Candice Marie to Perform at Our 1st Birthday Party!

We are so hyped about turning the big 1! To help us celebrate, soul singer Candice Marie will be joining us for the evening, giving us the gift of her voice. Come out on Oct. 27th at 7:30PM at Red Kiva for our birthday bash! Here is a a little bit about Ms. Candice Marie:

Candice Marie, the highly sought after soul singer, is on her way to the very top. Born and raised in Chicago, Candice has been climbing the ranks with honors. She has already won two major city wide vocal competitions, as well as opened for and worked with well known artists: Including Grammy Award Winners Anthony Hamilton and R. Kelly, Angie Stone, Chico Debarge, Eric Benet, SWV, Sugar Hill Gang, Whodini, Glenn Jones, K-Jon, and Josh Groban. Candice Marie is a pint sized diva with a huge voice often described as a vocal powerhouse! Her hit single “I Wanna Go” made its national debut this year on V103. She has been featured in many local papers/magazines and has performed at every relevant venue in Chicago.

Here she is opening for Chrisette Michele at Chicago’s House of Blues.

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October Feature: Kevin Coval

Revolving Door is turning 1 this month! Help us celebrate Art! Words! Music! Drink Specials! FathomDJ!
Wednesday, October 27 @ Red Kiva, 7:30PM!

One of our awesome features is Kevin Coval the author of everyday people (EM Press, Nov.’08) and slingshots (a hip-hop poetica) (EM Press, Nov. ’05), named Book of the Year-finalist by The American Library Association. Coval’s poems have appeared in The Spoken Word Revolution and The Spoken Word Revolution: Redux (Source Books), Total Chaos (Basic Civitas), I Speak of the City: New York City Poems (Columbia University Press), The Bandana Republic (Soft Skull Press), Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reporter, Cross Currents, Crab Orchard Review, Rattle, 2nd Ave Poetry, The Drunken Boat, and many other periodicals and journals. Coval writes for The Huffington Post and can be heard regularly on National Public Radio in Chicago.

Co-founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Teen Poetry Festival, the largest youth poetry festival in the world, Coval is poet-in-residence at The Jane Addams’ Hull House Museum at The University of Illinois-Chicago and poet-in-residence at The University of Chicago’s Newberger Hillel Center, and teaches at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

Check out his performance on Def Poetry Jam!

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The Poetics of Roger Bonair-Agard at Revolving Door

Good Friday, Good People. So this has been a long time coming and our apologies for making you wait so very long. Here are a few excerpts from our night with Mr. Roger Bonair-Agard. This was, indeed, a very good night. Bellowing his poetry from in FRONT of the microphone in the shallow depths of the drum pit of Red Kiva, it was a series of moments made for the the poetry history books. We could say more, but we’ll just the let audio speak for itself. Good Day, Darlings.

“The All Black Penguin Speaks”

“The Tragic Comedy of the Black Boy Blues”

“Breaking Rules Or Your Girl Ain’t Here Or What I Should’ve Said to the Wrong Number Caller Who Asked ‘Is Michelle There?’”


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Carrie St. George Comer’s The Unrequited

It is often suggested that the late poet James Wright was a master of “lyric surreal.” And with The Unrequited  Carrie St. George Comer invokes this line of American poetry. She does so with certain invention, humor, and wild flirtation. I return to this book often. I take away new special gifts each time, because Comer’s poems expand the meaning of human. Her work says the human experience is imagined both in life and death. With a range of rhythms Comer is able to broaden the framework of life and death. She aptly creates landscapes as she soon embodies these same landscapes.

Each poem pulses, defies, and taunts. They ask me to come play, to solve the riddle. And in the end I’m better for having done so. I’ve read this book while on the train, traveling, and porching. These reads leave my chest beating with a bit of blood loss in the shape of a hitting heart.

The poems that have become my mantra are bit more reckless and architecturally based. Some of these poems include ”Crowscrowscrows,”  “Shelburne Falls,” “Get Outta Town,” and ”Don’t Let Me Forget You,”  with lines like:

Memory: the enemy. Its nude an worthless body

enters the evening as if on wings, smiling, and waving a white feather, 

 first quiet, then tanked,

but still a rating of G: for mild peril, for some scary images, 

 for emotional brutality.

As Comer kicks me in the jaw, she artfully inserts whimsy once the line has been crossed. It’s as if she says, “Wait. Wait. Don’t go.” And I stay. I trust. Afterall, I want to know the secret. This balance is the perfect flirtation. I want to date her characters, want them to take me to dinner. Because there has to be something to my incessant blushing.

The Unrequited is Comer’s first book, and I find her bold and honest. She is a poet that makes the myth she becomes. Her poems challenge me to turn the sharp edge. They force me write what I don’t know, to look fear in the eye and say, “Hi.”  And it’s this act of looking in the eye that keeps me waiting on the porch for Comer’s sophmore collection.

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Lit Pick of the Week: “Nights on the Ward” by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Nights on the Ward

St. Vincent’s Hospital, February

I stare at the picture of a dog I drew.

Sometimes, I know it’s the food inside

of this place: phantom carrots, soft as broken

husks, chicken, lean as tendons. The fake

ice-cream, tasty treats before the evening

pill pinata breaks madness wide.

Each night someone cries out.

Each night a dream is too much to bear

and too real to wake its dreamer.

I stay up, refusing sleep.

Inside the atria of Saint Vincent’s, I listen

to the breath and the gas, mixing

and sedating. Listen to me. I wait for perfect

silence. It never arrives.

Beyond the window, snow falls

on the fur of a dog trotting ahead

of its master. Most nights, I raise my hand

and wave, wave like my hands are burning.

Those hours, I watch the strange reflction

in the window. Watch: my pounding hands

do not rouse the dog’s attention. The master’s

shoulders ignore this cold.

Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet, painter, and photographer. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships including Cave Canem, The Vermont Studio Center, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and others. Her poetry and/or visual work have appeared in Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, RATTLE, Indiana Review, Brilliant Corners, among others.

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Lit Pick of the Week: “After Getting Lost in a Billie Holiday Portrait for Twenty Minutes” by Derrick Harriell

After Getting Lost in a Billie Holiday Portrait for Twenty Minutes

This is how we make love to old photos,

our eyes undressing decades of separation.

Momentarily, I believe I could’ve saved you

from a bipolar Harlem,

and we could’ve figured it all out

before the pirouetting high of night

danced us down.

But I am probably not your type,

neither was Van Vechten’s camera lens

that left tears on the blouses you wore.

Derrick Harriell was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Chicago State University. He has worked as assistant poetry editor for Third World Press and is currently poetry editor for The Cream City Review. His work has appeared in The Cream City Review, Reverie, the Lamplighter Review, and is forthcoming in Main Street Rag. Cotton is his first collection of poems.

*For consideration for “Lit Pick of the Week” we welcome poetry, prose, excerpts of fiction and creative non-fiction. Email your submissions to or

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Next Reading Series Installment: September 22

Revolving Door Reading Series continues this month!

More Art, Words, and Music!

We would like to welcome FathomDJ to the Revolving Door Family! Besides just being a fabulous, funky presence herself, she will be spinning only the coolest of sounds.


Our space is your space!

Bring a poem, song, or story for our open mic. Don’t miss the chance to grace our stage!

Words: 8:15 PM

Erika Mikkalo lives and writes in Chicago. She received the Tobias Wolff Award for short fiction and her M.F.A. from Columbia College.  Her work has appeared in The 2nd Hand, Massachusetts Review, Exquisite Corpse, Columbia Review, fence,  Another Chicago Magazine, Chicago Review, and other publications.



Nikki Patin has taught hundreds of workshops at high schools, colleges and universities on performance poetry, body image, sexual assault prevention and LGBT issues. She was a member of Chicago’s 2001 Mental Graffiti National Poetry Slam team and was featured on the fourth season of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. In 2004, she was voted one of Chicago’s six most fabulous 20-somethings by Chicago Tribune’s Red Eye newspaper. In 2006, she took the gold medal in the Gay Games International LGBT poetry slam. Nikki Patin resides in Chicago and is lead singer of rock band, Like A Hundred.


Kenyatta Rogers’s interest in writing began with scary stories and TV shows such as the Twilight Zone and R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. While writing short stories as a child he began to focus more on poetry in high school. His work has been featured in the Word 4: Type + Image Exhibit and published in Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, 350poems.blogspot, les figues press, and The Arsenic Lobster. He was nominated for a 2009 Illinois Arts Council Literary Award for his poem “Safety,” which appeared in the Columbia Poetry Review and is a current Cave Canem Fellow and member of The Chicago Poetry Brothel.


We hope to see you there!

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Lit Pick of the Week: “Cry” by Karen S. Williams


Inspired by news reports of otter rescue measures
after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.

The fisherman said they had sat down on what they presumed was rock to cry, and it turned out to be like an oiled sea otter or something that was dying. There were just bodies everywhere.   — Ricki Ott

In hours after the oil spill,
wee dark ones give
a laboratory light.
Tiny sea otters
smeared with oil,
are shown kindnesses;
nuzzled like babies
to mother’s breast,
given a rhythmic,
warm massage,
slow, gentle baths
in azure soap streaks.
Elixer of life,
the dish liquid Dawn.

Cathode ray oracles
say its ebb and flow,
its tiny bubbles
really cuts grease.
But is this true?
Can dish soap relieve pain
that comes from without?
Grief that smarts and sows
a slippery black ache?
Stain of writhing body floes?
It’s limpid trail of otters,
oil-caked skins
to sink or slicken
a barren coast?

When the Valdez ran aground,
black gold soaked sea and shore
for a thousand square miles.
Crabs on swift claws
were scuttled and hurt;
whales, humpbacked and whiskered,
speckled, splashed with barnacles,
discharged grief’s wailing siren,
became a duende of the deep,
swam and surface, torn of joy.

Twenty years later,
hard-bitten fishermen
of such oiled s eas
still don’t cry.
Or maybe they do.
Maybe they prefer to hide their tears.
Maybe while sea swells drft
their crusty skip-jacks,
they bend so close to
choppy water their
tears roll and mingle
leeward toward
salt’s gentle spray,
chilled sea foam that paints
their grizzledness.

After drifting in comfort,
rounds of baths,
the little otters
are rinsed
and rinsed clean,
baptized in tepid tidal pools,
dried with fluffy towels
never soft as sand or
rich with cozy stink
of mother’s fur.
She flopped and paled
on greasy shore.
Didn’t survive the trip.
Has no idea a poet wonders
if her squirming little ones
know how to cry,
how to sob
or shed tears
of sorrow
or grief;
how to feel sullied
by pain’s oil like people do.
The poet isn’t sure.
Maybe they do.

Maybe when they hear
another otter’s piercing screech,
that of a wriggling pup
torn from its mother;
maybe when tit winces
and curls fetally under a heat lamp,
globules of crude seeping
out his mouth and end;
maybe when scientists
gently slice his sister open
and remove a freckled liver
that nearly crumbles
to aching dust;
maybe, within him,
or within us,
a deep cry will be touched;
one Dickens says
“open lungs and washes
one that exercises eyes”;
one that whittles down
and “softens tempers”;
maybe then we will know
the power of tears,
how men and women,
despite everything in them,
all obvious, and subtle
that fights tears back,
will know, on this earth,
they are called to weep.
To week compassion
is required here.
Without weeping,
we cannot live.

Karen S. Williams, a 2009 Pushcart Nominee and 2009 Debut Poet for Poets & Writers Magazine, is the author of two poetry collections: Marine Life: A World In Poems and Elegy for a Scarred Shoulder, a 2009 State of Michigan Notable Books nominee. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and her poetry, fiction, and essays have been published widely.

*To submit poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, or experimental work for “Lit Pick of the Week” please send your work to or

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Lit Pick of the Week: “From the Ceiling Poems” by Myron Michael

From the Ceiling Poems


I put a candle by Princess Di’s golden sphere.

I thought of my ceiling, but couldn’t see where it was.

There are no clouds where love interprets a thimble on a thatch

one could call drumming, joints knuckling around in bed

to make something understood; one tongue and another

flogging each other to clear the palate of past lovers

To my ceiling I sing, now is always. Doesn’t time slow down

when we reach each other? Doesn’t it love us so much

it runs to bring us close before we rationalize how?

Yesterday, I told ever rational person I know that my ceiling

knows everything I do and is coming down on me. They said,

your Achilles has been wounded, it has poisoned your mind.


The woman who painted my ceiling was not in a rush.

She poured paint like Pollock. In her big body splashes

everywhere has an image. I see jellyfish eager to grow human legs,

I see beach after beach and seaweed; I see tarnished silverware,

a plate beneath a vegetarian baguette, cheese puffs beside a stack

of combed carrots; manicured fingers clinching one puff.

There are lips parted, legs that look like mine, lips and more legs.

She knew everything there is to know of Picasso. All of which

I see, all of which is too much to name, I see. And, I wager,

she finished in seven days. Oh my, what a catch my ceiling.

I bet the painter coated one side with action paint but felt

it needed another coat on the other side and splashed with the wind

of the world in mind from one side to the other. I see a pregnant

olive branch, I see a stone; I see wisteria with strips of purple

gum hanging like grapes from its branches. I see a bulb of kush

and sing take me down to your river. I sing, I wanna get free

and off these crutches. See, I’m rational, I sing to my ceiling.

I sing like a bird, tapping on stilts as if a troubadour

behind bars. My ceiling is practical. I’m closed-off to admit

when that woman finished her work on my ceiling, I bet she lied

naked on her back to examine my ceiling and said it is good.

Proprietor of Rondeau Records, Myron Michael is a recording artist, writing instructor, and Cave Canem Fellow. His words appear online and in Days I Moved through Ordinary Sounds (City Lights, 2009), Reverie, Pluck, Tea Party, and Nanomajority, respecitively. He is the founder of Move Or Die, author of Scatter Plot (forthcoming chapbook, Willow Books, 2010), and co-author of Hang Man (Move Or Die, 2010). He lives in the Bay Area where he cureates HELIOTROPE, a monthly reading series.

*To submit poetry, prose, and excerpts of fiction and creative non-fiction for “Lit Pick of the Week” please email your work to or

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A Kent Foreman Celebration

Tonight, The Guild will host a celebration of Kent Foreman, veteran actor, performance poet, lyricist, screenwriter, and winner of the Chicago Historical Society’s esteemed Carl Sandburg Award. From be-bop to slam, he has performed with noted poets such as Amiri Baraka, Maya Angelou, Allen Ginsberg, and Regie Gibson, and influence and mentored many more.

Tonight’s program will feature a performance by Kent, as well as, Regie Gibson, Marty McConnell, and Roger Bonair-Agarde.

The performance will be held at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct, Chicago. 5-7PM. Admission is free and open to the public.

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