Evanston is home to Rhino Poetry, a regionally and nationally recognized annual collection of poetry from new and established writers. The last Friday of every month they hold a poetry reading with featured poets as well as open mike time for those willing to share works in progress and new work. The Friday readings are usually held at Brothers K Coffeehouse at 500 Main Street, a venue I frequent often and an unofficial ‘hub’ of the Main Street corridor. One of my friends planned to read some of her poems on April 25 and I decided to attend.
This was my first poetry reading and I had no idea what to expect. It was fascinating and thought-provoking. I challenged myself to really listen to the spoken words delivered by their creators; the breadth of creativity among the 50 or 60 people in the coffeehouse was humbling. So many published authors! The atmosphere was friendly, welcoming and very supportive. The open mike time showcased probably a dozen writers and followed by Ralph Hamilton presenting the Paladin Award to Allison Joseph, director of the Young Writers Workshop, an annual summer residential creative writing workshop for high school writers. She also holds the Judge Williams Holmes Cook Endowed Professorship at Southern University of Illinois and is the poetry editor of Crab Orchard Review, among her many accomplishments. Allison read some of her poetry and it was fantastic. Next up was Rochelle Hurt reading from her poetic novel, The Rusted City, “a coming-of-age fable set in the haunting dreamscape of the Rust Belt, where industrial corrosion becomes a funhouse mirror of personal loss.” I only heard a few pages, but it is powerful and gripping.
Push your boundaries and comfort level: experience one of Rhino’s poetry readings in the future.