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Poetry Foundation Announces Winter/Spring 2019 Event Lineup

Featuring programming that puts poets and artists in conversation with one another across genres, generations, and languages
January 8, 2019

CHICAGO – The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and the home for poetry in Chicago, announces its winter and spring events. The new season of events, beginning January 12 and running through May 30, features film, dance, and multi-genre musical performances, as well as poetry readings by poets laureate Tracy K. Smith and Juan Felipe Herrera, among others, and an interactive exhibition by Yoko Ono.

“Poetry is for everyone,” says Henry Bienen, Poetry Foundation president. “It is a living art that coexists beautifully with other disciplines, and this new season of events illuminates the connectivity. We look forward to sharing poetry with anyone for whom art lights the way, and hope to inspire a lifelong love for poetry.”

Poetry plays well with others 
The season opens with poetry and dance in Dances with Words and Music, a sneak peek at the multidisciplinary homage to dance icon Ruth Page before it premieres at the Ravinia Festival.

The events get visual in February with the Jun Fujita: Oblivion launch party, which provides visitors the opportunity to take home a piece of Chicago history in the form of a catalog of poet and photojournalist Jun Fujita’s work that was included in the 2017 exhibition at the Poetry Foundation’s Gallery. Cinephiles are not forgotten, as a screening of The Trip, a road-trip movie around Marfa, Texas, includes a conversation with poet Eileen Myles and filmmaker David Fenster.

Music and poetry are celebrated together in the Foundation’s acoustically perfected performance space. F-PLUS, a trio of musicians, team up with soprano Lisa Perry to perform Stein Songs, a composition based on the work of Gertrude Stein. Florian Hecker will bring his multi-channel, evolving sound work, Inspection, to the Foundation with Lampo.

During National Poetry Month in April, the Foundation brings together poetry and science for Young People’s Poetry Day, an annual open house for children and their caretakers that includes fun crafts, games, and a reading with poet and children's book author Joyce Sidman.


Art is all around
The Poetry Foundation Gallery will be alive with exciting new exhibitions in 2019. The Lushness of Print debuts on February 7 with an opening celebration of art and the printed word in contrast with today’s digital-first world. The exhibition is a collaborative project between Samiya Bashir’s Poetry Salon at Reed College and the broadsides produced by Letra Chueca Press, a press that intertwines social justice, craft, and latinidad. Broadsides, commemorative art prints of poems, will be on display to inspire visitors to consider the power of words as an impactful visual art all their own.

In May, the Foundation opens Yoko Ono: Poetry, Painting, Music, Objects, Events, and Wish Trees. Yoko Ono mixes verse and art with an indoor/outdoor exhibition that includes the entire typescript that became Ono’s pioneering book of poetry and conceptual art, Grapefruit. The typescripts are spread in three rows so that visitors can enter the book at any place, or read from beginning to end. In the Foundation courtyard, visitors can engage with Wish Trees, an art installation on which visitors can hang wishes from the trees—the Chicago debut of Ono’s exhibition that’s traveled to 10 countries. The exhibitions debuts on May 10 with an opening at the Foundation.

Across generations and in translation
Several US poets laureate, current and former, will visit Chicago in April for National Poetry Month. Natasha Trethewey and Charles Wright will read together at the Foundation and discuss their craft and careers; then, current US poet laureate and host of The Slowdown Tracy K. Smith will read at the Chicago Public Library Poetry Fest. In May, Juan Felipe Herrera will share the stage with the next generation of poets.

Poetry speaks to people all over the world, and does not belong to one language or generation. Renowned Korean poet Kim Hyesoon and her translator and fellow poet Don Mee Choi will present a night of poetry and conversation in translation in February. Later that month, Pulitzer Prize-winner Tyehimba Jess will read alongside acclaimed poet Patricia Smith in a Cave Canem Legacy Conversation on the merits and tensions between poetry read on the page and poetry performed on the stage.

Strike a Match with Mahogany L. Browne takes a look at the US prison system, and poetry’s relationship to it and communities impacted by it with workshops and readings that include Young Chicago Authors, the Prison + Neighborhood Art Project, Eve L. Ewing, and Terrance Hayes.

The Foundation closes the season by handing the mic to the next generation of poets and readers with a Hands on Stanzas performance. This event, presented with the Chicago Poetry Center, highlights the writing of elementary and middle school students in the Chicago area, who have learned from poets-in-residence and developed their own voices.

Winter/Spring hours and event details
These are only a selection of the varied events that the Poetry Foundation offers this season.
For all event listings and details, visit poetryfoundation.org/events.

Except when otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis at the Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street, Chicago.

In addition, the Poetry Foundation Library, home to a collection of more than 30,000 books of poetry, is open to the public weekdays and select Saturdays, including January 12, February 9, March 16, April 13, and May 4, from 11:00 AM–4:00 PM, as well as select evenings, including January 15, February 19, March 19, April 16, and May 21, from 4:00 PM–7:00 PM.

VISUALS: Building, programming, and/or exhibition Images available upon request.

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at facebook.com/poetryfoundation,  Twitter @PoetryFound and @Poetrymagazine, and Instagram @PoetryFoundation.

Media Contacts:
Liz O’Connell-Thompson, Media Associate, [email protected], 312.799.8065
Sarah Whitcher, Marketing and Media Director, [email protected], 312.799.8016

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