Poetry & Music from the Guild Complex | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Music » Critic's Choice

Poetry & Music from the Guild Complex




This funky Bucktown event being presented at the tony North Shore venue is the equivalent of a hot item from the Knitting Factory being presented at Lincoln Center. Performance poetry, of course, has been championed for years by the Guild Complex; now, because that group's offices are housed in Arts Bridge, an incubator for cultural groups that has ties with Ravinia, the city's prominent literary arts center has been asked to present a sampler. Most of the ethnically and stylistically diverse poets and musicians gathered by Michael Warr for this program are Guild Complex veterans; some are featured on the CD A Snake in the Heart. Rohan Preston will recite "Letter From a Foreign Mosquito Song" and "Foreign Language" to the musical accompaniment of Mitar Mitch Covic (bass) and Glenda Baker (percussion) and with help from his wife, Angela Shannon. Shannon herself will read selections from "Root Woman," her anthology-in-progress, backed by Bethany Pickens on piano and Covic on bass. Quraysh Ali will read selected works by Sufi-mystic poet Jalaluddin Rumi to the drumming of Hamid Drake. A couple of local poets less familiar to this fusion format are also showcased. It should be interesting to see how Li Young Lee adjusts the cadence of his passionately romantic poetry to percussive accents from Michael Raynor, or how Luis Rodriguez collaborates with guitarist Paulinho Garcia in his odes to urban folk wisdom. What intrigues me the most, however, is Betty's Mouth, whose two members, Cindy Salach and Sheila Donohue, write separate poems to be recited in tandem, allowing the rhythmic contours to be determined by the interaction. Their presentation creates an aura of emotional solidarity around their tenaciously honest poems about quotidian encounters. Thursday, August 29, 7:30 PM, Bennett Hall, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park; 728-4642.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Bethany Pickens, by Alberto Ferrari; photo of Hamid Drake, by Marc PoKempner.

Get our free weekly Early Warnings newsletter 💌

It’s Chicago’s essential months-ahead music calendar straight to your inbox.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →