Seeking Teaching Artist for 2015-16 Spoken Word Program

The Poetry Center of Chicago is seeking a new Poet In Residence to teach poetry reading, comprehension, writing, and performance to Chicago Public School students at Washington High School during the spring of 2016.

Qualified applicants will have a strong background as a working performance poet, and will have experience teaching and creating strong lesson plans, and organizing spoken word activities for high school students.

This program is the result of a special grant awarded to Hands On Stanzas and Washington High School, and as such, the compensation is very competitive. Not only will the Poet be facilitating the Hands On Stanzas writing curriculum, but also fostering a student spoken word community, to perform regularly in the Washington High School theater. Washington previously had a thriving performance community, and the high school is eager to reinvigorate that for their students.

In addition to experience with performance poetry and high school students, energy, enthusiasm, and a passion for teaching are strongly desired. Candidates for this part-time position must be able to travel to Washington High School (3535 E. 114th St., Chicago, IL 60617) approximately once per week, during school hours, between February and May, for a total of 15 sessions at the high school. Hours within that schedule are flexible, but candidate must be able to be in attendance at the school once per week. Occasional visits to the Poetry Center (78 E. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602) to pick up materials will also be required.

Hands on Stanzas places Chicago poets in public school classrooms for extended residencies, spanning much of the school year. Writing, reading, and performing poetry encourages students to explore how words can convey their own thoughts, visions and emotions. Teaching poetry improves literacy and prepares students to successfully navigate a world that demands creative communication.

Founded in 1974, The Poetry Center is an independent, not-for-profit arts organization committed to building Chicago’s access to poetry through readings, workshops, and arts education. The Poetry Center is currently in residence at the Chicago Cultural Center.

How To Apply:

Send a letter of interest and a current CV or resume to:

B Sampson at

Subject: Washington PIR Application – FIRST NAME LAST NAME.

Letter of interest should discuss candidate’s amount of experience, passion/interest in this type teaching, experience with performance poetry, and should elaborate on any relevant experience from your resume/CV that could use further detail.

Resume or CV should clarify all relevant experience (paid and volunteer), and any particular achievements relating to the field.

Please note:

  • Applications will be accepted from December 15 – January 15
  • Notice of receipt will not be sent in response
  • Applications will be reviewed and interviews will be scheduled the week of January 18th



“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.