Chicago blur: 1995 to 2020

I’m excited to share that my poem “Chicago blur: 1995 to 2020” was published this month in the poetry journal Spillway 29, guest edited by Patricia Smith, who recently won the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize; and Lynne Thompson, Poet Laureate of the City of Los Angeles.

As writers and artists, we are constantly being influenced by those who came before us and those who are working alongside us. In the early days of the pandemic, in April 2020, Creative Distancing, in partnership with the Philbrook Museum of Art, published a series of creative project tutorials on YouTube, offering artistic prompts from a number of creators. One of these featured a poet, author, and educator whose work I love, Quraysh Ali Lansana, talking about a form he created, the blur poem.

If you’ve never encountered the form, you can also read Quraysh Ali Lansana’s blur poems¬†“Tulsa blur: 1921 to 2012” and “basement blur: wisconsin“.

I was inspired to write my own blur poem and worked on it during those early months of the pandemic. I’m delighted for it to be included among so many wonderful poems in Spillway 29. The annual poetry journal¬†is not online but is available for purchase through Small Press Distribution.

Valya holding a copy of the poetry journal Spillway 29.