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From Poetry Magazine

Secret’s Out: Tony Fitzpatrick on the Page & Stage

By Lindsay Garbutt

As you may have noticed, the Poetry Foundation has a bit of Tony Fitzpatrick fever. We recommend starting with the portfolio of his drawings in the July/August issue of Poetry, “The Day Lou Reed Set Me Free,” which includes a brief remembrance of his friend’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” Take a listen:

"Walk on the Wild Side" and "Kid Hustle" by Fitzpatrick

“Walk on the Wild Side” and “Kid Hustle” by Fitzpatrick

To complement the portfolio, the current exhibit in the Poetry Foundation gallery is The Secret Birds: New Drawings by Tony Fitzpatrick. Born on the South Side of Chicago, Fitzpatrick grew up listening to birds with his grandmother, who used to remind him that “for the price of a piece of bread you can hear God sing.” The exhibit features twenty-two drawings made from gouache, ink, watercolor, and pieces of ephemera. The collection serves as a personal tribute to Chicago, since this is Fitzpatrick’s last show in his hometown before he leaves to study ornithology and natural history in New Orleans.


If you want to see the work come to life, visit the Poetry Foundation this Thursday, July 31, for the premiere of a play based on the poetry and stories depicted in The Secret Birds. Actors include Martha Lavey (of Steppenwolf Theater Company) and Fitzpatrick, accompanied by music composed and performed by Frank Orrall (Poi Dog Pondering). The performance will be followed by a reception catered by Big Star. Arrive when doors open at 7:00 PM to receive a free poster hand-lettered by Diana Sudyka, a fellow wildlife aficionado (and Poetry cover artist).

Poster by handlettered by Diana Sudyka, artwork by Fitzpatrick.

Poster by hand-lettered by Diana Sudyka, artwork by Fitzpatrick.

The exhibit will be on view through September 12. Can’t make it to Chicago? Fitzpatrick was kind enough to let us record some of his stories, which we’ve combined with a selection of drawings from the exhibit. Happy birding!

Tony Fitzpatrick

Tony Fitzpatrick

Posted in From Poetry Magazine on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by Lindsay Garbutt.