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Not too long ago I came across a writer in poetry class who has consumed my thoughts on words and twisted them into an even more profound place within the power of language. Among the poetry books I have stuck my head into, Black Aperture by Matt Rasmussen has forced me into moments I have not experienced into something that seems more real to me than the room I’m in. His collection of poems recounting one tragic event from multiple angles merely asks us to immerse into a place of loss and uncertainty, while bravely approaching an incomprehendible death with ruptured poems of polished words. The subject of the suicide of a brother opens up like a wound and paints each poem into small and magnificent liberations of responding to grief. His language is lyrically spilled into the most tangible dream-like images where the reader unexpectingly experiences empathy.

A simply honest collection of writing, Black Aperture blurs time and grips it in a single line. Matt Rasmussen’s inventive language captures the complex entanglements of personal tragedy into moments of damage, humor, and healing. I would recommend this book to any writer or anyone interested, as it speaks with a spare yet striking recount of memories given a public face. It is both sensational and surprisingly light and has transformed language into something deeply truthful and human.


If you are interested in finding out more about his work, I’ve linked his website below.

This post is by new Chicago Slam Works Blogger, Dylan Weir. A short tangent, if you’ll allow. After watching 12 Years A Slave (stay with me) I read somewhere that the film started with a question from director Steve McQueen: ‘why aren’t there any American films about slavery from the perspective of slaves, why don’t… Continue Reading

In every home there is a box of “…yeah,” that place where you stash those things you want to keep but don’t really have a place for. When I came to talk to Andy Karol for our interview our night ended up searching through this box until we found an old bar napkin.  Many poets… Continue Reading

CSW has been kind enough to let me share with you a project I’ve been working on. Poet at the End of the What? You’ve just seen a great performer on stage their poem has your mind spinning and you approach them to ask if they have a book/chapbook/CD/Engravings. They are flattered but say a polite… Continue Reading

Emily Calvo is writer, painter, and freelance marketing director with a vivacity that belies her recent recovery from cancer.  She just released a book called Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd, which allows her to combine her ability as a writer and a painter by integrating the text of her poetry into watercolor paintings.  The book… Continue Reading

“30/30,” also known as “NaPoWriMo” (National Poetry Writing Month) is an annual challenge to write 30 poems during the 30 days of April. Officially begun in 2003 by the poet Maureen Thorson, 30/30 has since gained momentum in the poetry world, and has an especially vibrant following among spoken word communities. This April I participated… Continue Reading

I’ve heard innumerable poets say “The Uptown Poetry Slam is like church for me.” Many of us come from deeply religious backgrounds, and we look to performance poetry for the communal intimacy, the call to action, the acknowledgment of verbal power and meaning we first experienced through organized religion. I spent my early years in… Continue Reading

In the Summer of ’85, slam poetry was born. It took the drive of an eager gentleman, Marc Kelly Smith, who envisioned poetry breaking new ground for its writers and audiences, and a welcoming jazz club owner, Dave Jemilo, to birth this movement which began on a continent that sees the sun last at the… Continue Reading

In May, 2013, I had the honour of performing at a slam poetry event called Word Up! in Johannesburg, SA. An event put together by Goethe-Institut Subsaharan Africa. I performed alongside some fine South African poets: Kabelo KB Kylobyte, Sibusiso Simelane aka Conelius Jones, Roche Du Plessis, Siza Nkosi, Dineo Rasedile, Mpho Khosi, Lebohang Mojapelo… Continue Reading

Poetry lovers with children, you now have a place where you can introduce your kids to the magic of literature, designed in a format that will excite and inspire them. Continue Reading