For Immediate Release

Poem and Paper Pay Tribute to Chicago’s 77 Communities

Public event to launch the creation of a poem 
August 6th, 2014

CHICAGO – The Poetry Foundation is pleased to launch the creation of The Chicago 77, a 77-line poem comprised of found text and objects from each of Chicago’s 77 community areas. The public is invited to attend a papermaking workshop on August 23, 2014 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Papermaker’s Garden at the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago, 728 S. Wabash Ave. This event is an opportunity for Chicago residents to donate a personal article of clothing that will be added to the mix of objects used as a pulp base for the paper edition of the poem. The Chicago 77 poem will be assembled into a handmade book and displayed at The Poetry Foundation in 2015.

Commissioned by the Poetry Foundation, The Chicago 77 poetry project will be created by four Chicago poets and artists: Fatimah Asghar, Krista Franklin, Fo Wilson and Jamila Woods. The completed poem will be printed in a single edition on handmade paper created by artists and paper makers, Margaret Mahan and Drew Matott.

Each participating poet and artist has been randomly assigned 19 of Chicago’s 77 community areas.  Over a period of three months, they will spend time in the area and select one object that they feel is representative of the area.  The object can be anything the poet chooses, from a candy wrapper to a blade of grass.  They will also select a piece of found text for each area.  Found text can be anything from a sign hanging in a window, a portion of an overheard conversation, or graffiti.   

After the poets and artists have completed their collections, Matott and Mahon will embed each object in a sheet of handmade paper, which will also contain the found text from that particular area.  The pulp made at the August 23 event will be used as a base for the paper for the edition.

The Chicago 77 was conceived of by the Poetry Foundation in collaboration with Nick Dubois, in the spirit of the Southbank Centre Poetry Parnassus autograph edition of The World Record.  

For additional information, please see the Chicago 77 event page or contact the Poetry Foundation at 312.787.7070.


 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

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Media contact:
Elizabeth Burke-Dain,, 312.799.8016
Polly Faust,, 312.799.8065




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