Programs Spotlight: As Spring Arrives, Community Connections Thrive

Farewell to a Wonderful Winter:

Staying Connected to Communities

with Special Events and More

It’s been a busy few months for the Chicago Poetry Center. While we continue to launch In-School and After School Poetry Residencies at new partner schools, we’ve welcomed two additional Poets in Residence to our team. We’re pleased to share that Chasity Gunn and Isaac Ginsburg Miller have begun working with students on Chicago’s North and Northwest sides, teaching poems in both English and Spanish, and adapting their lessons for enthusiastic English language learners. Read about our new team members on the Poets in Residence page.

CPC Poet Davon Clark uses his original poetry to honor the legacy of Dr. King at the Chicago History Museum.

Meanwhile, other CPC poets have been teaching and performing in communities all across the city. In January, Davon Clark, Jyreika Guest, Tarnynon Onumonu, and Timothy David Rey shared poems at the Chicago History Museum’s celebration honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspired by a keynote address by Donald Lassere, President of the Chicago History Museum, the poets performed original poems as well as poems by other Chicago writers with the themes of community-building and civic engagement.

Timothy David Rey guides workshop participants through a writing exercise that explores the theme of community,

After the performance, Timothy led a packed room of children and parents through a poetry writing exercise. Participants shared their answers to questions like, “What does community mean to you?” and “Who is part of your community?” Then, using historic and modern protest songs, participants wrote poems that blended lyrics with their own ideas about their communities. Workshop ended with an open mic, during which kids and adults alike read their newly written poems.

Families at Intrinsic Schools enjoy a performance by CPC poet Tarnynon Onumonu.

In February, Timothy and Tarnynon joined students and parents at Intrinsic Schools for an evening of performances to celebrate Black History Month. The night was filled with music, dance, and of course, poetry.

This month, CPC Poet Luis Tubens will perform at Franklin Park’s Leyden High School for its Social Justice Day of Action. Soon after, we will partner with Illinois Humanities to offer presentations for K-5th grade educators and 6th-12th grade educators as part of the Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards. At the Chicago Poetry Center, our Poets in Residence are staying active and engaged throughout the season. We’re grateful for the opportunities to bring poetry to so many people in the past few months and look forward to even more special events in April for National Poetry Month and into the warmer months of Spring.

Poems from the Student Blog

“You can be as serious as a business man, / but when I saw you, you caught my eye. / I knew you would be a perfect match. / I may not play with you some days but that doesn’t stop me from loving you. Others may think she is just a cat but how I see you, you’re more than a cat.” – Micah T., 4th grade student at Kozminksi Academy


“I wake up on a chilly day, /. Then I remember the Packers play today, yay! /
Aaron Rodgers and Jaire Alexander come over to my house / We plan on how to win! They won’t squash us like a mouse!” – Danny R., 8th grade student at Washington Elementary


Poet in Residence Spotlight: Joshua Nguyen

Pop-Up Poet in Residence Joshua Nguyen presents poems from his book, Come Clean, at Fremd High School in Palatine.

“For the Chicago Poetry Center’s pop-up assemblies, I gravitate towards performing poems about my Vietnamese-American identity. I think it comes from the fact that growing up, I wish I saw more Vietnamese-American poets. I think if I did, I would’ve found confidence in my voice earlier. I also like doing poems that make me laugh or fill me with wonder.

Performing at these assemblies has also helped me gauge audiences better. I am used to tweaking my poems a little whenever I read for mostly adult audiences, but when reading for younger audiences, I am considering another way read my work — which ultimately makes me a better performer.”

Thank you for supporting

the Chicago Poetry Center!

Arts Education Programming Made Possible with Support 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.