Queen Zee Launch Party Recap and a New Curriculum for Primary Grades

Queen Zee’s Poetic Adventures: Launch Party Recap

It was a rainy, blustery night, but teachers, students, and friends of the Chicago Poetry Center braved the storm to celebrate the launch of Queen Zee’s Poetic Adventures, CPC’s new education program. We stayed warm and toasty as we took photo booth pictures, and caught up over dinner and drinks.

While we screened the first episode of Queen Zee, guests of all ages followed along with the poetry lesson, using a student worksheet to brainstorm ideas for a poem and writing a brand new poem by the episode’s end. Inspired by Queen Zee’s encouragement to read poetry aloud, guests shared their poems about imaginary worlds.

After the screening, we honored the people who helped bring Queen Zee to life, including the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts. Finally, we announced the two raffle winners for a Pop Up Assembly and an educator’s book bundle. The night ended with more celebration, laughter, and, of course, photo booth fun.

To learn more about Queen Zee’s Poetic Adventures or to access the free episodes, visit the program’s webpage.

CPC Poet in Residence Leslie Reese, the star of Queen Zee’s Poetic Adventures, poses with series director Christian Mejía.
CPC Executive Director B Metzger Sampson presents a gift to former CPC student Layla Abdullah, who voice acted for the series.

Coming Soon: CPC’s New Poetry Residency Curriculum for Primary Grades

The Chicago Poetry Center is thrilled to announce the Innovation 80 Early Readers Pilot. CPC will develop and launch a 10-session curriculum for pre-readers that maintains our pedagogical approach and adapts aspects of the existing curriculum in developmentally appropriate ways. This work will expand the reach of our residency programs to first grade as well as provide key supports to our Poets in Residence working with students experiencing literacy challenges in second and third grades.

This program is supported by a partnership with Innovation 80, a foundation that encourages and funds innovative programs that use the arts to engage and support underserved populations in Chicago. Innovation 80 acts as a catalyst to foster arts-based programs that build life skills including self-confidence, creativity, teamwork and persistence.

Students read poems for Reading Day.

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.