Event Review: Poets Chris Green and Richard Jones Reading

Poets in Season: a reading with Chris Green and Richard Jones

By Michael Garza
Contributor to The Underground

On Monday evening, staff and students gathered for a poetry reading. Readings can run the gamut of atmosphere, from the bombast of a juke joint to the still of temple ceremony. Yet, on the fourth floor of the Arts & Letters Hall, tucked in a kind of penthouse suite overlooking complete darkness, the buzz shifted between a lounge reading and lecture. Professor Richard Jones and Chris Green came to share poems, and that was enough to pack the place.

Professor Richard Jones, who planned to share poems from Stranger on Earth, his 2018 full-length collection, instead took on the challenge he gives his students, and shared poems fresh off the press. “I discovered only last year that potatoes come in different colors.” said Professor Jones, and in one poem an angel visits to ask how the purple potatoes taste. Jones joked about being near-blind without glasses, but showed no lack of lucidity in words. In another piece entitled “The Proposal”, he tells a companion “as long as you don’t mind eating rabbit for the rest of your life, you’ll be happy”, a suggestion he miraculously charges with appeal. 

Jones was a warm and insightful lead-off hitter for Professor Chris Green, Director of Writing & Publishing Internships at DePaul, who’s newest poetry collection Everywhere West just dropped in July of 2019. Professor Green read selections from Everywhere, and alluded to a “video poem” based off the titular piece that would be shown later in the evening. Green opened with a poem about his visit to Robert Frost’s grave where he ran into Michael O’Keefe, the actor from Caddyshack and Roseanne fame. The absurdity of life is given microphone and family in Green’s poetry. “One is never more dead than in Vermont in January” says Green, and his knowledge of Chicago winters reinforces this point. In a favorite of mine called “The Prodigal Daughter”, the young lady “writes my name on a piece of paper, crosses it out, and hands it back to me.” This fiery spirit keeps billowing, as Green writes “you are so serious about the predicament of nature you keep a field journal at five.”

Before the video plays, Jones and Green perform a shared reading of “Conversations with a Dog”, a dialogue anyone would kill to have. Lines like “If there is anger in me it is squirrels” and “you starved yourself for a week and, like a saint, your eyes went cloudy” curled the room tighter around some metaphysical fireplace they were building.

The lights dimmed and Chris Green played the video poem “Everywhere West“, a time-lapse recording of his friend Mark Neumann’s cross-country drive with that title poem as soundtrack. Traveling along this common artery of the American landscape was a moving experience, and a welcome innovation for the presentation of poetry in broader culture.

At DePaul, the gifts are spread generously, among the student body and teachers alike.

Welcome Erika Sánchez!

TONIGHT –

Please join the department of Latin American and Latino Studies in welcoming Erika L. Sánchez, the new Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz Chair in Latin American and Latino Studies!

Erika will be teaching some of her courses in English, including a graduate workshop in YA Lit this winter.

Event date:
6:00-8:00pm
November 6, 2019

Event location:
Cortelyou Commons, LPC

Upcoming Event: What Can We Do About Climate Change?

On October 30, join the English Department as we host our first event of the year in partnership with One Book, One Chicago. This year’s One Book selection is Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction, and our first panel discussion will focus on solutions to human-caused climate change.

“What Can We Do About Climate Change?” will be moderated by our own Ted Anton with Mark Potosnak, Barbara Willard, Jill Hopke, and Ali Fatemi all discussing their own work in relation to our changing climate.

Visiting Writers Series: Poets Richard Jones and Chris Green

Join two of our very own DePaul English professors, Richard Jones and Chris Green, on Monday, November 4 at 6pm in Arts & Letters 414 for a reading and conversation!

Read more about Richard Jones’s poetry collection Strangers on Earth here and here.

Read more about Chris Green’s poetry collection Everywhere West here and here.

Author Visit: Tim Hillegonds Memoir Reading & Discussion

Join Tim Hillegonds on September 26th as he reads and discusses his new memoir at DePaul. Before the reading, also take advantage of the opportunity to talk with the alum about life after DePaul, publishing your first book, writing tips, and more in the library’s Rosati Room.

The Distance Between chronicles how Hillegonds’s plan to leave his mounting rage and frustration behind with a one-way ticket from Chicago to Colorado goes awry as he jumps headfirst into a turbulent relationship with April, a Denny’s coworker and single parent. More than just a harrowing story of addiction and abuse or a simple mea culpa, The Distance Between is a finely wrought exploration of, and reckoning with, absent fathers, fatherhood, violence, adolescent rage, white male privilege, and Hillegonds’s own toxic masculinity. With nuance and urgency, The Distance Between takes readers through the grit of life on the margins while grappling with the problematic nature of one man’s existence.

Tim Hillegonds is a DePaul MAWP alum and author of the new memoir The Distance Between (Nebraska, 2019). His work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Assay, Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, River Teeth, Baltimore Review, Brevity, Under the Gum Tree, Hippocampus Magazine, The Fourth River, Midway Journal, RHINO, Bluestem Magazine, r.k.v.r.y. quarterly, and others. He was nominated for a 2015 Illinois Arts Council Literary Award. In 2019, Tim was named by the Guild Literary Complex as one of their thirty “Writers to Watch.” He currently serves as a contributing editor for Slag Glass City, a digital journal of the urban essay arts.

Pre-event conversation:
Thursday, September 26, 2019 – 4:30-5:30pm
Richardson Library Room 300

Event date:
Thursday, September 26, 2019 – 6:00-7:00pm
Event address:
McGowan South 104
1110 West Belden Avenue