Past Event

Sports, Poetry, and Resistance: Looking for Democracy in American Culture

Join us for an evening with award-winning political sports writer Dave Zirin and hip-hop poet Kevin Coval.

There is often a perception that sports and politics belong in different sections of the daily newspaper. Blowing up that myth is sportswriter Dave Zirin with A People’s History of Sports in the United States, a book that examines sports as a reflection of the political conflicts that shape American society.

Add poetry to the mix with a powerful performance by four-time HBO Def Poet Kevin Coval of select works from his new book, everyday people. Coval’s work looks critically at current cultural and political events via the lens of his personal identity. We unite sports, politics and poetry to explore unique forms of resistance in American culture.

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required and can be made online, by e-mail at, or by calling 312.422.5580.

"After you read him, you’ll never see sports the same way again." — Jeff Chang

"In Coval’s voice is our hope for a new world for peace, grace and beauty." — Studs Terkel

Authors will be available to sign books following the program.


Dave Zirin, Press Action’s 2005 and 2006 Sportswriter of the Year, has been called "an icon in the world of progressive sports" and Robert Lipsyte says he is "the best young sportswriter in the United States." His column, "Edge of Sports," appears on Sports Illustrated’s website. He is also the host of XM satellite’s weekly show, Edge of Sports Radio. Zirin is, in addition, a columnist for SLAM Magazine, the Progressive, and the Philadelphia Weekly; a contributor to The Nation magazine, and a regular op-ed writer for the Los Angeles Times. Zirin’s next book, out this summer, is A People’s History of Sports in the United States, part of Howard Zinn’s People’s History series for the New Press. He is also the author of Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports (Haymarket Books), "What’s My Name, Fool?" Sports and Resistance in the United States (Haymarket Books), and The Muhammad Ali Handbook (MQ Publications).

Kevin Coval is the author of everyday people and slingshots (a hip-hop poetica), named Book of the Year-finalist by The American Library Association. Coval’s writing has appeared in The Spoken Word Revolution and The Spoken Word Revolution: Redux (SourceBooks), Total Chaos (Basic Civitas), I Speak of the City: New York City Poems (Columbia University Press), The Bandana Republic (Soft Skull Press), Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reporter, Cross Currents, and Crab Orchard Review; seen on C-SPAN, WGN; and can be heard regularly on Chicago Public Radio, where he is resident poet and hip-hop correspondent. Coval is the founder of Louder Than A Bomb, the largest youth poetry festival in the world. He is poet-in-residence at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, a faculty member at The School of the Art Institute and University of Illinois-Chicago, and Minister of Hip-Hop Poetics at The University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This Artists, Activists, & Authors After Hours (AAAH) program is sponsored by The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, and the Chicago Cultural Center.

AAAH events are intimate, informal discussions that allow for meaningful exchanges among people who share some connection to the work of a visiting artist. Since coalition building is one of the cornerstones of social change, AAAH events are structured to give individuals a chance to meet others engaged in similar struggles and projects.

For more information, call 312.422.5580.