Poet

Books & Sample Poems

Lending Color to the

Otherwise Absurd

85 pages | 19 paintings | 48 poems

Soft Cover | 8.5” x 8.5” | $19.50  

NOW ONLY $15.00 

Digital PDF available with Free Membership

Simply register above and request a book. 

This project is partially supported by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Managing Hesitation

 

It doesn’t matter how deep the water

if it’s over your head.

 

It doesn’t matter how far the shore

if it’s out of sight.

 

It only matters that

you walk to the end of the pier

with your plethora of fears

like pebbles in your shoes

Fling them into the sea and watch

how small they appear

against the horizon

How the whitecaps

drown the sound

of touching water

How limited

their power

as they

descend.

 

It only matters

that you

feel free to

 

jump.

American Gun 1.jpg

FREE

AMERICAN gUN

FREE Soft Cover or Request a Digital Copy

 

According to the Chicago Police Department, 2,611 people were shot in Chicago in 2019. By contrast, NYC and LA totaled just over 1,800 shooting victims combined, far fewer than Chicago by itself.

(Chicago Tribune, Jan. 2, 2020

 

American Gun: A Poem by 100 Chicagoans is a collective response to the individual suffering behind the statistics. Chris Green asked one-hundred poets from across the city to take turns writing a communal poem about Chicago’s gun violence. The poets range in age, gender, race, ethnicity, and poetic experience. Well-known poets write with teen poets from the South and West Sides… many from the group Young Chicago Authors, but also young poets from Chicago’s alternative high schools, where statistically, students experience the most gun violence in the city.

 

The poem is a pantoum, a poetic form where every line is repeated twice. This form mirrors the semi-automatic firing of a weapon and also the seemingly endless cycle of shootings in Chicago.

 

Our country needs more truth, more collaboration – something like this poem where diverse people sing together in sanity and beauty. When politics fails us, poetry tells us we are not alone in our outrage and hope.

 

PRAISE

 

American Gun is haunting, filled with a sense of profound loss and formidable hope. I urge you to pick up this poem, and read and read again. It’ll leave you longing for a city that can and should do better by its young people.

Alex Kotlowitz

Author, An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago

 

Each element in this reverberating communal poem – from the hypnotic repetition of lines to the entwinement of diverse voices to the exquisite corpse construction – creates both pattern and ambush, mirroring the interconnectivity of city lives beneath a façade of divisions and echoing the perpetual shock and horror of gun violence. 100 Chicago poets have built an elegy of rare synergistic and compassionate imagination and profound resonance. 

Donna Seaman

Editor, Booklist

© 2018 Emily Thornton Calvo

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