In 2017 little more than a month after the inauguration of Donald Trump the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 5603 Bull Valley Road in McHenry, Illinois was proud to present Poets in Resistance, a public reading featuring poets from McHenry County, Chicago and suburbs and even from southern Wisconsin. It turned out to be both timely and one of the most successful public events ever offered by the Congregation.
“It has been the historic mission of poets to be the prophets, Cassandras, and voices of the voiceless often in defiance of authority and at great personal risk,” wrote organizer Patrick Murfin in a call for poets then. “Now,” he says, “perilous times, climate disaster, war, oppression, and existential threat to democracy demand that those voices be heard again.”
|Mojdeh Stoakly of Chicago Slam Poets reading at the first Poets in Resistance program in 2017.|
Poets in Resistance II will be held at Tree of Life on Friday, March 13 from 7-10 pm. The event will be free and open to the public but those in attendance are urged to “vote” by making voluntary donations of $10 or more to any or four organizations representing grass roots resistance—Extinction Rebellion U.S., the youth-led climate activists inspired by Greta Thunberg; March for Our Lives, the student-led anti-gun violence organization first organized by survivors of the Parkland High School shooting; No More Deaths provides humanitarian aid to border crossers whose members and supporters have been prosecuted for their life-saving work; and Black Lives Matter Chicago, an intersectional movement that values Black people and the right to self-determination fighting for justice for families impacted by police violence and other oppression.
A call for poets is now going out. Last time poets were added to the program on a first-come, first-serve basis. This time in order to assure the widest possible range of voices—all ages, gender identification, races, ethnicities, and spiritualties—and of style—poetry slam, hip-hop, performance art, observational, personal reflection, traditional, rhymed, unrhymed, even academic—poets are asked to submit a representative piece of their work—not necessarily what they plan to read.
Send submissions with short one or two sentence of personal information for the program book and introductions in a Word doc format along with a head shot photo in a jpeg format to email@example.com .
Ten to twelve poets will be selected and a couple of alternates in case of late cancelations. Each set will be limited to 10 minutes and will be timed. Poets will be able to read from a podium, use a stand-up microphone, sit on a stool, or roam the stage with a wireless mic. Space will be available to offer books, chapbooks, CDs or other materials for sale.
Coffee, water, soft drinks, and light refreshments will be available for free.
Poets in Resistance II on recalls a successful Poets Against the War reading and program that Murfin organized in 2004 at the congregation’s former home, the Congregational Unitarian Church in Woodstock.
Patrick Murfin seen reading at a Tree of Life Coffee House event, will host Poets in Resistance II.
Murfin is the author of We Build Temples in the Heart. a collection published in 2004 by Skinner House Books of Boston and a homemade chapbook Resistance Poems. His poetry frequently appears in his daily blog, Heretic Rebel, a Thing to Flout, where he also curates an annual National Poetry Month feature. As an activist the 70 year old Crystal Lake resident has been an organizer of and spokesperson for many social justice campaigns. He is perhaps best known for his activity as a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and as a member of the Chicago Seed underground newspaper collective in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s and as the an organizer and annual host of the Diversity Day Festival held on Woodstock Square for a dozen years and the Lights for Liberty immigration justice rally held last summer outside of the immigrant detention facility in McHenry County Jail. He is Chair of the Tree of Live Social Justice Team.
For more information visit the Facebook Page.