The Shortlist is here for the Douglas Park Poetry Mural!

Congratulations to our four poets whose poems have made it to the final four shortlist for the Douglas Park poetry mural and Word Play Way installation.

The final four poets are: Aniyah Orr-Howard, Ariel Walton, avery r. young, and Jupiter Dandridge.

Huge thanks to every poet who submitted–we had more fantastic poems to choose from, all celebrating Douglas Park and North Lawndale, than we could fit.

Big thanks to our selection committee: Angela Salis (Douglas Park Supervisor), Natasha Mijares (poet and previous Six Points Curator), Don Parker (Word Play Way Installation Manager), Claire Haasl (David Hoyt Foundation), and Elizabeth Metzger Sampson (Chicago Poetry Center). Big big thanks to the North Lawndale Community Voters!

Check out the shortlisted poets, and their bios below. Stay tuned for final news and future launch events, featuring each of the shortlisted poets!

The Shortlist:

Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Aniyah Orr-Howard, avery r. young, Ariel Walton, Jupiter Dandridge

Aniyah Orr-Howard Aniyah Orr Howard is a poet, public speaker, and community advocate born on the west side of Chicago. She took to poetry and music at a very young age and spoke for President Obama at the ages of 8 and 15. She is an active member of Westside Rising, an organization that collectively includes influential organizations on the west side of Chicago to rally change. She also works to develop banking institution availability across the west and south sides of Chicago.

Ariel Walton is a North Lawndale native, community advocate, journalist, and filmmaker. Walton is an independent journalist with in-depth features on North Lawndale published by Free Spirit Media. She is the CEO of 3 Daughters Productions (focused on local community narratives). Her film, Redd, debuts April 2019 and focuses on the effect of gun violence on children in her community, and issues of justice and trauma raised in the aftermath. She is a North Lawndale Historical and Cultural Society board member working with other community experts to share the historical facts of the neighborhood.

avery r. young is an interdisciplinary artist and educator, 3Arts Awardee, and executive for The Floating Museum.  His recent publications include The BreakBeat Poets, and Poetry Magazine. He is the featured vocalist on floutist Nicole Mitchell’s Mandorla Awakening (FPE Records) and is currently touring with her Black Earth Ensemble and his funk/soul band de deacon board.  Young’s collection neckbone: visual verses (Northwestern University Press) and its soundtrack tubman (FPE Records) are available now.

Jupiter Dandridge Jupiter Dandridge is a Poetry & Fiction writer from the Westside of Chicago. He has recently graduated from the Chicago Highschool of the Arts. He enjoys dealing with surrealism in his work and opening up discussions on the subjects he writes about.



“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.