The Chicago Poetry Center presents BLUE HOUR, a free, public monthly in-person reading series and generative writing workshop hosted and facilitated by Marty McConnell.
Each event features two readers from Chicago and beyond, preceded by a limited-space workshop focused on a poem by one of the featured readers and including guided generative writing time.
The name comes from a line by Chicago poet Li-Young Lee, from a section of “The City in Which I Love You”:
in a blue hour
and faraway noise of hammering,
and on a page a poem begun, something
about to be dispersed,
something about to come into being.
EVENT DETAILS FOR SEPT. 21:
- Workshop (registration required) begins promptly at 6 p.m., ends at 7 p.m.
- Reading (registration recommended) begins at 7:30, followed by community gathering time.
- Reading registration is free; the workshop is sliding scale with a suggested donation of $10.
- Register for the workshop here.
- Get your ticket for the reading here.
ABOUT THE READING:
The Blue Hour reading features readings by two poets from Chicago and beyond, followed by community gathering time.
ABOUT THE WORKSHOP:
The Blue Hour generative writing workshop is suitable for writers and poetry fans of all levels. We will discuss a poem by one of the night’s featured readers, then Marty will guide the group through individual writing on an exploratory prompt that draws on themes from the poem.
FAYLITA HICKS (she/they) is a queer Afro-Latinx activist, writer, and interdisciplinary artist. Born in South Central California and raised in Central Texas, they use their intersectional experiences to advocate for the rights of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ people. They are the author of HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019), a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry. The former Editor-in-Chief of Black Femme Collective and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, they are a voting member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs. Hicks is also the recipient of fellowships and residencies from the Art for Justice Fund, Black Mountain Institute, the Tony-Award winning Broadway Advocacy Coalition, Civil Rights Corps, The Dots Between, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Lambda Literary, Texas After Violence Project, Tin House, and the Right of Return USA. Their poetry, essays, and digital art have been published in or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Ecotone, Kenyon Review, Longreads, Poetry, Slate, Texas Observer, and Yale Review, amongst others. Their personal account of their time in pretrial incarceration in Hays County is featured in the ITVS Independent Lens 2019 documentary 45 Days in a Texas Jail, and the Brave New Films 2021 documentary narrated by Mahershala Ali Racially Charged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem. Hicks received a BA in English from Texas State University-San Marcos and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada University.
HILA RATZABI‘s poetry has been published in Narrative, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Adroit Journal, The Normal School, About Place, and elsewhere, and has been anthologized in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry and Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology. She is the author of “There are Still Woods,” forthcoming on June Road Press, and the chapbook “The Apparatus of Visible Things.” The recipient of numerous fellowships, including the Willapa Bay AiR and the Crater Lake National Park residencies, she also served as editor-in-chief and poetry editor of Storyscape Literary Journal and holds an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. She is currently the director of virtual content and programs at Ritualwell.org and lives in Oak Park, Illinois, with her partner and two children.
ABOUT THE HOST:
Marty McConnell is a poet, educator, and healer based in Chicago. She is the author of when they say you can’t go home again, what they mean is you were never there, winner of the 2017 Michael Waters Poetry Prize; her first full-length collection, wine for a shotgun, received the Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Awards and was a finalist for both the Audre Lorde Award and a Lambda Literary Award. Her first nonfiction book, Gathering Voices: Creating a Community-Based Poetry Workshop, is available through YesYes Books. She is the co-creator and co-editor of underbelly, a web site focused on the art and magic of poetry revision. An MFA graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Best American Poetry, Southern Humanities Review, Gulf Coast, and Indiana Review. www.martyoutloud.com
To learn more about the series and history, go here.