Sponsored by Poetry Foundation.
If you go
61 W. Superior St., Chicago
Chicago is a city of treasures, and the Poetry Foundation’s gleaming, modern building is among the shiniest of those jewels. An independent literary organization and publisher of Poetry Magazine since 1912, the Poetry Foundation opened their doors to the public in 2011; the space boasts a 30,000 volume library, a beautiful public garden and light-filled rooms for galleries and events. Interested in expanding your kid’s poetry prowess beyond “Roses are red…?” They’ve got the programming for that, too.
From family-centric readings and talks with acclaimed authors to primers for the very young, the Foundation hopes to welcome (and create!) literary lovers of all ages. The event we attended this past Saturday showcased poet and educator Quraysh Ali Lansana’s new book “A Gift From Greensboro,” a stunningly told story of friendship, childhood, race and growing up in the aftermath of the Woolworth sit-ins of 1960. Equal parts powerful and nostalgic (the poem is also an ode to his two best friends, who both tragically passed in adulthood), the language will speak volumes to every member of the family, and illustrator Skip Hill’s beautiful pen and ink artwork will ensure a treasured spot on the family bookshelf. (For more information or to buy, visit pennycandybooks.com)
The reading was preceded by wonderful spoken word performances and even an opportunity to join in on a peaceful, songful Woolworth’s sit in; a chance that many children and even more adults jumped at. After the event, we left plenty of time for exploring the Pegasus & Mermaid art gallery as well as for curling up with a good book in the impressively soaring reading room, which still featured cozy cork stools, just the right size for inspiring tinier poets to curl up with a good tome. (The small set will also enjoy the Foundation’s Poemtime program on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m., where kids ages 2-5 can experience poetry through interactive storytime and crafts.)
Need another reason to add this stimulating stop to your “must visit” spaces this fall? In addition to being good for your soul, the Poetry Foundation is good for your wallet; admission is always free.