Poet Stavroula Harissis of Albany Park spent three weeks at Occupy Wall Street, but hadn’t written much about the experience before. Harissis says the experience was “so overwhelming, it’s been hard to process.” But she says the Verse Journalism workshop presented “a perfect opportunity to start putting my experience into words.”
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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.