Press Release


The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, hosts a conversation at the Chicago Cultural Center between the acclaimed sportswriter and hip-hop poet.

CHICAGO – How are sports, politics, and poetry connected? Join political sportswriter Dave Zirin and spoken word artist Kevin Coval as they explore-through performance and conversation-how their work creates unique forms of resistance in American culture. Zirin will be drawing from his new book, A People’s History of Sports in the United States, which examines sports as a reflection of the political conflicts that shape American society. Coval will perform selected works from his new book, everyday people, which looks critically at current cultural and political events through the lens of his personal identity.

This event will take place on Monday, September 8th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center (5th Floor Garland Room, 78 East Washington Street, Chicago). The authors will be available to sign books following the program.

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required and can be made at or 312.422.5580. This program is sponsored by The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, and the Chicago Cultural Center.


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 Radio’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.


The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, fosters debate, dialogue, and exchange of ideas about cultural, social and political issues with an emphasis on social justice. Programs promote participatory democracy by creating space for public conversations. More information about The Public Square is available at

The Illinois Humanities Council is a nonprofit educational organization [501 (c) 3] dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Organized in 1973 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

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