A Bigger Table: 50 Years of the Chicago Poetry Center Press Release

A Bigger Table: 50 Years of the Chicago Poetry Center Press Release

Celebrating a beloved Chicago literary institution’s legacy


CHICAGO, June 12, 2024—The Poetry Foundation honors the Chicago Poetry Center’s 50th anniversary with an exhibition of archival materials, a documentary film premiere, and live readings and performances from CPC poets.

A Bigger Table: 50 Years of the Chicago Poetry Center will feature 50 broadsides, commemorative poetry prints, iconic vintage event posters, archival materials, and ephemera from CPC’s five-decade history. The exhibition opens on Thursday, June 27, and will be available to the public through Saturday, September 14, 2024.

“The Chicago Poetry Center has done so much over the decades to expand Chicago’s literary landscape; their efforts helped lay the groundwork for organizations like the Poetry Foundation to bring poetry to more people,” said Fred Sasaki, the Poetry Foundation’s creative director and exhibition co-curator. “It is a joy to honor CPC’s legacy by hosting this celebration of its 50 years of service to Chicago’s people and their poetry.” 

On July 13, the Poetry Foundation will host a public event, which kicks off with a reception in the Foundation’s courtyard. After the reception, attendees are invited to the premiere of the documentary A Bigger Table, which explores CPC from its roots as a platform for censored writers to its present-day mission as the organization continues to build a bigger table for poets in Chicago and beyond. The film screening will be followed by readings and performances by Layla Abdullah, Helene Achanzar, and Marvin Tate and remarks by CPC’s executive director B. Metzger Sampson. Admission to the event and the exhibition are free; guests are encouraged to register in advance.

“It is an honor to usher this organization into its 50th anniversary,” said B. Metzger Sampson, executive director of the Chicago Poetry Center. “Each steward of the Chicago Poetry Center has sought to follow the legacy of those before them in creating a bigger and more inclusive table for community, for poetry, and for connection. This exhibition is an exciting opportunity for us to celebrate the innovative ways poets have widened the table at CPC and in Chicago’s literary scene each decade.”


Visiting the Poetry Foundation
Poetry Foundation events are free and open to the public. For location, hours, and more information, please visit PoetryFoundation.org/Visit. To learn more about the Poetry Foundation’s events and exhibitions, please subscribe to the newsletter and visit PoetryFoundation.org/Events for the most up-to-date listings. 

Readings and events include live captioning and ASL interpretation unless otherwise noted. If you have additional accessibility needs, please contact Events@PoetryFoundation.org.



“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.