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“As a poet once observed, “Poetry is the music of facts.” Kevin Coval’s poetry rings with that music. From the grit and turmoil of everyday life, Coval constructs a new beauty that inspires and transforms.” BERNIE SAHLINS, FOUNDER of The Second City & Author of Days and Nights at The Second City: A Memoir




why jews celebrate x-mas

Published on Dec 25, 2012 - In: poems

why jews celebrate x-mas
i. it’s the only time of the year all my mom’s people could get off work.
ii. it’s a production.
a. my grandma’s spread took days to lay out:
swedish meat balls in a hot and sweet brown sauce.
brisket in au jus (of course). mustard dip. farfalle
primavera. caramels, cookies and plenty of vodka.
iii. the main event was held just off the dining room
iv. the adults gathered for highballs and martinis (even though my
grandfather, a liquor salesman, never drank.)
v. this was the night he worked all year for.
vi. a room of family and a wall of presents, that cost money he made.
vii. proof he provided for his children and grandchildren.
viii. things you could touch and say my papa gave me this, this thing.
ix. this is the night, he felt most american
x. most fully


from the forth coming collection, Schtick, Spring 2013, Haymarket Books

pre-order here:


from the Preface:

Every institution in Chicago fails Black youth. Our city, as the young poet Malcolm London writes, is “a tale of two hoodies”: a segregated and systematically inequitable city, “a Jekyll-and-Hyde sort of burg” Nelson Algren would say. A town where white kids exist in an increasingly idyllic new urban utopia and Black and Latino kids—whose parents are working and not, due to the lack of jobs and job opportunities on the West, South and East sides, and the increasing abduction of men of color for prison industrial slave labor—weave and dodge through a war zone. Chicago is in America and this is not a new story. It’s a story as old as the country itself, stuck on repeat, blaring out a loud speaker.

Come to the chapbook release party FRIDAY Oct. 19 7pm @ Young Chicago Authors 1180 N. Milwaukee

Purchase a copy &/or Classroom set of the book from Haymarket Books here.