Ah, Chicago. You cold blustery place you. This past Thursday, April 10th got me the wettest and coldest I'd been in quite some time, it also happend to be my sweet Grandfather's birthday. I took the train from Lombard into Chicago to meet with a dear friend of SPD's, Patrick Durgin, poet, professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and editor of Kenning Editions ( http://www.kenningeditions.com ). According to Mr. Durgin, Kenning goes well. Hannah Weiner's Open House, edited by Patrick, has sold well and garnered a number of reviews. I am personally a huge fan of this book, especially Weiner's work with The International Code of Signals. The most recent volume of Dolores Dorantes', Dolores Dorantes called SexoPuroSexoVelos, which was co-published with Counterpath press (another SPD press) has also sold well and has received much praise (see: http://atonalistdoc.blogspot.com ).
New projects in the works include: A history of Poet's Theater (up to 1990)edited by Kevin Killian and David Brazil. A chapbook by Kyle Schlessinger (due out in the next couple of months). A new collection by Pamela Liu (in composition stage). Dolores Dorantes is currently working on Volume 4 of her serial poem Dolores Dorantes.
Patrick described the poetry scene here in Chicago as feeling diffuse and lacking community or a figure or figures to rally around. Chicago does not have the same poetic history or tradition of poetic community that the Bay Area or New York are known for and by extention lacks identity. It would be interesting to find out which poets have lived here and attempted to build a community here in the past. By Patrick's assessment there are several poets doing interesting work here but everyone seems to work independently without a cohesive scene.
What does it take to create a poetic community? What components are necessary? Thoughts?