Poetry Programs Spotlight: Celebrating MLK with Milwaukee Students

The Chicago Poetry Center Honors Dr. King in Milwaukee


On January 15th, we celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary in Milwaukee, WI. Our partners at Bader Philanthropies helped CPC build this Milwaukee partnership, and we couldn’t be more grateful to connect with the fabulous community at MLK Milwaukee. The Virtual Pop Up Assembly opened with a song beautifully performed by first grade students entitled “Sing About Martin.” After a warm welcome from MLK Elementary’s Principal Hayes, three CPC poets shared pieces about memorable childhood experiences, as well as a special poem by Nikki Giovanni.

CPC Poet Jyreika Guest, the “InstaPoem” winner, answers student questions shared by MLK Elementary’s Principal Hayes and Assistant Principal Jenkins.

Encouraged by all of the student participation in the chat, the CPC poets wrote beautiful impromptu “InstaPoems” about one lucky MLK Elementary scholar, and the audience enthusiastically voted on their favorite. During the Q&A session, the poets were impressed by the thoughtful student questions and were thrilled to talk about their favorite authors and to describe their artistic journeys.

While in-school learning has been suspended for countless school districts in Illinois and across the Midwest, we are comforted by poetry’s ability to bridge the physical distance between our poets and students. With live streaming residencies and assemblies, we can bring art to homes all across Chicago and beyond.


What do CPC students write about in poetry residencies?

Watch this video from our Poets in Residenceto find out.


Student Poems to Kick Off the New Year


“Learning poetry is like jumping from a plane without a parachute.”
-Charles O. from Shoesmith Elementary. Click the banner to read more poems about learning.


“My mother’s smile explains the deep green grass. / My father’s glasses tell the tall green trees.”
-Sophia B. from Avondale-Logandale Elementary. Read more poems inspired by CPC poet Luis Tubens by clicking the banner above.


Support Residencies, Support Students


Join us on February 11 from 7-8 p.m. for No Love for Love: Quarantine Edition, our annual celebration, fundraiser, and non-traditional valentine to love in all forms, especially the love of poetry. Spend an hour with stories and poems that celebrate the power of our community and bring us together in a time of exceptional distance. A donation to CPC of any amount receives an invitation to this virtual event.

Watch Joshua read “The Inspirational Dream,”
his love poem from home.
Make a year-end donation to the Chicago
Poetry Center.

We wish you warmth and hope for an exciting new year


Education Programs are supported by our partners:






“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.