Event—Public Programming

Chicago Poetry, Then and Now

Join us for an evening of poetry with Srikanth Reddy, Ed Roberson, Suzanne Buffam, and the Newberry's Liesl Olson.


How has the city of Chicago—as a place, and as a center for poets and poetry—shaped the work of three of the city's most exciting poets? Find out in an evening of poetry with Suzanne Buffam, Srikanth Reddy, and Ed Roberson, moderated by the Newberry's Liesl Olson. Each poet will read and discuss new work alongside poems from the early 20th-century Chicago Renaissance period that have inspired them.

About the speakers:

Suzanne Buffam has written three collections of poetry, most recently A Pillow Book, which was named one of the ten Best Poetry Books of 2016 by the New York Times. Other books include The Irrationalist, a finalist for the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize, and Past Imperfect, winner of Canada’s 2006 Gerald Lampert Award. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Jeannette Haien Ballard Writers Trust. She earned her MA in English literature from Concordia University in Montreal and her MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ workshop. Buffam is currently an associate professor of Practice in the Arts at the University of Chicago.

Srikanth (Chicu) Reddy is author of the poetry collections Underworld Lit (forthcoming), Voyager, and Facts for Visitors. His poetry and criticism have also appeared in Harper’s, the Guardian, New Republic, and the New York Times. Reddy has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Creative Capital Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa and a PhD in English Literature from Harvard University, and is currently professor of English and creative writing at the University of Chicago.

Ed Roberson's many books of of poetry include Voices Cast Out to Talk Us In, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize; Just In: Word of Navigational Change: New and Selected Work; Atmosphere Conditions, a National Poetry Series winner; and his most recent, To See the Earth Before the End of the World. Roberson’s honors include the 2016 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Lila Wallace Writers’ Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Award, and the 2016 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. His work has also been included in Best American Poetry. Roberson lives in Chicago and has taught literature and creative writing at the University of Chicago and Columbia College, and is currently artist-in-residence at Northwestern University.

Liesl Olson is Director of Chicago Studies at the Newberry Library. Olson has written widely on twentieth-century literature and art, including her first book, Modernism and the Ordinary and her most recent book, Chicago Renaissance: Literature and Art in the Midwest Metropolis, which won the 2018 Pegasus Award from the Poetry Foundation for best book of poetry criticism and the 2019 Mid-America Award from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature. She earned her PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and for four years she taught at the University of Chicago as a Harper-Schmidt Fellow.

This program is cosponsored with the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation.

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