Our primary programs include:
Literary Life aims to provide platforms for marginalized voices, integrate poetry into everyday life, and foster creativity among people of all ages. Our flagship program is the free Blue Hour reading series and generative writing workshop which takes place every third Wednesday of the month at Haymarket House. Other Lit Life programs include the summer Poetry @ The Green at 320 series, opportunities for organizations to bring poets into the workplace, and collaborations with organizations including museums, parks, community centers and others.
The Chicago Poetry Center provides educational programming to thousands of young people across Chicago and beyond, annually. Our programs include long-term in-school and after-school options as well as one-hour assemblies and short-term workshops. To learn more about all of our programs, read below, or head to the school programs page.
Poetry Residencies support in-classroom and out-of-classroom learning through long-term programming with Chicago Public Schools and other education partners. We hire Chicago poet/teaching artists (Poets In Residence) to teach year-long in-school and after-school residencies. For in-school residencies, poets meet with their classrooms weekly and publish student work after each session on our school blogs. Each week our poet and students read, write, discuss, and perform poetry. After-school residencies can run just like an in-school residency program, or they can be tailored to build an after-school poetry club, a performance poetry team, open mics, or other opportunities that your community is interested in. Learn more on our school poetry programs page.
Pop Up Poetry Programs
Pop Up Poetry Programs are short-term engagements with a school, whether it’s for one, school-wide performance, or one day or week of workshops and performances across your school or community. Our most popular Pop Up is “Voices of Chicago” an assembly featuring three performance poets performing original and legacy works (customizable themes), providing education information on the legacy of performance poetry in the Chicago area, and “InstaPoems” written and performed live on the spot by CPC’s nationally acclaimed performance poets. Learn more on our schools page.
Queen Zee’s Poetic Adventures
Inspired by classic children’s television, Queen Zee’s Poetic Adventures takes viewers to a magical world of joyful, engaging poetry lessons for kids. Created for students in 2nd-5th grades, this five-episode series is ELA and SEL-focused, aligned with Common Core standards, and, best of all, fun! Queen Zee is the Royal Protector of the Human Soul, and her favorite way to feed and nourish the soul is to write poetry with young people. Starring Chicago Poetry Center Poet in Residence Leslie Reese, Queen Zee’s Poetic Adventures leads students through CPC’s time-tested curriculum and is based on successful lessons taught in CPS classrooms. Each lesson includes a teacher resource guide and downloadable student workbook (editable PDF and printable), as well as points in the video to pause and work together as a class on your brainstorm and writing.
Critical Conversations @ Work
Drawing on our decades of workshop facilitation, the Chicago Poetry Center’s “Critical Conversations @ Work: Anti-Racism” offerings use the written word as a springboard for powerful conversations about how race shapes our individual experiences of the world both within and outside the realm of work. Each session is led by two trained and racially diverse facilitators and is designed to catalyze powerful conversation without requiring those most directly harmed by racism to retell their experiences of trauma or resilience. Sessions include exploration of a theme related to racial justice through discussion of contemporary poems, sharing of personal experiences, and guided writing practice. No prior poetry experience or education is needed!
The Chicago Poetry Center collaborates with communities, cultural institutions, and educational partners across Chicago and beyond. Recent collaborative partners include: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Garfield Park Conservatory, Rebuild Foundation – Stony Island Arts Bank and Bing!, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Northwestern University Observatory, Shift Englewood Youth Orchestra, The Simple Good, Word Play Way with the David Hoyt Foundation, Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Chicago Park District, and the Chicago History Museum. To discuss a collaborative program or project with CPC email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Chicago Poetry Center is an independent not-for-profit, 501c3 arts organization founded in 1974. To learn more about how you can support the Chicago Poetry Center, please visit our donation page, our wishlist, or our volunteer and internship page. To contact the Chicago Poetry Center regarding these programs, or any other inquiries, please find the appropriate contact here.