3 local Chicagoland events celebrate spoken word

Looking for a way to reframe the conversation with your kiddos this summer? Here are three of our favorite ways to celebrate the spoken word in and around town — and nary a text message among them.

Teen Summer Poetry Camp

Fans of the Poetry Foundation — and really, it should be each and every Chicagoan — already know and love the free access to the Midwest’s only library dedicated to the art form. Between that, the publication of the prestigious Poetry Magazine, and their thoughtful programming for families and young children, they truly offer something for everyone. High-schoolers can even get in on the act with the a poetry camp dedicated to 9th through 12th graders, and also offered free of charge. The two afternoons will immerse students in a variety of contemporary works before setting the stage for participants to share their own creations. (Worried that you’ve been known to rhyme your poetry? Fear not: all experience levels are more than welcome.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017, 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

(Reservations strongly recommended)

Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street, Chicago

The WORD Project

If first-of-their-kind events are more your beat, The WORD Project has some things you’ll love to hear. Standing for “Wisdom of Radical Diversity,” the project is produced by Artful IMPACT! and the groundbreaking evening will feature headliner Kendria “K-Love” Harris, two-time winner of the famed Nuyorican Poetry Slam. No topic is off the table during the show that aims to bring performers and audiences alike out of their comfort zones, and “find strength through art-in-action.” Harris will be joined by special guests, including Second City National Touring Company alum Jonathan Keaton, but the real show stealers might just be the local teens who’ve participated in Harris’ “Seven Ways to Be Me” spoken word empowerment workshop and have a thing or two to say.

Saturday, July 22, 2017, 7 p.m.

(Reservations strongly recommended)

The School of Performing Arts’ Theatre Studio, 1112 S. Washington St., Naperville

Rush Hour Concerts

Need a little more classical influence on the fam’s playlist? The 18th season of the beloved Rush Hour Concert Series may strike the right chord. Completely free and open to the public, each Tuesday offers up chamber music from the Baroque Era to the 21st century, all taking place in downtown’s historic St. James Cathedral. July 25’s program is “New Music, New Poetry,” with works by Messiaen, Murail and Mochizuki, and features Ensemble Dal Niente and poet Richie Hofmann. Doors open at 5 p.m. for an interactive, pre-concert reception, and the 30-minute show starts at 5:45 p.m.. The iced tea is complimentary; the musical education is complementary, too. 

Tuesday evenings through Aug. 29, 2017, 5 p.m.

St. James Cathedral, 65 E. Huron St., Chicago

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