5 Exciting Chicago Poetry Events this March

Ready to enjoy the arts live? Spring is just around the corner, which means Chicago weather is warming up and it’s time to get back out there. If you’re a poetry lover in the greater Chicago area, we’ve picked out five exciting, inspiring live events you won’t want to miss. So mark your calendars and get ready to mix, mingle, read, and recite. 


Open Door: Ari Banias, Joss Barton, Alex Jane Cope, & KOKUMO

Thursday, March 2, hosted by the Poetry Foundation

The Open Door series hosted by the Poetry Foundation highlights mentorship, collaboration, and other types of creative relationships in Chicago. At the March 2 open door, four exceptional poets will read: Ari Banias, author of A Symmetry, was awarded the 2022 Publishing Triangle Award for Trans & Gender Variant Literature. Joss Barton, writer, journalist, and spoken word artist documents queer and trans life.

Alex Jane Cope, poet and translator, previously organized a multilingual queer and feminist reading series in Paris. KOKUMO, called the Queen of Queer Soul, is the founder of the world’s first record company dedicated to Black, non-cis women. This free event will be held virtually and in person. In-person attendees are strongly encouraged to register in advance. 


Poetic Art Expression

Saturday, March 4, hosted by 312 Music Association

Hosted at the Pose Cultural Art Gallery in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village, Poetic Art Expression explores the intersection between art, history, and community. Local artists, poets, and musicians will be invited to showcase their work through displays, live readings, and performances. Refreshments will be provided. General admission tickets cost $8. 


West Loop Writers Group 

Thursday, March 9, hosted by the Chicago Public Library (West Loop Branch)

What better place to meet fellow writers than at your local library? Writers seeking feedback and constructive criticism in a laid-back setting will feel right at home with this writers’ group. Attendance is free! The only ask? Please bring in no more than 3–5 pages of double-spaced work to share. 


Il Girasole: Summers in Umbria Reading and Art Exhibit with Linda Gent Johnson

Sunday, March 12, hosted by Evanston Made

Poetry fans with an interest in Italy will love this insightful event. Long-time Evanston resident Linda Gent Johnson will share excerpts from her book Il Girasole: Summers in Umbria. This deeply personal book tells the story of her family tree research, the purchase of a family home, and 18 summers spent in Italy. This event is free and open to the public, but it is limited to 30, so don’t forget to RSVP. 


Surviving the Long Wars: Exhibition Close-Up and Poetry Reading

Thursday, March 16, hosted by the Newberry Library

Explore the disparate impacts of war and the search for solidarity in this moving event. Led by military veterans and poets Erika Renee Land, Monty Little, Dunya Mikhail, and Carlos Sirah, this event coincides with the second Veteran Art Triennial and Summit. This free program will be held in person at the Newberry and live-streamed on Zoom. Participants must register in advance. Those who can’t make the event may enjoy the related exhibition, open Feb. 28 through May 27.