For Immediate Release

The Secret Birds: New Drawings by Tony Fitzpatrick

Tony Fitzpatrick's last Chicago exhibition before moving to New Orleans
July 1st, 2014

The Secret Birds, an exhibition of recent drawings by Tony Fitzpatrick, is on display at the Poetry Foundation Gallery, 61 West Superior Street, from July 1 - September 12, 2014. Tony Fitzpatrick brings together his talents as an actor, dramatist, poet, and visual artist for an exquisite presentation of his work at the Poetry Foundation. 

The Secret Birds, a clutch of fantastic creatures of the artist’s own invention, is Fitzpatrick’s final show of drawings before leaving Chicago for New Orleans, where he will study ornithology and natural history at the University of New Orleans. The work is interlaced with poetry, ephemera, and his memory of the city itself: “a bird made from bright planets.” Fitzpatrick discusses the works in a multimedia feature.

A corresponding portfolio of drawings and an essay by Fitzpatrick, “The Day Lou Reed Set Me Free,” appears in the July/August issue of Poetry magazine.

Featured Event and Performance

On Thursday, July 31 at 7:30 PM,The Secret Birds, a play based on the poetry and stories depicted in Fitzpatrick's drawings in the exhibition, will take place in the Poetry Foundation performance space. The Secret Birds is directed by Ann Filmer of 16th Street Theater and performed by Tony Fitzpatrick and Martha Lavey of Steppenwolf Theater Company with music composed and performed by Frank Orrall of Poi Dog Pondering and friends. Doors will open at 7:00 PM. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Both the exhibition and performance are free and open to the public. 

Tony Fitzpatrick was born on the South Side of Chicago and grew up in Lombard, IL, the son of a burial vault salesman. Fitzpatrick was routinely suspended from Catholic School on bad behavior. On those days he would ride along with his father to sales appointments and listen to stories of life and of Chicago. Birds were especially important to Fitzpatrick because, as his grandmother used to say, “For the price of a piece of bread you can hear God sing.”

Tony Fitzpatrick's works are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, and many other places. He is the author of several poetry collections and art books, including The Hard Angels and The Neighborhood. As an actor he has appeared in numerous films, including Mad Dog and Glory, Philadelphia, Primal FearMarried to the Mob, and U.S. Marshals


About the Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our 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. For more information, please visit


Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at or on Twitter @PoetryFound.

POETRY FOUNDATION | 61 West Superior Street | Chicago, IL 60654 | 312.787.7070

Media contact:

Elizabeth Burke-Dain, Director of Marketing and Media,, 312.799.8016 or

Polly Faust, Media Assistant,, 312.799.8065


Other Information

  • Browse Poems