The first monthly PO BOX POETRY READING SERIES will feature brilliant poets Viola Lee and George Abraham.
Viola Lee will be reading from her manuscript in progress—as poet Phil Levine has said of her poetry, “Most of her poems could be called domestic: they concern the family, the self in relation to family, to her twin professions as a writer and a teacher, to the community at large; on another level they are concerned with the individual in relation to time, fate, nature, society. On the surface they appear smaller than they are, and in truth they are profound and searching.”
George Abraham will be reading a mix of new work, as well as work from their poetry book, Birthright (Button Poetry, 2020) which George says, “focuses on the first time [I] was ever able to return to my ancestral home of Palestine, [whereas] my new work has been lingering with the bio- and necro-politics of grieving Palestine in diaspora, and the im/possibilities of return induced by these existential states of being.” It will be an ecstatic evening of poetry and conversation. We hope you (yes, you!) will join us for it—
This series aims to give time and space to poets living in Chicago especially to those living in, or having connections to, the Rogers Park area. It is hosted and organized by Smith “S.” Yarberry—and will take place the third Wednesday of each month.
George Abraham (they/he) is a Palestinian American poet, writer, performance artist, and engineer who was born and raised on unceded Timucuan lands (Jacksonville, FL). Their debut poetry collection Birthright (Button Poetry) won the Arab American Book Award and the Big Other Book Award, and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. He is a board member for the Radius of Arab American Writers, and recipient of fellowships from The Arab American National Museum, The Boston Foundation, and Kundiman. His poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The Nation, The Paris Review, The American Poetry Review, Mizna, and elsewhere. They are currently a Litowitz MFA+MA student in poetry at Northwestern University.
Viola Lee graduated from NYU with an MFA in Poetry. Her book Lightening after the Echo was published by Another New Calligraphy. She has published poems in literary journals throughout the US, and recently published in Crazyhorse, Bellevue Literary Review, Literary Mama, Hong Kong Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, After Hours and Another Chicago Magazine. She has poems forthcoming in Barrow Street, Lotus Magazine, The Mississippi Review, New Plains Review, and North Dakota Quarterly. She lives in Chicago with her husband, son and daughter. She teaches 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders at Near North Montessori School.