Saturday, June 23, 2007

My Kind of Town....

....Chicago is!!

Well, at least I hope it is. It was last time. I will be there along with my trusty companion and partner Tara Betts, from July 18-20, and again from July 24-30. I'm told the food is to die for. Wasn't bad in '03, but we'll find out for sure now. Basically, I'm in town for Tara's mom's wedding, and to meet La Familia Betts for the first time. Should be interesting! Very much looking forward to it.

If anyone could use a poet or two for their program, school, wedding or bar mitzvah, OR if you know anyone who does, please give a brother a holler, as Chi-town is rapidly becoming expensive to chill in. All right, not so much the weddings and bar mitzvahs. But you get the drift.

Plus, hey, if anyone's around just to hang, I'm down. Give me a shout.

Here's the tale of the tape, for those who may be interested:

About Rich Villar:
Rich Villar is a poet originally from Paterson, NJ. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appears in the journals Rattapallax, Parse, and Achiote Seeds. His work was commissioned for the stage production "Eve Descending," produced in 2005 by Actors Stock NYC. He is an MFA candidate in the Rutgers-Newark
Creative Writing program and the host/curator of Acentos, a twice-monthly reading series for Latino/a poets, based in the South Bronx. Rich also represented New York as part of Team NYC-LouderARTS at the 2004 National Poetry Slam. His online exploits include writing about literature and Latino/a culture at .

About Tara Betts (slightly edited):
Tara Betts is a poet, activist, educator, and performer originally from Kankakee, Illinois. A graduate of Loyola University, she received her MFA in Poetry from New England College in 2007. She authored two chapbooks, Can I Hang? and Switch, and her work is collected in several influential anthologies, including Bum Rush The Page, The Spoken Word Revolution, and Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem's First Decade. Her work appears in the journals Callaloo , Women Studies Quarterly, Drum Voices Revue, and Essence, and she recently completed her first full-length collection of poems, tentatively titled Infinite Arithmetic. Her work was commissioned for the Steppenwolf Theatre Company production Words on Fire, and she appeared on stage at Chicago's DuSable Museum in the Southwest VDay production of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. In addition, she represented Chicago twice at the National Poetry Slam, and appeared on the fourth season of HBO's Def Poetry.

During 13 years as a teaching artist in Chicago, Betts co-founded several initiatives for young women writers, including GirlSpeak (a program of Young Chicago Authors) and the open mic and performance space Women OutLoud. She has worked with young people in various settings, including Gallery 37, Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, and City Girls, a rehabilitation center for teen girls. Upon relocating to New York City in 2005, she continued her work with youth and women writers, facilitating workshops for the Sadie Nash Project, Urban Word NYC, and the Bronx Council on the Arts, among others. Betts serves as an adjunct lecturer in creative writing at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, contributes regularly to Mosaic magazine, and continues to write, publish, perform, and lecture throughout the country.


Francisco Aragón said...

I'll be in touch you shortly about having you and Tara be special guests at our pre-reading dinner of PALABRA PURA on July 18. FA

Lisa Alvarado said...

Both Tara and Rich will be wonderful additions to the pre-reading dinner....Cocina Mundial, pehaps? : )

Lisa, poet, foodie, and touter of the undiscovered gems in both areas