Guild Literary Complex




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.”


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 JournalNewfoundAnother Chicago MagazineChicago ReaderAfter HoursMud 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. 




Kenya Fulton, who performs as Kao Ra Zen, is a spoken-word poet, rapper, multimedia performance artist, painter, director, and curator born and raised in Chicago, IL. For several years, he has been performing and organizing concerts, parties, film screenings, and art happenings throughout Chicago, notably his annual HIPPY HOLY DAZE art and music holiday celebrations; KULTURE KLASH art film/video showcases; and the ‘A PERFORMANCE HAPPENING’ series. Kao has performed and exhibited in Germany, rocked open MICs in Guatemala, was a feature performer during events such as the first annual Afro Utah Festival in 2021; the Chicago Hip-Hop Theater Fest and TEDx Showtime ChiTime events in 2022; and the New Performance Turku Biennale in Finland in 2023. Kao‘s creative writing has been published in numerous poetry collections, magazines, and websites. He has performed at notable venues in Chicago such as Symphony Center, Harris Theater, Links Hall, Elastic Arts, Alhambra Palace, and the DANK Haus. Kao is a member of International Art Group artist collective; the legendary Nacrobats Hip-Hop crew; and was a member of the Firqit Surayah dance troupe. He has worked on multiple projects with organizations such as ’Every house has a door‘ and ’NON:op’.  Kao has an Associate of Fine Arts degree from Harold Washington College, a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is now in the MFA Creative Writing program at Chicago State University. He is currently working on multiple music and performance projects.



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

Mary Hawley

Palabra Pura Coordinator