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Chicago Youth Poet Laureates: workshop

Saturday 15 June 2019, 12:00 pm2:30 pm

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This workshop is now fully booked but to hear UK and US young poets perform, do come to our free Young Poets Takeover with Natalie Richardson, Kara Jackson and Patricia Frazier.

Join Peter Kahn and three Chicago Youth Poet Laureates for a one-off free poetry workshop for 14-17 year olds, supported by the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award programme (run by The Poetry Society).

This June, award-winning poets Natalie Richardson, Kara Jackson and Patricia Frazier are coming to London as part of a unique poetry exchange designed by poet Peter Kahn “to make the world both smaller and larger at the same time”. Three poets from London go to Chicago in May 2019.

We’re delighted that this cultural exchange will involve a unique free workshop for 14-17 year olds at The Poetry Society, aimed those who are currently eligible to enter the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, as well as poets who have already featured among the winners.

The workshop will be led by Peter Kahn, with support from young poets Natalie Richardson, Kara Jackson and Patricia Frazier. Participants will create new poems in the context of this UK/US poet exchange, and will be encouraged to enter this work into the 2019 Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. Participants will then be invited to perform at the Young Poets Takeover poetry reading from 4pm on the same day. 

This workshop is now fully booked.

Please arrive at 11.45am for a 12pm start. Some refreshments will be provided. We have a limited budget to contribute to travel expenses: let us know if you need help covering your travel.

Chicago Youth Poet Laureates

Natalie Richardson23-year-old University of Chicago graduate Natalie Richardson is the Education & Outreach Fellow at Theaster Gates’ Rebuild Foundation.  She brings poetry, literary arts and community programming to the South Side of Chicago where arts curriculum and extracurricular activities in schools have been decimated.  She was a mentor for Aspen Institute Ideas Festival Youth Arts Seminar, has taught workshops in Chicago Public Schools, and while a senior in college, received a grant from the Davis Projects for Peace and the Dalai Llama Fellows to create and test an original idea for building peace.  As a result, she co-founded a grassroots arts initiative project on Chicago’s south side to bring free arts programming to community spaces in underserved neighborhoods.   Natalie is one of four inaugural students selected for Northwestern University’s joint MFA in Creative Writing/MA in English program, with faculty including Pulitzer Prize winner, and former National Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey, National Book Award finalist Reg Gibbons and PEN Hemingway Book Prize winner Chris Abani.  In high school, Natalie won the prestigious Poetry Society of America’s national high school competition, was commended in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award and was awarded the National Student Poet Award for the Midwest, the highest award for American high school writers, by Scholastic and The President’s Committee on the Arts & The Humanities for which she traveled to the White House to meet the Obamas. Her work has been published in Poetry magazine and in Arts & Letters, and she recently was selected as a 2018 Luminarts Fellow in Creative Writing.

Kara JacksonA two-time commended poet in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, 18-year-old Kara Jackson is the new Youth Poet Laureate of the USA and the Youth Poet Laureate of Chicago.  She won the literary award at the 2018 Louder Than a Bomb finals selected by National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist Patricia Smith.  Kara was a member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Adroit Magazine Mentorship Program; was selected three times to the extremely competitive Louder Than a Bomb “Bomb Squad”; won the Brown University Book Award; and is a multiple awardee of the Scholastic Arts and Writing Award.  She was a semi-finalist in Nimrod International Journal’s Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry and was selected by Pulitzer Prize winner Tyehimba Jess as runner-up in the Frontier Poetry’s Award for New Poets.  It should be noted that Kara competed against adults in both of these latter competitions.  Kara just had an essay published in Poetry magazine making her one of the youngest prose writers in the 106-year-history of the prestigious journal.

Patricia FrazierFormer Youth Poet Laureate of Chicago, 19-year-old Patricia Frazier was recently named second-ever National Youth Poet Laureate, where one of her projects will be to team with Free Write Arts & Literacy to do writing workshops in juvenile detention centers.  Patricia lived in an infamous housing project on the South Side of Chicago when she was a young girl and often writes about Chicago’s inequalities.  She has been featured on PBS television, ABC news and National Public Radio, and in theChicago TribuneChicago Magazine and Vogue.  Her poem “I am Windy City” is to be featured in Northwestern University Press’s forthcoming Book The End of Chiraq.  Her first collection—Graphite—comes out in September with Haymarket Books.

Peter KahnPeter Kahn is a founding member of Malika’s Kitchen and co-founder of the London Teenage Poetry Slam. He has been a high school teacher at Oak Park/River Forest High School in Chicago since 1994 and has recently also taught at Roosevelt University.  As a Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths-University of London, he founded the Spoken Word Education Training Programme. Peter holds an MA in English Education from The Ohio State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University. Along with Patricia Smith and Ravi Shankar, Peter edited The Golden Shovel Anthology:  New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. Peter wrote and judged the Young Poets Network Golden Shovel challenge in 2019.



This workshop is supported by the Foyle Foundation as part of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award.

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