Donald G. Evans, founder of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame

Introduces poets Kathleen Rooney, Naoko Fujimoto, and Elise Paschen

National Poetry Month At The Cliff Dwellers

          Eve Moran

Don Evans 1_1.1.1-2

          Donald G. Evans                  Chicago Literary Hall of Fame

Three Chicago poets recently gave special readings of their works At The Cliff Dwellers.  It was all part of the Club’s celebration of National Poetry Month.  As former Cliff Dweller President Eve Moran noted in her welcoming remarks,  for more than a century The Cliff Dwellers has promoted and celebrated the arts in Chicago. She recalled that over the decades among the poets who were members of The Cliff Dwellers were Club founder, Hamlin Garland, James Whitcomb Riley, and briefly T.S. Elliot.  She went on to say that at the invitation of Harriet Monroe, editor and founder of Poetry Magazine, Vachel Lindsay gave what Eve described as a “novel poetry performance.”  Eve rounded out her list with Ezra Pound, and William Butler Yeats.

Referring to the recent publication by the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, Wherever I’m At: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry, Eve said that reading their poems this evening were Elise Paschen and Kathleen Rooney, both of whom have strong connections to The Cliff Dwellers.  Another Wherever I’m At contributor, Naoko Fujimoto, joined them in reading their Chicago-themed poems.

Eve also noted that the exhibit of Wherever I’m At visual artists now on view at the Club includes works by Mary Livoni and Chuck Walker.  Both Mary and Chuck later participated in the lively panel session that followed the readings by the poets.

In introducing the founder of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, Don Evans, to kick off the program and introduce the poets, Eve promised the evening would be be a rich feast for both the eyes and the ears.

Remarks of Eve Moran At The Cliff Dwellers

Celebrating National Poetry Month

The Cliff Dwellers love art.

And our art curator, Connie Hinkle, always brings us exciting works.

Today, we celebrate the photography of Mary Livoni.

And the amazing paintings of Chuck Walker.

The Cliff Dwellers love poetry.

It’s in our Club’s DNA.

Club founder Hamlin Garland penned poetry.

In the early years,  poet members included Bert Leston Taylor, James Whitcomb Riley and, for a time, T.S. Elliot.

The Cliff Dwellers hosted events for the towering figures of Ezra Pound and William Butler Yeats.  Harriet Monroe, editor of Poetry magazine, came to the Club and brought in Vachel Lindsay, for  what I might term, a novel poetry performance. And, let’s not forget the Club’s warm embrace of poet Carl Sandburg at its gatherings.

To this very day, poets still find a home at The Cliff Dwellers.

In more recent times, we’ve celebrated the works of our esteemed Honorary Members Stuart Dybek, Angela Jackson and Elise Paschen. Our cultural programs have featured the rich poetry of Sandra Cisneros and Wieslawa Szymborska. We’ve been thrilled by our past Artist-in-Residence  Kathleen Rooney and her “Poems While You Wait” group. So it is with Don Evans. Once an artist-in-residence at the Club, Don has remained an important part of our Club life.

I’m terribly fond of Don. He is warm, funny and a bit cuddly. He is also wildly creative. He is a writer interested in other writers. Don is passionate about words and a dreamer.  He has style, class, a bohemian sensibility and a down-home sincerity.  He is an author, editor and an educator of importance to the literary life of Chicago. Following Don around and listening to his creative sparks will make you dizzy.

Let’s make this a bit more formal.

Donald G. Evans is the Founding Executive Editor of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, an organization that honors and preserves our City’s great literary heritage.

He is the author of the novel Good Money After Bad, and the editor of a Chicago Cubs anthology Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year. His short story collection, An Off-White Christmas, was published in 2018. And in 2022, he and Robin Metz served as editors of an anthology of Chicago poetry. It is titled “Wherever I’m At.” This important work should have a place on everyone’s bookshelf.

Some artists paint with words

Some artists  paint with brushes.

Tonight we celebrate both of these artists.

So, please help me welcome the amazing Don Evans to launch tonight’s program!