chi-soul workshops with Chicago Poet Laureate avery r. young

Celebrate poetry year-round with new opportunities provided by Chicago Poet Laureate avery r. young, Chicago Public Library, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Poetry Foundation. The Chicago Poet Laureate has developed two original programs for Chicagoans to celebrate the soul of Chicago.

chi-soul workshops

chi-soul workshops will be led by avery r. young at the Austin Branch starting May 5 through November.

The workshops are designed for any writer, from beginners to experienced, to build poems and poetry manuscripts centered on the times and tales of Chicago. Workshops will take place the first Sunday of each month, May through November, and include time to edit, workshop and present poetic works in a personal setting. Registration will open on a rolling basis; view all chi-soul workshop events.

Chicago Soul Poems

Starting May 15, avery r. young will begin accepting submissions of Chicagoans’ own Chicago Soul Poems, honoring the people, places, moments and memories that make this city special. With the Chicago Soul Poems project, the Poet Laureate has developed a new poetic form, the soloem (pronounced so-lo-em), to guide Chicagoans in writing their own poems. Instructions on how to write a soloem and submit a recording are available at

On a regular basis, the Poet Laureate will review the submissions and curate a selection to be distributed through public channels. Poems will be shared during the duration of the Poet Laureate’s tenure, which extends through December 2025.

“Chicagoans have read and written poetry in our libraries since they first opened their doors, from Gwendolyn Brooks' legendary meetings at Hall branch during the Black Chicago Renaissance, to the writing groups and poetry programming we present for all ages today,” shared Chris Brown, CPL Commissioner. “We're thrilled that all Chicagoans will have the chance to become our City's next great poet by participating in avery's workshops and writing soloems.”

About avery r. young

avery r. young was named Chicago Poet Laureate in April 2023. In his first year in the role, he performed as part of the Inauguration of Mayor Brandon Johnson and presented at City events including Poetry Fest and the Juneteenth Flag Raising. Most recently, he led a workshop for teens at the 25th Annual Poetry Fest alongside poet E’mon Lauren and Young Chicago Authors.

"For years I have known this is a city of poets. I have taught, mentored and fellowshipped with many of them," says young. "I M excited to add more Chicagoans into the fold. A poem is a really short story that takes the most valuable things about our personship into consideration. Our native tongues, our skin tones, our neighborhoods, our losses and gains."

"Chicago is a poet anthology and/or somic compilations of hopes, trials and redemptions. I am exited for this opportunity to introduce a new poetic form, and encourage Chicagoans to submit poetry that will potentially be frautured in local median outlet to broaden the narrative of this city."

"A Chicago that writes together is a Chicago that thrives together."

"No one poem is the solution or end all be all to eradicating all that is ailing this city right now, but what that poem can be is a bridge to a greater understanding of someone else's daily commute. The poem can be Balm. The poem is a voice heard."

"I really am looking forward to helping voices be heard !"

Recordings of a few of the Poet Laureate’s readings and appearances can be viewed at