Haiku Festival’s 2020 Guest Poet

Tara Betts, Poet

Haiku Festival Chicago welcomes —Tara Betts as our Guest Poet Saturday, 25 April 2020 at 10:00 am. This year marks Haiku Festival’s 16th Anniversary. “Celebrating children through poetry, while promoting literacy” is at the core of Haiku Festival’s mission.

Tara Betts is the author of two poetry collections: Break the Habit (Trio House Press) and Arc & Hue (Aquarius Press). Essence Magazine named her in their 40 Favorite Poets. A native of Kankakee, IL, Betts earned a BA (Communications: Loyola University), MFA (Creative Writing: New England College), and Ph.D. (Creative Writing: Binghamton University). She has taught at UIC, Rutgers, Chicago State, Gallery 37, and Young Chicago Authors. Betts currently teaches at Stonecoast MFA program at University of Southern Maine.

A Cave Canem alumna, Betts was awarded residencies at Ragdale Foundation, Centrum and Caldera, and won IL Arts Council fellowships. She published five chapbooks (Can I Hang?, Switch, Break the Habit, Circling Unexpectedly, 7 x 7: kwansabas); co-edited The Beiging of America: Personal Narratives About Being Mixed Race in the 21st Century; and pianist Philippa Duke Schuyler’s memoir, Adventures in Black and White.

Poetry by Betts appeared in Essence Magazine, Steppenwolf Theater’s Words on Fire, Obsidian III, Callaloo, PMS, Meridians, Drum Voices Revue, WSQ, Columbia Poetry Review, Ninth Letter, Hanging Loose, Drunken Boat, Mythium, Reverie, and WombPoetry.

Betts was anthologized in Gathering Ground (U. MI), Bum Rush the Page (Three Rivers), Power Lines (Tia Chucha), Poetry Slam (Manic D), Black Writing from Chicago (SIU), ROLE CALL (Third World), These Hands I Know (Sarabande), Hurricane Blues (SE MO U.), Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism (Parker Publ.), Fingernails Across a Chalkboard (Third World), Letters to the World (Red Hen); Near Kin: Words & Art Inspired by Octavia Butler (Sybaritic), Octavia’s Brood: Sci-Fi Stories from Social Justice Movements (AK Press), and Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology (U. GA).

Betts was featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and Black Family Channel series’ SPOKEN. Winner of Guild Complex’s Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award, she represented Chicago in the National Poetry Slam (1999; 2000). Her freelance writing appeared in XXL, The Source, BIBR, Mosaic Magazine and Black Radio Exclusive. Betts is the Lit Editor at Newcity and Poetry Editor at Another Chicago Magazine.

Haiku Festival’s 16th Annual Awards Program is part of an ongoing effort to realize the organization’s mission of “celebrating children through poetry readings, workshops, awards and events, while promoting literacy among people of all ages.”

Haiku Festival’s Annual Awards Program is co-sponsored by Harold Washington Library, City of Chicago Poetry Committee, CAN-TV, founders: Greg & Regina Baiocchi and private donors. This event is FREE and open to the public.