Spreading Holiday Cheer with Poetry

Season’s Greetings from

the Chicago Poetry Center!


While Chicago’s weather has been unseasonably warm this month, Chicago Poetry Center’s Poets in Residence take every opportunity to celebrate all that winter has to offer. Last week, we returned to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in Milwaukee, WI with a Winter Wonderland-themed virtual Pop-Up Assembly. Poet Timothy David Rey kicked off the performance with an ode to his favorite place for holiday gifts: the dollar store. With a brand new poem that he wrote specifically for the MLK Elementary students, Noel Quiñones shared why sledding is his favorite winter pastime. Jyreika Guest was thrilled about her second virtual Pop-Up Assembly at the school and performed a poem about the comforts of home.

Noel, Jyreika, and Timothy play the interactive InstaPoem game with middle school students at Milwaukee’s MLK Elementary.

The Pop-Up Assembly ended with a special seasonal rendition of the InstaPoem interactive slam game. Before the assembly, students answered questions like, “If you were a winter weather accessory, which would you be?” and “What’s one wish you have for the new year?” Based on the one student’s survey answers, the poets wrote wintery “InstaPoems” and the students voted for their favorite one.

Students in 2nd grade classrooms at Swift Elementary presented holiday greeting cards to their Poet in Residence, Leslie Reese.

Closer to home, 2nd grade students at Edgewater’s Swift Elementary got into the holiday spirit by making greeting cards for their Poet in Residence, Leslie Reese. Some students even showed off a new literacy skill that Leslie taught them by including similes in their cards. Accompanied by an illustration of “Ms. Leslie,” Kai R. wrote, “You are beautiful like the stars in the sky. You are sweet like vanilla.” Shishir K. describes Leslie as “bright as the sun but not / yellow, stylish as different patterns / making learning fun.” What better way to start winter break than with similes and season’s greetings?

Though winter brings shorter days and longer nights, Chicago Poetry Center Poets in Residence and their students use poems to share light, warmth, and good tidings with each other. We’re grateful the chance to safely reconnect in classrooms this year, and we look forward to sharing even more poetry in 2022.

Poet in Residence Spotlight: Teresa Dzieglewicz

As a first-year Poet in Residence, Teresa Dzieglewicz leads In-School Poetry Residencies at Haugan Elementary and Dever Elementary.
“I love being around the kids and their magic and creative brains. They surprise and delight me every week with their deep insights, wild leaps of language, and vulnerability in sharing. We really loved Ada Limon’s “How to Triumph like a Girl” It was wonderful to hear about the parts of the kids’ personalities that not everyone might see and how they can express those through an animal metaphor. I also really enjoyed reading Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to My Socks” with the 5th grade (at Haugan Elementary) and reading all of the great metaphors they came up with to describe presents that were special to them.” -Teresa

Our annual fundraiser is live!

Donate to support our school programs across Chicago and receive a ticket to our virtual night of celebration: No Love For Love. Donations can be bundled by a group of people to fund a full residency for the following school year. (Check out this year’s named residencies.)
Don’t forget to save the date! No Love For Love: Feb 10, 2022.

January 19:

Blue Hour reading series and writing workshop

Join us for a night of poetry in collaboration with Kundiman as we present the Blue Hour reading series and generative writing workshop. Hosted by series curator Marty McConnell, January’s events will feature poet Andy Sia and celebrate the release of Matthew Olzmann’s new collection, Constellation Route.

To learn more, visit the Blue Hour event page. Event registration links are forthcoming.

Thank you for your support in 2021.

We wish you a safe and happy new year!



“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.