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About Emily

Emily Thornton Calvo, poet, photo, author, artist,

    Emily Thornton Calvo is a poet, visual artist, author and creative director. As a poet, she has been active in Chicago’s poetry community since 1994. In 2019, the Guild Literary Complex recognized Calvo as one of 30 Writers to Watch. 


In 2014, she released her first collection of poems and art, Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd, with a grant provided by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Her poems have been published in numerous publications—both online and in print. She has also featured at many venues including Loyola University, Women & Children First, the Uptown Poetry Slam at the Green Mill as well as the Fontenay le Comte Civic Center in France. Calvo has been an active organizer in the poetry slam movement. Through The Poetry Center of Chicago’s Hands on Stanzas program, she was a poet-in-residence at a Chicago public school.


In 1999, she became a freelance creative director serving clients in the Chicago area. Meanwhile, when her father passed away in 2000, she traveled to France and reconnected with visual art. Since then, she has studied at the Oak Park Art Center, Palette & Chisel, and Ed Hinkley Studios. Her work has been exhibited at August House Studio, the Harold Washington Library, the Civic Center in Fontenay Le Comte, France, and many other venues.

As a Chicago-based freelance writer, she has also authored several books. Raised by a Chicago artist, she gravitated to painting as well but decided to apply her creative talents to writing. This led to a

career in advertising as an associate creative director with Frankel (now Arc) on their Target account, copywriter at SPM Communications (a leading healthcare ad agency, and Bell + Howell—all in the Chicago area.

When she’s not indulging her creative nature, she takes pleasure in pondering universal questions with her grandchildren; seeing movies where the little guy overcomes incredible odds; overseas travel; a good ghost story; and chocolate. She has a BA in Industrial Psychology from Loyola University and lives in Chicago.

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