City of the Big Shoulders : An Anthology of Chicago Poetry

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-04-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Iowa Pr

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Chicago has served as touchstone and muse to generations of writers and artists defined by their relationship to the city's history, lore, inhabitants, landmarks, joys and sorrows, pride and shame. The poetic conversations inspired by Chicago have long been a vital part of America's literary landscape, from Carl Sandburg and Gwendolyn Brooks to experimental writers and today's slam poets. The one hundred contributors to this vibrant collection take their materials and their inspirations from the city itself in a way that continues this energetic dialogue. The cultural, ethnic, and aesthetic diversity in this gathering of poems springs from a variety of viewpoints, styles, and voices as multifaceted and energetic as the city itself. Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz: "I want to eat / in a city smart enough to know that if you / are going to have that heart attack, you might / as well have the pleasure of knowing // you've really earned it"; Renny Golden: "In the heat of May 1937, my grandfather / sits in the spring grass of an industrial park / with hundreds of striking steelworkers"; Joey Nicoletti: "The wind pulls a muscle / as fans yell the vine off the outfield wall, / mustard-stained shirts, hot dog smiles, and all." The combined energies of these poems reveal the mystery and beauty that is Second City, the City by the Lake, New Gotham, Paris on the Prairie, the Windy City, the Heart of America, and Sandburg's iconic City of the Big Shoulders.

Author Biography

Ryan G. Van Cleave is author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of nineteen books, including poetry, young adult fiction, and nonfiction. With Virgil Suarez, he is editor of the poetry anthologies Red, White, and Blues: Poets on the Promise of America (Iowa, 2004), Vespers: Contemporary American Poems of Religion and Spirituality (Iowa, 2003), Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence in America (Iowa, 2002), and American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement (Iowa, 2001).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Editors Notep. xiii
Routesp. 1
At the Crawford Coal-Fired Rower Plantp. 2
Time Travelp. 3
Chicago Deep Dishp. 4
Chicago's Monumentsp. 5
Hancock O'Harep. 6
Yes, We Canp. 8
Ted Stone Morningp. 10
Postcard from Buddy Guy's Legends: Bar and Grill, Chicagop. 12
I Saw Youp. 13
The Last Fortune Teller of Chicagop. 14
Sixteenp. 15
Everything Isp. 16
Jean Baptistep. 18
Sleeping with Carlp. 19
Hotel Danap. 21
Low Ride Elegyp. 23
Campus Taxip. 24
Michael Jordanp. 25
summer newsp. 27
Still Life with Zeno and File Footagep. 29
Ravenswoodp. 30
Hibernationp. 31
Chicago Union Stockyards Circa 1957p. 33
150 Years of Chicago Architecturep. 34
Cheo Saw an Angel on Division Streetp. 35
Loopp. 36
Asked for a Happy Memory of Her Father, She Recalls Wrigley Fieldp. 37
Radar Ghostsp. 38
With My Blue Flowered Dressp. 40
Republic Steel Chicago South Worksp. 41
The Horses Run Back to Their Stallsp. 43
38 Easy Steps to Carlyle's Everlasting Yeap. 45
Bible Beltp. 47
The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Windowp. 48
Uncle Danny Brags about Playing Special Teams for the '85 Bearsp. 50
Dearborn North Apartmentsp. 51
In Michael Robins's class minus onep. 52
American Apocalypsep. 53
Dear John Dillinger,p. 57
on the other end. right therep. 58
My Great-Grandfather Takes a Business Trip, c. 1912p. 59
Road Tripp. 60
Luminariap. 61
Dear Chicago-p. 62
One likes to think Chicagop. 63
The Jewelp. 64
Chicago Noise (Love Letter to Steve Albini)p. 66
Miniature Churchp. 68
Under the Terrible Burden of Destiny Laughing as a Young Man Laughsp. 70
The Rainiest Day in Recorded Chicago Historyp. 71
At the Palmer House Hiltonp. 72
dead deadp. 73
At the Sea Lion Poolp. 75
Chicago: City of Neighborhoodsp. 76
Emerald Ashp. 80
Seasonality of Violencep. 81
Chicago Noirp. 82
Too Much to Take Inp. 83
How Should Chicago Be Governed?p. 84
Fermata Chicagop. 85
Sandburg Variationsp. 87
How to Hear Chicagop. 89
Jack Johnson Comes to Chicagop. 90
Chicagop. 92
Noon outside the Music Mart: A Sestinap. 93
Ferris wheel at Navy Pierp. 95
Lee Smithp. 96
Joumeyp. 97
Chancing Upon the Manateesp. 99
A World of Our Ownp. 101
Tracks on the Ground, Tracks in the Skyp. 102
Plattdeutschp. 104
The Chicago Daily Bluesp. 106
Walk through Chicago's Loop, Winter, 2009p. 107
Windy Cityp. 108
Second Sister Terrorizes Second Cityp. 109
At Shedd Aquariump. 112
Pigeon Ladyp. 114
Wishbonep. 116
And Still, a Bird Is in Mep. 117
Huck, with Music and Gunsp. 119
Chicagop. 120
Meditation on a Shorewalk with Old Emil in the "Windy City" of My Youthp. 122
A Sheaf for Chicagop. 123
Wall Painting in Chicago Bar: "Richard J. Daley, Mayor"p. 131
In the Intersection, Jackson and Statep. 133
Tourists and Bum, Art Institute of Chicagop. 134
Run for Your Lifep. 135
Adagio Villanellep. 138
Nighthawks Transfixedp. 139
Inheritancep. 140
Cloud Gatep. 141
TheFacts as I Know Themp. 142
Blueaillep. 143
Fieldsp. 144
At the Libraryp. 146
Chicago Chroniclep. 148
Chicago,p. 149
Contributors∆ Notesp. 153
Permissionsp. 167
Index to Titlesp. 173
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


Windy City
            Christina Pugh
They wrote all over the rocks, the ones
who came before and come still; choicer
than graffiti, the paint cubed and letters
blocked like epitaphs:Acidorsmall groove
orbaby cakes.And primary colors whet
the schools of foam the lake makes,
its mobile cursive less serene, while the city
wells above that trace of sociability—
its steeples snuffed, or nearly, in the mist:
this could have been Christminster,
or these the moral rocks Tess read
on her journey home in terrible,
delicate boots: the shores mirror us
always, but the city transpires.

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