The Chicago Poetry Center presents BLUE HOUR, a free, public monthly in-person reading series and generative writing workshop hosted and facilitated by Marty McConnell.
*** HEALTH & SAFETY NOTE: We are requesting that attendees mask for this event. Thank you for your cooperation! ***
The Blue Hour reading includes a brief open mic followed by two featured poets from Chicago and beyond. 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 name comes from a line by Chicago poet Li-Young Lee, from a section of “The City in Which I Love You”:
in a blue hour
and faraway noise of hammering,
and on a page a poem begun, something
about to be dispersed,
something about to come into being.
EVENT DETAILS FOR SEPTEMBER 20:
- 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.
ABOUT THE READING:
The Blue Hour reading features readings by two poets from Chicago and beyond, preceded by a five person lottery-style open mic and followed by community gathering time.
ABOUT THE WORKSHOP:
The Blue Hour generative writing workshop is suitable for writers and poetry fans of all levels. We will discuss a poem together, then Marty will guide the group through individual writing on an exploratory prompt that draws on themes from the poem.
Courtney LeBlanc is the author of the full-length collections “Her Whole Bright Life” (winner of the Jack McCarthy Book Prize, Write Bloody, 2023), “Exquisite Bloody, Beating Heart” (Riot in Your Throat, 2021) and “Beautiful & Full of Monsters” (VA Press, 2020). She is a Virginia Center for Creative Arts fellow (2022) and the founder and editor-in-chief of Riot in Your Throat, an independent poetry press. She loves nail polish, tattoos, and a soy latte each morning.
Cynthia Manick is the author of “No Sweet Without Brine” (Amistad-HarperCollins, 2023) which received 5 stars from Roxane Gay, editor of “The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry,” winner of the Lascaux Prize in Collected Poetry, and author of Blue Hallelujahs. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, MacDowell Colony, and Château de la Napoule among other foundations. For 10 years she curated Soul Sister Revue, a quarterly reading series that promoted poetry as storytelling and featured emerging poets, poet laureates, and Pulitzer prize winners. Her poem “Things I Carry Into the World” was made into a film by Motionpoems, an organization dedicated to video poetry, and has debuted on Tidal for National Poetry Month. A storyteller and performer at literary festivals, libraries, universities, and museums, Manick’s work has also featured in VOICES, an audio play by Aja Monet and Eve Ensler’s V-Day, the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Series, Brooklyn Rail, the Rumpus and other outlets. She currently serves on the editorial board of Alice James Books. She lives in Brooklyn, but travels widely for poetry.
ABOUT THE HOST:
Marty McConnell is a poet, educator, and healer based in Chicago. She is the author of when they say you can’t go home again, what they mean is you were never there, winner of the 2017 Michael Waters Poetry Prize; her first full-length collection, wine for a shotgun, received the Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Awards and was a finalist for both the Audre Lorde Award and a Lambda Literary Award. Her first nonfiction book, Gathering Voices: Creating a Community-Based Poetry Workshop, is available through YesYes Books. She is the co-creator and co-editor of underbelly, a web site focused on the art and magic of poetry revision. An MFA graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Best American Poetry, Southern Humanities Review, Gulf Coast, and Indiana Review.
To learn more about the series and history, go here.