June Reading Series Spotlight: Timothy David Rey

Timothy David Rey

Timothy David Rey is a Chicago-based poet, playwright, performer and educator. He is a 2015 semi-finalist for the Guild Literary Complex’s Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Poetry Award, and one of the winners of Project Exploration (The Poetry Center of Chicago 2004). He is the co-founder of the LBGT Solo Performance Showcase, Solo Homo (2002-2011). In addition, he has taught poetry and performance for Columbia College School of Fine & Performing Arts Community Engagement Program, the Poetry Foundation Summer Teacher’s Institute and is currently a Poet In-Residence for The Chicago Poetry Center. He is the Chicagoland Regional Coordinator for Poetry Out Loud!  (Poetry Foundation/National Endowment for the Arts). His book of poetry and performance, Little Victories, was published in 2012 by NewTown Writers Press.

Saturn Returns

By Timothy David Rey

Saturn returns
how it does.
Keeps us coming back for more.
How we swore we outgrew it
and knew it, but somehow
the starlight keeps calling
like small children bawling
but not shedding a tear.
Here for me now it’s about
writing/not writing
and fighting the urges that funeral
dirges make clear all too late.
Why not wait?
We catch ourselves saying and praying
and hoping and doping up to see clearly or
merely not doing.
But Saturn,
she’s wiser and lies there on
stellar blanket laid out for more
than just display and spins her
rings round and round of
all ex-loves she’s seen go down.
So knows a little more than us
and comes back
When our dreams are dust.
Peering through her hazy cloud
reaching out to our heads
is how Saturn returns and
how it burns, baby, how it burns our
icy lives back into place.
Our souls her rings
Her jewels
Their waste.
Published in the 2002 Edition of After Hours: A Chicago Journal of Writing and Art.

Timothy David Rey’s Poet Spotlight: Robert Frost

Rey: “One of my favorite Frost poems, ‘Choose Something Like A Star’ is both direct and ambiguous and plays on our childlike belief that a wish on a star may come true, as well as our adult want to believe in something more. The poem is very vowel-heavy from the title to the last line, and satisfies our inner-infant’s need for the ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ sounds. Frost uses a regular rhyme scheme in iambic pentameter to give the poem motion—you can almost hear the heartbeat under it all. The poem has been put to music in Randall Thompson’s choral collection, Frostiana. I had the pleasure of singing in a choir that performed this piece, and on the final note you could hear a pin drop in the audience. It is always a wonder to think about what lies beyond and for good reason, as astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson says: “We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”

Choose Something Like A Star

By Robert Frost

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud—
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says, ‘I burn.’
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.
From Collected Poems, Prose & Plays. © The Library of America, 1995.

Chicago Poetry Center Team Spotlight:

Eighth & Ninth Grade Poets

Late Spring every year, Chicago Poetry Center Poets in Residence at Chicago Public Schools nominate students from their classrooms to read original poems at the Chicago Poetry Center’s end of the year event.
This year, rather than a live program, we created videos of students from across Chicago reading poetry written during residencies that began in classrooms, but pivoted to virtual and at-home learning in March when COVID-19 and shelter-in-place began.
We commend all the students who wrote poetry throughout this extraordinary time, and especially the three hundred eighth grade graduates. We hope your creativity and self-expression continues to thrive.
Please click here or on the image above to watch to 8th and 9th grade poets read their original work and click here for a link to the full end-of-the-year program.





“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.