Kristin Dykstra, In Memoriam Juan Carlos Flores (1962-2016)
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The tragic loss came in 2016. Stop-motion images of death compete unnaturally with his poetics: his poems swivel, cycle, gesticulate, perform.

After death the poems hold their ground in an aesthetic awareness of home, one marked with specifics of life in Cuba, where Juan Carlos Flores lived in a public housing community that rose out of the ground in a way that could only have happened in certain decades following the 1959 Revolution.

But his poems still move.

Read more in Commentary.

Kent Johnson, I Once Met
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Reviewed by Jeremy Noel-Tod

 

Every poetic community knows “that guy.” He—and it is usually he—is the gadfly in the ointment, the satirist or critic who mocks the pretensions of the leading figures of the day. “That guy” is not so much an individual talent as a singular pain in the ass. In early eighteenth-century England, he also happened to be the era’s finest poet, Alexander Pope, who in The Dunciad and the spoof essay “Peri Bathous” laid mock-heroic waste to his contemporaries. Three centuries later, he is known to Internet sociology as a “troll,” lurking below the line as once below the bridge.

Kent Johnson, as this second expanded edition of his “partial memoir,” I Once Met, acknowledges, has long been “that guy” at the avant end of American poetry. Each short section is structured around the conceit of a remembered meeting in the “Poetry Field.” The fifth reads in full:

I once met Marjorie Perloff. This was at the MLA, though I can’t remember the city; it was long ago, I think it was D.C. She is a great critic and an extraordinarily generous person. Kent, this is Bob Perelman, said Marjorie. Bob, this is Kent Johnson. Oh, so you’re that guy, said Bob. What guy? I said.

Read more here: http://chicagoreview.org/reviews/
Bootycandy, written and directed by Robert O’Hara
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A mountain of lime green Jell-O shots greeted theatergoers in the lobby of the Windy City Playhouse on Saint Patrick’s Day. A brash, acerbic, overly sweet welcome, and yet a relatively tame prelude to a bold production of Bootycandy, written and directed by Robert O’Hara.

The play contains what at first appear to be a series of vignettes linked, if narrowly, by common thematics: the expression of desire and the negotiation of gender and class identities in primarily black settings. Concluding the first act is a conference panel at which four exasperated African American playwrights indulge an exasperating white moderator by describing current works in progress—works that we, the audience, have just witnessed. If this mise en abyme comes across as somewhat of a gimmick, the second act cleverly mashes up the different storylines, in addition to abolishing the boundary between said storylines and the brand of meta-commentary on display in the conference scene. What emerges from this creative chaos is an impressionistic epic that covers the journey from childhood to adulthood of Sutter, a black gay man.

Read more in Chicago

A Reading By Harmony Holiday
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Chicago Review and the Regenstein Library proudly present a reading by Harmony Holiday:
 
Regenstein Library, Room 122
1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL
 
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
6:00 – 8:00PM

 

Harmony Holiday is the author of Negro League Baseball, Go Find Your Father/ A Famous Blues and most recently Hollywood Forever. She is also the founder of Mythscience, an arts collective devoted to cross-disciplinary work that helps artists re-engage with their bodies and the physical world in this so-called digital age, and the Afrosonics archive of jazz and everyday diaspora poetics. She studied rhetoric and at the University of California, Berkeley and taught for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. She received her MFA from Columbia University. She is currently working on a book of poems and lyric essays on reparations, called Reparations and a biography of jazz singer Abbey Lincoln. She lives in Los Angeles.

 

Chicago Review
 
Please see and share the flyer linked here featuring the cover of Harmony Holiday’s latest book Hollywood Forever
In Memoriam Michael O’Brien
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“To live high, up among the cornices, from exception to exception, hearing an earthly music.” Since Michael O’Brien died on November 10, 2016, these words, from his elegy for his friend George Quinan, have been on my mind. Now that Michael is gone, they seem somehow to elegize him, too—to describe a way of life he sought in poetry, a state of heightened attention, mobile and light, on the wing yet always down-to-earth, every syllable attuned to the music. Not the poetry of extraordinary sights and elevated feeling, but rather a poetry uncannily alert to the most ordinary details: Michael’s attention could make anything exceptional.

Read more in Commentary.

 

Issue 60.2: Helen Adam & Her Circle
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A captivating look at the poet Helen Adam and her circle of collaborators

Guest-edited by Alison Fraser

In this issue Chicago Review features a special portfolio of documents surrounding Helen Adam and her closest collaborators in the San Francisco Renaissance: the visual artist Jess Collins and the poet Robert Duncan. Published here is an expansive selection of letters between Adam and Jess, accompanied by reproductions of photographs and scrapbooks in which they explored a shared “mystical” aesthetic. These letters and artifacts span more than a quarter century, providing a never-before-seen glimpse into their collaborative process.

Completing the feature are two essays in which Adam and Duncan admire each other’s work and express their affinity for a late twentieth-century visionary poetics, along with “The Nurse Speaks for R. D.,” Adam’s previously unpublished poem for Duncan.

This special portfolio places Helen Adam back in the center of the postwar San Francisco and New York avant-gardes. Preview the feature here.

Christmas 2016

Pre-order Now!

Chicago Review Presents: A Reading by Ed Roberson
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On Thursday, February 11, Ed Roberson will read at the University of Chicago. Roberson is the recipient of the 2015 Ron Offen prize and the subject of a special section in the upcoming issue of CR. He will read from his ten books of poetry and present unpublished work.

Event co-sponsored by the Ron Offen Poetry Prize Fund and the Program in Poetry & Poetics

Thursday, February 11, 6 PM

Logan Center for the Arts

Seminar Terrace, Room 801

University of Chicago

915 E. 60th St.

Free admission

AWP 2015
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Chicago Review looks forward to seeing you at #AWP15. We’ll be at table 755 with the University of Chicago’s Creative Writing & Poetics crew and the lovely people from the University of Chicago Master’s in Humanities program.

Drop by for a sneak peek at pages from our upcoming 59.1/2, witty repartee, and deals on subscriptions and back issues. Keep your eyes peeled on Facebook for news about a top-secret get-together on Saturday night (4/11/15), and listen in live as we tweet the conference away: @chireview.