Programs Spotlight: CPC Performances and Poetry Out Loud Champion

Celebrate National Poetry Month with CPC Performances

With April just around the corner, the Chicago Poetry Center can’t wait to visit schools and community spaces for National Poetry Month. Our performances are engaging, interactive events that get children and adults alike excited about reading and writing poetry.

Poet in Residence Ola Faleti gets the audience involved at a Women’s History Month-themed assembly at Deneen School of Excellence.

While our popular “Voices of Chicago” themed show highlights the diverse experiences of our Poets in Residence who live and write in the city, our recent school-based performances included themes like Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and mental health and wellness.

At Clissold Elementary School, Poets in Residence Fullamusu Bangura and Tarnynon Onumonu show off the journals that they use to write InstaPoems.

Each show includes three CPC poets sharing an original poem or a poem by a “legacy” poet, an overview of the history of slam poetry in Chicago, and an interactive slam-style game called the InstaPoem. During the game, the poets write brand new poems inspired by a volunteer from the audience. After hearing these impromptu poems, the audience selects the winner of the game by cheering for their favorite poem. It’s proof that you don’t need much to write a poem of your own — just a few minutes and a little inspiration!

Interested in bringing one of CPC’s assemblies or performances to your school or organization? Visit our website to learn more.

Congrats, Yohanna Endashaw!

Your 2023 Poetry Out Loud State Champion, Yohanna Endashaw!

As the Chicagoland host for Poetry Out Loud, the Chicago Poetry Center is excited to share that Yohanna Endashaw from Niles West High School is the 2023 Poetry Out Loud State Champion.

Poetry Out Loud in Illinois is a collaborative project of the Illinois Arts Council Agency and seven arts agencies who host regional contests. As a national program, Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through analysis, memorization, performance, and competition.

Congratulations to Yohanna and to all the students who represented Chicago and Chicagoland schools in Springfield this month. Learn more about the competition and the finalists here.

Searching for a fun and supportive open mic?
Look no further than Blue Hour!

Poet Dāshaun Washington shares a poem at the Blue Hour open mic.
When the Chicago Poetry Center decided to add an open mic to Blue Hour, our monthly poetry reading and generative workshop series, we never imagined the community-building opportunities it would provide.

Each month, five readers are selected at random, and to our surprise, many admit to Blue Hour being their first time sharing at an open mic. Not only are we happy to be a welcoming space for both open mic first-timers and seasoned performers, but we’re always thrilled to see audience members stick around for a drink and conversation after the featured readings.

Want to join in on the fun? Click here for a list of upcoming Blue Hour events.

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.