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It's Time For The 13th Annual Chicago Public Library Poetry Fest!

By Maggie Hellwig in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 17, 2012 3:00PM

Jimmy Santiago Baca is one of the many poets participating in Poetry Fest, Image from Poetry Foundation Website.
The Chicago Public Library is celebrating National Poetry Month with their annual Poetry Fest, featuring some of Chicago's best poets. Saturday, April 28 will be filled with workshops, performances, an open mic, and a special reading by renowned poet and writer Jimmy Santiago Baca. All of the events occur under the roof of the Harold Washington Library from 10 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. There are events for children, poets of all levels, those interested in publication, or the humble poetry enthusiast.

Cindy Pritzker Auditorium Events:

10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
The Haiku Festival Awards Ceremony will be hosted by composer, author, poet, and Professor at Columbia College Chicago: Regina Harris Baiocchi. The winners of the festival will be reading from their work, with a special reading by poet Valerie Wallace.

2 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Co-Sponsored by The Poetry Foundation, Jimmy Santiago Baca will be reading. Baca has a breadth of work to pick from, beginning when he first began to write poetry in a maximum security prison at ages 13-18. Most significantly, he has received the Pushcart Prize, American Book Award, and the International Hispanic Heritage Award for his memoir. He has devoted his life to teaching those transcending difficult circumstances.

Video Theatre Events:

10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Performance Skills for Poets will be a workshop conducted by Jennifer Dotson, founder of Highland Park Poetry and Creative Writing Teacher. Poets are advised to bring a performance piece with them, of 30 lines or shorter, for practice.

12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
The U.S. Postal Service will do a dedication and reading for their 20th Century Poets Stamp series. Members of the Chicago Post Office will be reading selections from ten famous poets: Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Brodsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, E.E. Cummings, Robert Haydon, Denise Levertov, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams.

1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
To Publish, or Not To Publish: Page vs. Stage will be a discussion led by Albert DeGenova. The discussion will be based upon the changing attitudes amongst poets as to works written solely for performance versus the benefits of having poetry published. DeGenova is the publisher and editor of After Hours Literary Magazine as well as the former editor for Oyez Review.

Multi-Purpose Room A Events:

10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Andrea Witzke Slot will be heading a workshop called Personal Training for Poets: Mapping 10,000 Hours of Poetry. The seminar will focus on the path of becoming a poet--style, goals, personal training programs, and navigating the many venues of poetry publication. Slot is the author of the poetry collection To find a new beauty, and the editor at RHINO Poetry Journal.

12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Inspiration from World Poetry is a two part workshop featuring poet Bakul Banerjee. Banerjee, as a poet born near Delhi, but who has lived in many places within India and the U.S., will explore writing poetry based on the forms of famous world poets. In the second part of the workshop, she will talk about the forms of Asian poetry which are becoming increasingly popular in the States.

Reception Hall Events:

12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Teen Slam Team Showcase: Slam poetry teams from Center on Halsted, Northside College Prep, and YOUmedia will be performing.

3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Dave Gecic, who has been head of Puddin'head Press for about 25 years, will be hosting an Open Mic. This is a call to all Chicago poets who are interested in performing their work. As many poets will be fit in as time allows.

The Harold Washington Library Center is located at 400 S. State Street.