City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry

City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry

by Ryan G. Van Cleave (Editor)


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Chicago has served as touchstone and muse to generations of writers and artists defined by their relationship to the city’s history, lore, inhabitants, landmarks, joys and sorrows, pride and shame. The poetic conversations inspired by Chicago have long been a vital part of America’s literary landscape, from Carl Sandburg and Gwendolyn Brooks to experimental writers and today’s slam poets. The one hundred contributors to this vibrant collection take their materials and their inspirations from the city itself in a way that continues this energetic dialogue.

The cultural, ethnic, and aesthetic diversity in this gathering of poems springs from a variety of viewpoints, styles, and voices as multifaceted and energetic as the city itself. Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz: “I want to eat / in a city smart enough to know that if you / are going to have that heart attack, you might / as well have the pleasure of knowing // you’ve really earned it”; Renny Golden: “In the heat of May 1937, my grandfather / sits in the spring grass of an industrial park / with hundreds of striking steelworkers”; Joey Nicoletti: “The wind pulls a muscle / as fans yell the vine off the outfield wall, / mustard-stained shirts, hot dog smiles, and all.”

The combined energies of these poems reveal the mystery and beauty that is Second City, the City by the Lake, New Gotham, Paris on the Prairie, the Windy City, the Heart of America, and Sandburg’s iconic City of the Big Shoulders.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781609380908
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Publication date: 04/01/2012
Edition description: 1
Pages: 206
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Ryan G. Van Cleave is the author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of nineteen books including poetry, young adult fiction, and nonfiction. With Virgil Suárez, he is the editor of the poetry anthologies Red, White, and Blues: Poets on the Promise of America (Iowa, 2004), Vespers: Contemporary American Poems of Religion and Spirituality (Iowa, 2003), Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence in America (Iowa, 2002), and American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement (Iowa, 2001).

Read an Excerpt

Windy City
            Christina Pugh
They wrote all over the rocks, the ones
who came before and come still; choicer
than graffiti, the paint cubed and letters
blocked like epitaphs: Acid or small groove
or baby cakes. And primary colors whet
the schools of foam the lake makes,
its mobile cursive less serene, while the city
wells above that trace of sociability—
its steeples snuffed, or nearly, in the mist:
this could have been Christminster,
or these the moral rocks Tess read
on her journey home in terrible,
delicate boots: the shores mirror us
always, but the city transpires.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Editors Note xiii

Routes Kathryn Almy 1

At the Crawford Coal-Fired Rower Plant Nin Andrews 2

Time Travel Dori Appel 3

Chicago Deep Dish Cristin O'keefe Aptowicz 4

Chicago's Monuments Rane Arroyo 5

Hancock O'Hare Michael Austin 6

Yes, We Can Marvin Bell 8

Ted Stone Morning Mary Grace Bertulfo 10

Postcard from Buddy Guy's Legends: Bar and Grill, Chicago Allen Braden 12

I Saw You John Bradley 13

The Last Fortune Teller of Chicago John F. Buckley Martin Ott 14

Sixteen Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor 15

Everything Is Karen Carcia 16

Jean Baptiste James E. Cherry 18

Sleeping with Carl Susan Deer Cloud 19

Hotel Dana James Conroy 21

Low Ride Elegy Timothy Cook 23

Campus Taxi Nina Corwin 24

Michael Jordan Curtis L. Crisler 25

summer news Mary Cross 27

Still Life with Zeno and File Footage James D'agostino 29

Ravenswood Stuart Dybek 30

Hibernation Bart Edelman 31

Chicago Union Stockyards Circa 1957 Susan Elbe 33

150 Years of Chicago Architecture Dina Elenbogen 34

Cheo Saw an Angel on Division Street Martín Espada 35

Loop John W. Evans 36

Asked for a Happy Memory of Her Father, She Recalls Wrigley Field Beth Ann Fennelly 37

Radar Ghosts Michael Filimowicz 38

With My Blue Flowered Dress Jennifer S. Flescher 40

Republic Steel Chicago South Works Renny Golden 41

The Horses Run Back to Their Stalls Linda Gregerson 43

38 Easy Steps to Carlyle's Everlasting Yea John Guzlowski 45

Bible Belt Terry Hamilton-Poore 47

The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window Joy Harjo 48

Uncle Danny Brags about Playing Special Teams for the '85 Bears Derrick Harriell 50

Dearborn North Apartments Lola Haskins 51

In Michael Robins's class minus one Bob Hicok 52

American Apocalypse Edward Hirsch 53

Dear John Dillinger, John Wesley Horton 57

on the other end. right there Randall Horton 58

My Great-Grandfather Takes a Business Trip, c. 1912 Ann Hudson 59

Road Trip Donald Illich 60

Luminaria Larry Janowski 61

Dear Chicago- Philip Jenks Simone Muench 62

One likes to think Chicago Thomas L. Johnson 63

The Jewel Richard Jones 64

Chicago Noise (Love Letter to Steve Albini) Jarret Keene 66

Miniature Church Susan Kelly-Dewitt 68

Under the Terrible Burden of Destiny Laughing as a Young Man Laughs Becca Klaver 70

The Rainiest Day in Recorded Chicago History Susanna Lang 71

At the Palmer House Hilton Elizabeth Langemak 72

dead dead Quraysh Alilansana 73

At the Sea Lion Pool Anna Leahy 75

Chicago: City of Neighborhoods Viola Lee 76

Emerald Ash Brenna Lemieux 80

Seasonality of Violence Francesco Levato 81

Chicago Noir Gary Copeland Lilley 82

Too Much to Take In Moira Linehan 83

How Should Chicago Be Governed? Rachel Loden 84

Fermata Chicago Marty Mcconnell 85

Sandburg Variations Campbell McGrath 87

How to Hear Chicago Paul Martínez Pompa 89

Jack Johnson Comes to Chicago Adrian Matejka 90

Chicago Erika Mikkalo 92

Noon outside the Music Mart: A Sestina Wilda Morris 93

Ferris wheel at Navy Pier Julie Parson Nesbitt 95

Lee Smith Joey Nicoletti 96

Joumey Barbra Nightingale 97

Chancing Upon the Manatees Elise Paschen 99

A World of Our Own Johanny Vázquez Paz 101

Tracks on the Ground, Tracks in the Sky Todd James Pierce 102

Plattdeutsch James Plath 104

The Chicago Daily Blues Chad Prevost 106

Walk through Chicago's Loop, Winter, 2009 Mark Prudowsky 107

Windy City Christina Pugh 108

Second Sister Terrorizes Second City Maya Quintero 109

At Shedd Aquarium Robyn Schiff 112

Pigeon Lady Teresa Scollon 114

Wishbone Don Share 116

And Still, a Bird Is in Me Vivian Shipley 117

Huck, with Music and Guns Barry Silesky 119

Chicago Patricia Smith 120

Meditation on a Shorewalk with Old Emil in the "Windy City" of My Youth Dan Stryk 122

A Sheaf for Chicago Lucien Stryk 123

Wall Painting in Chicago Bar: "Richard J. Daley, Mayor" Richard Terrill 131

In the Intersection, Jackson and State Tony Trigilio 133

Tourists and Bum, Art Institute of Chicago Alpay Ulku 134

Run for Your Life Judith Valente 135

Adagio Villanelle Martha Modena Vertreace-Doody 138

Nighthawks Transfixed Gale Renée Walden 139

Inheritance Nicole Walker 140

Cloud Gate Ellen Wehle 141

TheFacts as I Know Them Scott Wiggerman 142

Blueaille Katherine Williams 143

Fields Martin Willitts 144

At the Library Janet Wondra 146

Chicago Chronicle Stephen Caldwell Wright 148

Chicago, Brenda Yates 149

Contributors' Notes 153

Permissions 167

Index to Titles 173

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