Imaginative Poetry Video Series for Young People Takes Flight!

Imaginative Poetry Video Series for Young People Takes Flight!

With partnership and support from the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts, the Chicago Poetry Center takes on an exciting expansion of our youth programming, connecting many more Chicago students to the joy and creativity celebrated in CPC’s Residency Program.

This summer, the Chicago Poetry Center will be launching a five-episode video series for students in grades 2-5. The series will feature CPC teaching artist, Leslie Reese, as Queen Zee. Queen Zee lives in a magical universe with a special portal into Chicago and each episode will feature creative poetry lessons in Queen Zee’s universe, with interstellar travel to Chicago to check out amazing performances by Chicago poets.

Each lesson students will read and discuss poetry, brainstorm ideas, and write original poems, while showcasing the power of performance to convey our highest expression. The final project with include teacher and student resources, and a set of wildly imaginative episodes!

The Chicago Poetry Center is partnering with Full Spectrum Features to produce the series. FSF is a fellow nonprofit, with a proven track record in Chicago film, and a commitment to equity in the film industry. CPC and FSF are thrilled to announce that the director on this project is Chicago’s own Christian Mejía. (Check out Christian’s original series Born and Raised!)

Currently, Christian is collaborating with CPC team Leslie Reese (lead teaching artist on the project and show host), Helene Achanzar (Director of Programs) and B Metzger Sampson (Executive Director) to develop scripts. We’re having a ton of fun building out this magical world and are looking forward to sharing it with all of you. The project enters production the final week of March and first week of April. Stay tuned for more updates!

About Ralla Klepak and her Legacy

Ralla Klepak (1936-2019) was a fierce advocate, educator, and attorney. She sought out the disadvantaged and fought for those whose rights were being violated. She was well-known for her tireless efforts in family law and her precedent-establishing struggles on behalf of the LGBTQ community. This accomplishment resulted in her 2017 induction into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame as a Friend of the Community.

Ralla attended Northwestern University for her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and chose to teach in under resourced public schools to bring her best efforts to help educate Chicago students. She furthered her education and received her JD at the John Marshall Law School in 1964. She advocated for civil and woman’s rights with feminist activist, Sister Margaret Traxler. Ralla began her professional legal career working with her father, Jack Klepak, who introduced her to the non-textbook practice of law. These experiences instilled in her the love for her profession, which she never abandoned.

For decades, Ralla took on individual civil and criminal cases for people who she believed were being ill-treated by the legal system, often stating that one of her chief concerns was to ensure that the “system worked for everyone” or everyone “at least had the opportunity to have the best representation she could mount”. She was a member of various legal organizations throughout her career, taught law at Chicago-Kent College of Law, and was a tireless advocate for the rights of children in contentious family law matters. She practiced up to the time of her death.

The Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts will be funding performing arts programs that support the disabled and disadvantaged to contribute in Ralla’s goal of world peace. These programs will be her legacy for years to come.

Click here for more information on Ralla Klepak’s legacy.



“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.