Poetry Tour


Introduce yourself to the Windy City and its great poetry

Gwendolyn Brooks’s neighborhood library. Union Stock Yards, where Chicago became Carl Sandburg’s “Hog Butcher for the World.” The Green Mill, home of slam poetry. Maxwell Street and Chess Records, inspirations for bluesy poets. Haymarket Square, memorial to the labor movement.

Poetry Tour On Foot

Load your portable MP3 player with the audio below and print the map to take the downtown poetry tour.

The Chicago Poetry Tour, produced by the Poetry Foundation, is a chance to explore the history of the city through poetry. The online version of the tour features archival and contemporary recordings of poets and scholars, local music, and historic photographs. You can take the tour in numbered order, starting downtown, or jump around from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Or, if you’re in Chicago, let us take you on a guided tour: download the downtown portion, tour stops 1-6, hosted by NPR’s Scott Simon, into your MP3 player and take the walking tour beginning at the Chicago Cultural Center and ending at Harold Washington Library. You’ll hear poets Lisel Mueller, W.S. Di Piero, and Haki Madhubuti, and archival recordings of Gwendolyn Brooks, Vachel Lindsay, and Edgar Lee Masters, as you experience Chicago’s iconic architectural sights, including the Art Institute and the Fine Arts Building. You can also take a side trip to other neighborhoods and landmarks featured in stops 7-22: listen to poems by Quraysh Ali Lansana at the DuSable Museum, Srikanth Reddy at Danny’s Tavern, or Harriet Monroe at Graceland Cemetery.

Whether virtual or actual, the Chicago Poetry Tour is a unique new way to introduce yourself to the Windy City and its great poetry.

Read the full credits and sources

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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