylor, Calvin Forbes, Coya Paz, Eric May, Angela Jackson, Toni Asante Lightfoot, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and many others.  Putting together a robust day of poetry, performance, activism, and Gwendolyn Brooks, we are expecting a great and participatory audience for this event, as we are again centrally located in Chicago’s Loop at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Meet our Emcees:

Andrea Change 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 to one son, Phillip and Sasha, the dog. Still an active member of the poetry and arts community, she currently resides in Rogers Park.

Kevin Coval is the editor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and is the author of Schtick, L-vis Lives!: Racemusic Poems, Everyday People, Slingshots: A Hip-Hop Poetica and the play, This is Modern Art, co-written with Idris Goodwin. Founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival and the Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, Coval teaches hip-hop aesthetics at The University of Illinois-Chicago, is a 4x HBO Def Poet and has written for a wide variety of publications including CNN.com, Huffington Post and Fake Shore Drive. The Chicago Tribune’s called him “the voice of the new Chicago” and the Boston Globe says he’s “the city’s unofficial poet laureate”. This is Modern Art is forthcoming in the Spring of 2016 on Haymarket Books and Coval’s A People’s History of Chicago is due out in the Spring of 2017, also on Haymarket Books.

Avila Kushner’s first book, The Grammar of God: A Journey Into the Words and Worlds of the Bible (Spiegel & Grau/Random House 2015), is about the intense experience of reading the Bible in English after an entire life of reading it in Hebrew. My writing has also appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, Partisan Review, Poets & Writers, A Public Space, The Wilson Quarterly, and Zoetrope: All-Story. She has worked as a travel columnist for The International Jerusalem Post and as a poetry columnist for BarnesandNoble.com. Avila is currently an associate professor of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, and is a contributing editor at A Public Space as well as a mentor for The National Yiddish Book Center.

Mario Smith is the host of News From the Service Entrance on WHPK, a contributor to #TheDownload on WGN Radio and a Break Beat Poet

BrooksDay 2016 Readers include:

Javon Smith
Sandra Jackson Opoku
Fatimah Asghar
Elise Paschen
Julie Nesbitt
Stephen Young
Kimberly Dixon-Mays
Babu Atiba
Mama Edie
Kai El’Zabar
Coya Paz
Toni Nealie
Hurley Green
Elizabeth Taylor
Jill Hopkins
Nora Brooks Blakely
Angela Jackson
Quraysh Ali Lansana
Val Gray Ward
Toni Asante Lightfoot
Natasha Estevez
Haki Madhubuti
Duriel Harris
Kofi Ademola
Page May
Tiff Beatty
Bee Kapri
Bill Ayers
Tim Samuelson
Rebirth with Sketch N Tyme
FM Supreme
M’Reld Green
Kristiana Colon
Calvin Forbes
Jackie Taylor
Rosellen Brown
Michelle Boone
Peter O’Leary
Aurora Performance Group

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