Press Release


Poets to lead conversation and Open Mic Showcase following their performance.

CHICAGO – Join The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, and Chicago Public Radio for a celebration of poetry on Sunday, January 17 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater (2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago).

This event is a part of the 2nd Annual Winter Block Party for Chicago’s Hip-Hop Arts and will feature revolutionary black poet Carolyn Rogers, Afro-Chicano poet John Murillo, and Cuban-Jamacian poet Aja Monet. Each poet will perform their work and then participate in a post-performance conversation, followed by an Open Mic Showcase. Chicago Public Radio hip-hop correspondent, author, and Winter Block Party Artistic Director Kevin Coval will serve as host.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 312.422.5580. This event is co-sponsored by Chicago Public Radio and The Public Square.


Carolyn Rodgers emerged from the Black Arts movement in Chicago in the 1960s as a “revolutionary poet,” creating a distinct and profound black aesthetic.

John Murillo is an Afro-Chicano poet and playwright, a graduate of New York University’s MFA program, and a recent fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Aja Monet is a Cuban-Jamaican poet originally from Brooklyn, now residing in Chicago. At 22 years old, she is currently the youngest Grand Slam Champion of the Lower East Side’s legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Café.


Kevin Coval is the author of everyday people and slingshots (a hip-hop poetica). Coval 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.


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 (IHC) 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 (NEH), 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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