Oct. 19: Dipika Mukherjee & Willie Lin at Blue Hour

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


Each event features two readers from Chicago and beyond, preceded by a 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”:

I wait
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.


  • Workshop (registration required) begins promptly at 6 p.m., ends at 7 p.m.
  • 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.


The Blue Hour reading features readings by two poets from Chicago and beyond, followed by community gathering time. In addition, there will be an ASL interpreter for the reading.


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 the facilitator will guide the group through individual writing on an exploratory prompt that draws on themes from the poem. 


DIPIKA MUKHERJEE‘s (she/her) latest poetry collection, Dialect of Distant Harbors, will be published by CavanKerry Press in October 2022. She is the author of the poetry collections The Palimpsest of Exile (2009) and The Third Glass of Wine (2015). Her poetry appears in publications around the world, including RHINO, PostColonial Text, World Literature Today, Asia Literary Review, Del Sol Review and Chicago Quarterly Review, and she won the Liakoura Prize for Poetry (USA, 2016). She is the recipient of a 2022 Esteemed Artist Award (DCASE) from the City of Chicago. She teaches at the Graham School at University of Chicago as well as at StoryStudio Chicago.

WILLIE LIN was born in Beijing, China and lives and works in Chicago. She’s a Kundiman fellow and the author of Conversation Among Stones (BOA Editions, forthcoming 2023) as well as the chapbooks Instructions for Folding and Lesser Birds of Paradise.


Kundiman is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing generations of writers and readers of Asian American literature.

Kundiman creates a space where Asian Americans can explore, through art, the unique challenges that face the new and ever changing diaspora. We see the arts as a tool of empowerment, of education and liberation, of addressing proactively the legacy we will leave for our future. To extend Kundiman’s vision of community building for Asian American writers everywhere, Kundiman has developed a national network of regional groups to host their own salons, readings, and workshops.

The mission of the Chicago Poetry Center is to connect people with poetry, equitably engage poets with communities, and foster creative literacy in the city and beyond. 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.


Helene Achanzar is the Director of Programs at the Chicago Poetry Center, an associate editor at Poetry Northwest, and the Midwest Chair for Kundiman. She has 15+ years of experience in education and literary arts programming, including roles with Illinois State University and After School Matters. Her poems can be found in jubilat, Sixth Finch, Georgia Review, and elsewhere. Winner of the 2022 New England Review Award for Emerging Writers, her writing has been supported by Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Mastheads.


Lisa Low earned an MFA from Indiana University and a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Cincinnati, where she served as associate editor at The Cincinnati Review. Her poems have appeared in Copper Nickel, Ecotone, The Massachusetts Review, Poetry, The Southern Review, and elsewhere, and her essay “How to Apologize” won the 2020 Gulf Coast Nonfiction Prize. Her debut chapbook, Crown for the Girl Inside, won the 2020 Vinyl 45 Chapbook Contest and is forthcoming from YesYes Books. She is originally from Maryland but calls the midwest home.

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.