Chicago poet visits for writing workshop

Poet, educator and artist Kevin Coval recently visited Glenbrook South for a poetry workshop. 

About 150 students listened to the “Louder Than A Bomb” youth poetry festival co-founder talk about his desire to learn about the world from a young age, often taking trains into the city of Chicago as a teen and now being heavily immersed in the city’s music culture. 

He read some of his poetry and walked the students through simple steps that can help them in their future writing projects – encouraging them to write about things they know well.

“Every time Kevin speaks at GBS he illustrates how important it is to find what makes you curious, to explore that curiosity nonstop, and to use that curiosity as a springboard for your own creativity,” said Scott Glass, GBS English teacher. 

Coval’s latest work, “A People’s History of Chicago,” was released this past spring. It contains 77 poems (for the city’s 77 neighborhoods), and highlights the stories of everyday people.

“Chicago is the home of incredible cultural innovation,” Coval said.

One theme that Coval stressed during his GBS visit was open-mindedness. 

“It’s important to remain open to opportunities you have,” he said. “Sometimes people see things in you that you don’t see in yourself.” 

At the end of the workshop, several students took turns reading aloud to their peers. Glass said the workshop greatly tied into the GBS English Department’s overall goal of helping students establish their own identities.

“It’s powerful for our students to see someone like Kevin who has followed his own path after high school, has found a way to do what he loves, and is also making his life all about sharing his passion with others,” Glass said.

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Chicago poet visits for writing workshop