Chicago’s Poetic History
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
Author, critic and scholar Richard Guzman leads a panel discussion that ties history and verse, with several contributors to the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame’s new poetry anthology. Panelists include 2015 Fuller Award winner Haki Madhubuti, along with poets Vida Cross, Yolanda Nieves, and Virginia Bell. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
About the panelists:
Dr. Richard R. Guzman is professor emeritus at North Central College where he taught writing, literature, race/ethnicity, and social change, and led in establishing programs that shaped virtually every aspect of college life. He twice won awards for outstanding teaching and leadership. He has published music, poetry and essays. His first book, Voices and Freedoms: A History of Jazz, was made into a nationally syndicated radio series, while a more recent one, Black Writing from Chicago, was hailed as a "work of great importance and a sheer delight." He has volunteered in homeless shelters for decades, currently leading his church's homeless program, and led in bringing a diversity plan to one of Illinois' most prominent school districts, a project for which he was honored by the state. He is consultant on racial justice and equity initiatives for the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church and headed the committee that produced the Becoming the Beloved Community anti-racism workshop. He is active in his family's foundation Emmanuel House. Founded by his eldest son Rick and his wife Desiree in memory of Dr. Guzman's youngest son Bryan Emmanuel, it was named one of the Top 100 Most Innovative social change organizations in the world in 2016. Now The Neighbor Project, it leads families, many of which are families of color, towards financial stability and onto the path of home ownership. Lack of equitable home ownership opportunities is the single greatest factor in our country's immense racial wealth gap. He has been involved with the CLHOF nearly from its beginning, being on the first panel of nominators and giving several of the Hall's induction speeches.
Haki R. Madhubuti is an award-winning poet, and one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement. He founded Third World Press in 1967 (the oldest continuously publishing in- dependent Black book publisher in the world). His first four books of poetry from the Black Arts Movement, Think Black (1967), Black Pride, with an introduction by Dudley Randall (1968), Don't Cry, Scream! with an introduction by Gwendolyn Brooks (1969), and We Walk the Way of the New World (1970), all published by Broadside Press of Detroit, Michigan, sold over 140,000 copies between 1967-1971, making him one of the best-selling poets in the world. Madhubuti has published over 36 books (some under his former name, Don L. Lee). His book, Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous? The African American Family in Transition (1991) has more than one million copies in print. His poetry and essays have been published in over 100 anthologies and journals between 1997-2022. Madhubuti has taught at many colleges and universities, including Columbia College Chicago, Cornell University (making him the first Black poet- in-residence at an Ivy League University), Howard University (first poet-in-residency), Chicago State University (first Black male faculty member to be named University Distinguished Professor), and DePaul University (the last Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Distinguished Professor). He has shared his poetry and essays on four continents and over thirty-eight states in the United States. His latest book, Taught By Women: Poems As Resistance Language, New And Selected (2020), pays hom- age to women who influenced him. He is currently completing We Are a Hated People: Poems and Essays of Who We Are. In 2015 the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame presented Madhubuti with the Fuller Award for lifetime achievement.
Vida Cross is a blues poet and a Pushcart nominee for 2021 and 2018. Her book of poetry, Bronzeville at Night: 1949 (Awst Press) was published in 2017. Vida is on the board for the Milwaukee Center for the Book and the Poet Laureate Commission. She is the chairperson for the Creative Writing Division of the English Department and the Stormer Connect Mentoring Programs at Milwaukee Area Technical College. She is a Cave Canem Fellow who holds an MFA in Writing and an MFA in Filmmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an MA in English from Iowa State University and a BA from Knox College. Her work has appeared in several journals and anthologies including A Civil Rights Retrospective, Tabula Poetica, Transitions Magazine, The Literary Review, Reed Magazine, The Journal of Film and Video, Through this Door: Wisconsin in Poems, MilwaukeeNoir, Wising Up Anthology: Creativity and Constraint, and Cave Canem Anthology XII.
Yolanda Nieves, born and raised in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, is an award- winning poet, playwright, director, educator, actress, and founder of the Vida Bella Ensemble. Author of two highly acclaimed poetry books, Dove Over Clouds (Plain View Press, 2007) and The Spoken Body (Plain View Press, 2010), Nieves’s research and poetry have been featured in journals including Hunter College’s prestigious El Centro Journal for Puerto Rican Studies. She is an associate professor at Wright College, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago, a master’s degree in Organizational Development from Loyola University Chicago, a master’s degree in Reading from Northeastern Illinois University, and an Ed.D. in Adult Education from National-Louis University.
Virginia Bell won a Chapter One Competition, sponsored by Arch St. Press in 2021, won the Creative Nonfiction Prize from NELLE in 2020, and received Honorable Mention in the RiverSedge 2019 Poetry Prize, judged by José Antonio Rodríguez. Bell’s poems, essays, and re- views have also appeared in Hypertext, Kettle Blue Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Rogue Agent, Gargoyle, Spoon River Poetry Review, Poet Lore, The Keats Letters Project, Blue Fifth Review, Wicked Alice, Cider Press Review, and Voltage Poetry, among other journals and anthologies. Bell is the author of the poetry collection From the Belly (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2012), serves as co-editor of RHINO, and teaches at Loyola University Chicago.