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.

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.

Screenwriters Share Industry Secrets

Screenwriters share industry secrets at DePaul’s Page One writing confab

CHICAGO – Screenwriters for Steven Spielberg, “Scandal” and “South Park” are among the speakers at DePaul University’s Page One Entertainment Writing Conference May 3 from noon to 6:30 p.m.

Hosted by DePaul’s School of Cinema and Interactive Media in the College of Computing and Digital Media, the daylong forum is designed to highlight the works of leading writers and offer insight into the many aspects of entertainment writing from breaking into the business, to the business of writing the Hollywood blockbuster. The workshops aim to help students, local artists and writers become better at their craft to further cultivate the film and television community in Chicago and Illinois.

“This is the third time we have held this event and each year it continues to grow in size and scope. We are thrilled to be able to offer the greater Chicago community a chance to learn from these incredible filmmakers and industry professionals,” said Kristyn Jo Benedyk, chair of the screenwriting program at DePaul who launched the Page One conference three years ago.

The event is free and open to the public. All sessions will take place in the College of Computing and Digital Media Theatre in the lower level of the Richard M. and Maggie C. Daley Building, 14 E. Jackson Blvd.

Conference workshops include:

“Writing the Franchise, Genre Writing and Writing with a Partner” Noon-1 p.m.  The writing duo of Peter Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg who wrote “Sorority Row” and the “Piranha 3D” franchise.

“The Business of Writing: The People Who Represent and Hire Writers” 1:15-2:15 p.m. CDM alumna Daniel Willis, previously with Walt Disney Pictures and currently on staff at “Grey’s Anatomy;” Lenny Beckerman, veteran manager of writers and directors, has worked on “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Babel;” and Sara Rastogi, story editor at Scott Free Productions, discoverer and developer of new writers and projects.

“Multiple Hats: Writers Who Produce, Direct, Act and More” 2:30-3:30 p.m.  Actor-turned-comedy writer Theresa Mulligan Rosenthal, a Second City alumna, has written for “South Park” and “How I Met Your Mother;” and actor-writer Guinevere Turner, of “Chasing Amy” and “Treasure Island,” who wrote and acted in “The L Word.”

“Breaking In: Landing That First Writing Job” 3:45-4:45 p.m. Severiano Canales, former assistant to Shonda Rhimes, the Executive Producer/Creator of “Private Practice” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” Canales is now a regular staff writer on her latest hit series, “Scandal.” Aisha Muharrar, previously a staff writer for “Sit Down, Shut Up;” and writer-actor David Dastmalchian, recipient of the Special Jury Prize for Courage in Storytelling at Austin’s SXSW Film Festival for “Animals,” his feature film screenwriting debut. Dastmalchian, a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University, appeared most recently in “Prisoners.”

“Writing The Hollywood Blockbuster” 5:30-6:30 p.m. Jeff Nathanson has written numerous films for Steven Spielberg including “Catch Me If You Can” and “The Terminal,” and is working on the latest installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Steve Conrad has such written blockbuster films as “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” “Pursuit of Happyness” and “The Weather Man,” is writing and directing the John Belushi biopic. Together, these screenwriters’ movies have grossed billions of dollars at the box office.

For more information about DePaul’s Page One Entertainment Writers Conference, visit their Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/1nzMQHd. Contact: Kristyn Jo Benedyk kjb@cim.depaul.edu 630-408-5898

Author Discussion & Book Signing Comes to DePaul

Cherrie Moraga and Andrea Smith return to DePaul for a conversation about their work, women’s spirituality, and social activism. The reading/conversation will be followed by a book signing; copies of both authors’ books will be available for sale.

Thursday, May 22nd 5:30 pm reception – 6:00 pm program – Cortelyou Commons DePaul University

Author Ian Stansel to visit DePaul

The DePaul University Department of English is proud to welcome writer, editor, teacher, and native Chicagoan Ian Stansel to the Lincoln Park campus next Monday as part of our Visiting Writers 7206179Program.

Stansel is a graduate of the renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. He also holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston, where he also served as the editor of Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. 

Stansel’s work has appeared in a multitude of literary journals, including Ploughshares, Cincinnati Review, Memorious, The Antioch Reviewand much more. His short stories have also been included in both the 2012 and 2013 editions of the New Stories from the Midwest.

Join us Monday, February 3 at 6:00 p.m. in Richardson Library Room 115 for what is sure to be a fun evening with one of Chicago’s own authors.

In the meantime, check out Everybody’s Irish, Stansel’s short story collection published in October 13 by FiveChapters Books, and follow Ian Stansel on Twitter at @IanStansel.

Applications available for the Cork Writers’ School Summer Program 2014

Do you love writing? If you’re an avid reader of The Underground, well then of course you do. But wouldn’t that next work of written genius come a whole lot easier if you could immerse yourself in a beautiful and faraway locale steeped in rich literary history?

If so, then the new Cork Writers’ School Summer Program sounds like your cup of Irish Breakfast Tea.

Nestled in lovely Mitchelstown, Ireland in the idyllic County of Cork, the Cork Writers’ School offers budding writers the unique opportunity to dive into the timeless work of Cork’s many great poets, novelists, painters, and musicians while crafting works of their very own. Learn about paragons like Frank O’Connor, Gerald Griffin, Elizabeth Bowen and others from preeminent scholars before immersing yourself in creative writing workshops on the memoir, novels, poetry, and the short story. Write the work you’ve always wanted to under the guidance of distinguished facilitators, such as the award-winning playwright and memoirist John MacKenna; Leanne O’Sullivan, poet and winner of the 2010 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature; Nuala Ní Chonchúir, a writer of four renowned short story collections and the 2010 highly-praised novel, Youand James Joyce Award recipient Mary O’Donnell, an author, translator, and university instructor.

The Cork Writers’ School 2014 Summer Program will be held from July 21 to August 1, 2014. Don’t let this amazing opportunity pass you by! For more information, a full program agenda, and an application, visit the Cork Writers’ School website today at CorkWritersSchool.com.

End of the Year Events

Finals are creeping up! Before you are immersed in your writing,
check out these events to wrap up the Spring Quarter:

The Threshold release party is taking place this Thursday, June 6th from 5:00-7:00pm at the DePaul Art Museum, 935 W. Fullerton. There will be free copies of the magazine, music is will be provided by members of the DePaul Jazz Ensemble, readings and performances from the publication will be taking place, and of course refreshments! Come out this Thursday and join Threshold in celebrating the hard work of their staff and contributors.

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The End-of-Year English Celebration: Come and celebrate the end of the quarter this Friday, June 7th from 3:00-5:00pm in the Courtelyou Commons.

End of Year 2013 flyer

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Brooksday, a marathon reading of the works of Gwendolyn Brooks, is also on Friday, June 7th from 9:00am-7:30pm at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St. DePaul’s professors, Mark Turcotte and Amina Gautier, are participants in the marathon reading of Gwendolyn Brooks’ work.

For over a year, the Guild Literary Complex, Third World Press and the American Writers Museum have been planning and organizing Brooksday, a marathon reading of the works of Gwendolyn Brooks on her birthday. This event is a day-long celebration of the life and legacy of one of Chicago’s literary legends.  Start the day with an open mic at 9 am, and stay to hear the work of Gwendolyn Brooks read by Michelle Boone, Rosellen Brown, Calvin Forbes, Reginald Gibbons, Rick Hogan, Haki Madhubuti, Achy Obejas, Sandra Opoku, Sara Paretsky, Elise Paschen, Avery R. Young and many, many more! This event is free and open to the public.

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Finally, on Saturday, June 8th, check out the Humanities Center Faculty Fellows Program event, “American Allegory: Ralph Ellison and the Question of American Identity,” at 3:00pm at the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore located at the University of Chicago, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave. This event is free and open to the public!

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