It was a rainy summer solstice for us here in Chicago, but we made the very best of it at Big Chicks in mid June. KPACT members, Lifeworks therapists, and a roster of queer poets gathered at Big Chicks to share art and raise some funds for the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom. We were a small but mighty crowd and we managed to raise money while enjoying each other’s company and the talent of our readers.
The first reader, Chris Rife, is a local poet who runs his own monthly poetry readings at Uncharted Books in Logan Square. He shared love poems that were both playful and quietly sad, and when asked about the importance of queer spaces in Chicago, he said, “In a big city, the queer community is still so small, and I’m really grateful for organizations like KPACT because they want to connect and support us.”
We were also lucky to hear the work of J Graber, who hadn’t shared her writing in over five years. She decided that the KPACT Kickback was the perfect time for her comeback. The poems she shared crackled with dry humor, and explored themes like transgender love, life, and friendship.
RE Katz, who works as a Principal Storyteller for the Illinois Board of Education, also shared some of their work, including poems from a chapbook they’re currently shopping around to publishers. “I sometimes feel as is there isn’t enough room in this world for poetry,” they said. “That’s kind of how it feels to be queer sometimes, too. I’m really glad that this event has made space for me.” Click here to read RE Katz’s poem “Four Imagined Early Deaths”, shared a the Kickback in June.