Poet Rachael Hudak of Uptown chose to write about a sexual assault that took place on New Year’s Eve outside of the Congress Theater. According to the Sun-Times, “An 18-year-old from north suburban Highland Park, shut out of a New Year’s Eve concert because she didn’t bring an ID, was sexually assaulted and beaten outside the Congress Theater by six young men Saturday night, according to accounts from police, security guards and a theater employee.”
The assault drew protests from Logan Square residents and Rape Victim Advocates, who rallied the community together against victim blaming. Moved by these protests, and saddened by the violence of the crime, Rachel chose to address these issues in her piece.
Click here to read this piece.
Verse Journalism is a form of poetry inspired by the news. It was born here in Chicago when Gwendolyn Brooks coined the term. Another gifted local poet, Quraysh Ali Lansana, taught the form to participants in a Neighborhood Writing Alliance special workshop series. Lansana had NWA writers turn their opinions and reactions to news events into poems, which WBEZ will present throughout the month of April in celebration of National Poetry Month. This series was recorded in collaboration with the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, a station partner.
Click here to listen to other Verse Journalism recordings made as part of this project.
You can also listen to Quraysh Ali Lansana speak with WBEZ’s Jason Marck about the origins of verse journalism and his own experiences with the form.