April 19: Maya Pindyck and Julian Randall

The Chicago Poetry Center presents BLUE HOUR, a free, public monthly in-person reading series and generative writing workshop. 


Each event takes place at Haymarket House (800 W. Buena) on the third Wednesday of the month and includes a brief lottery-style open mic and two featured readers from Chicago and beyond, preceded by a generative writing workshop. All readings are also livestreamed!
This month, we are thrilled to present two stellar featured readers: Maya Pindyck and Julian Randall.


  • Workshop (registration required) begins promptly at 6 p.m., ends at 7 p.m.
  • Open mic sign-up begins at 7:15.
  • Reading (registration recommended) begins at 7:30, followed by community gathering time.
  • Reading registration is free; the workshop is sliding scale with a suggested donation of $10.
  • Register for the workshop here.
  • Get your ticket for the reading here.
  • Livestream is available here.

Accessibility note: Haymarket House is fully wheelchair-accessible, and all readings include professional ASL interpretation. Please email Marty@poetrycenter.org with any questions. If you will be using the ramp, email curator@poetrycenter.org so that we can make sure that door is unlocked for your use.


The Blue Hour reading includes a brief open mic followed by two featured poets from Chicago and beyond. Pre-registration is free and recommended. The open mic includes five readers drawn lottery-style from a hat that goes out at 7:15. The reading starts promptly at 7:30. Each open mic poet reads one poem or for three minutes, whichever comes first.


The Blue Hour limited-space generative writing workshop is suitable for writers and poetry fans of all levels. We will discuss a poem together, then the facilitator will guide the group through individual writing on an exploratory prompt that draws on themes from the poem. This month, the workshop will be hosted by Blue Hour curator Marty McConnell.


Maya Pindyck’s most recent book, “Impossible Belonging,” won the 2021 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry (Anhinga Press, 2023). A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship, she is also the author of the poetry collections “Emoticoncert” (Four Way Books) and “Friend Among Stones” (New Rivers Press, winner of the Many Voices Project Award), and co-author of the education textbook “A Poetry Pedagogy for Teachers” (Bloomsbury, 2022). She lives in Philadelphia where she is an assistant professor and director of Writing at Moore College of Art & Design. 

Julian Randall is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago. A recipient of multiple fellowships, Julian is the winner of a Pushcart Prize. He holds an MFA in Poetry from University of Mississippi. His writing has appeared in New York Times Magazine, POETRY, and The Atlantic. Julian is the author of “Refuse” (Pitt, 2018), winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and a finalist for an NAACP Image Award, “The Pilar Ramirez Duet” (Holt Books for Young Readers) and “The Dead Don’t Need Reminding: Essays” (Bold Type Books, 2024). He can be found at @JulianThePoet and on his website JulianDavidRandall.com.


To learn more about the series and history, go here. 



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.