The Chicago Poetry Center presents BLUE HOUR, a free, public monthly online reading series and generative writing workshop hosted and facilitated by Marty McConnell.
Each event features two readers from Chicago and beyond, followed by an optional, limited-space workshop focused on a poem by one of the featured readers and including guided generative writing time.
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 DECEMBER 15:
- Reading (zoom webinar) opens at 6:15 central time, reading begins at 6:30, ends 7:15
- Workshop (zoom room) begins at 7:30 central time, ends at 8:15
- Note that registration is free and you can sign up for one or both portions of the event, but each registration must be completed separately.
- Webinar registration link: https://dec15bhrdg.eventbrite.com
- Workshop registration link: https://dec15cpcbh.eventbrite.com
ABOUT THE READING:
The Blue Hour reading features readings by two poets from Chicago and beyond, followed by a brief Q&A.
ABOUT THE WORKSHOP:
The Blue Hour generative writing workshop is suitable for writers and poetry fans of all levels. We will discuss a poem by one of the night’s featured readers, then Marty will guide the group through individual writing on an exploratory prompt that draws on themes from the poem.
ELANA BELL is the author of Mother Country (BOA Editions 2020), poems about fertility, motherhood, and mental illness, and founder of the Mother Artist Salon. Her debut collection of poetry, Eyes, Stones (LSU Press 2012), received the 2011 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Elana is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Edward Albee Foundation, and the Brooklyn Arts Council. Her writing has appeared in AGNI, Harvard Review, and the Massachusetts Review, among others. She was an inaugural finalist for the Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism, an award that recognizes and honors a poet who is doing innovative and transformative work at the intersection of poetry and social change. In addition to facilitating her own Creative Fire workshops, Elana leads sacred sound journeys, teaches poetry to actors at the Juilliard School and sings with the Resistance Revival Chorus, a group of womxn activists and musicians committed to bringing joy and song to the resistance movement. www.elanabell.com
RICH VILLAR is a poet, educator, and curator originally from Paterson, New Jersey. He is the author of Comprehending Forever (Willow Books, 2014) and his poems are anthologized most recently in What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump (Curbstone/Northwestern University Press, 2019), and The BreakBeat Poets, Volume 4: LatiNEXT (Haymarket Books, 2020). He was a 2020 New Jersey State Arts Council Fellow and is a mentor and program coordinator for the NYU Prison Education Program.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION:
The mission of the Chicago Poetry Center is to connect people with poetry, equitably engage poets with communities, and foster creativity and literacy in schools. We envision a world where poetry catalyzes reflection, connection, and change.
Since the Chicago Poetry Center’s first readings took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 1975, the Poetry Center has been a mainstay of Chicago’s cultural scene. Free public readings continue to be offered monthly in virtual and physical formats. Over 325 poets have participated in public readings, and a digital archive of their work is available on the Poetry Center website. The expansive archive also serves as the basis of a digital module for teaching poetry, which was recently developed by the Center’s Executive Director and is available at no cost to teachers.
ABOUT THE HOST:
Marty McConnell is a poet, educator, and healer based in Chicago where she provides vital coaching and consulting services to people and organizations, supporting them in being planful, proactive, and powerful in building the lives and worlds they envision. 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. YesYes Books recently released her first nonfiction book, Gathering Voices: Creating a Community-Based Poetry Workshop. 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. www.martyoutloud.com
To learn more about the series and history, go here.