December Spotlight: The Lights That Never Went Out

2020: What a year. To close it out, the Chicago Poetry Center asked our team--Board members, Poets in Residence, Interns, Curriculum Designers, Programs Manager, and Executive Director--to write a collaborative poem. We wanted to know how our team was feeling and thinking about this year. As a group, our lines recall tragedy and challenge, kindness and perseverance; we saw, felt, and experienced turmoil and gentle reminders of our humanity.

This poem (video and full text below) showcases what a year of growth it's been at the Chicago Poetry Center; it features new board members, new team members, and builders of new programs. We’ve met the challenges of this year as a team. As a team, we found a way to reinvent our programs for remote learning, to build new programs, and to expand our services to our larger community.  

Leslie Reese writes, “I nearly forgot to remember / all of the kind people who continued to be kind / the lights that never went out.” This whole team has spent a year being a light that does not go out, ensuring poetry in schools, online, and in each of our homes.

My gratitude as Executive Director, for this phenomenal team, for their hearts and their work, is boundless. This community doesn’t stop there: our students, our classroom teachers, our audience members, and our donors all deserve recognition. I thank each of you for being a part of this community and ensuring that it thrives. Luis Tubens salutes 2020 succinctly, “Our hope is that you will leave just as you came, / Cold. Messy. Barren. / Yet full of hope and optimism.” It is with that optimism and with gratitude for each of you reading this, that I wish you a happy and healthy end to 2020, and a happy new year to come. 

Thank you,
Elizabeth Metzger Sampson
Executive Director
Chicago Poetry Center Collaborative Poem
See ya, 2020. Thank you to the many human lights that burned bright to get us through this one.
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