CHICAGO | September 29, 2015 A couple of nights ago I attended the release show for Nate Marshall's debut full collection of poems, Wild Hundreds. Held at The Currency Exchange Cafe in Washington Park, it was one of the clearest demonstrations yet that Chicago millennials are and will continue to be the lifeblood of this renaissance moment in creative work.
Family, friends and fans filled the stylish space Theater Gates opened in June of last year. Attendees came from as far away as Memphis to see the native son's inauguration, the poems for which his collection won the 2014 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize.
Britteney Kapri hosted gleefully the whole night, the one exception to this glee being to urge some very excited audience members in the back to quiet down. After some spinning by DJ Itch 13, Noname Gypsy and Safia Elhillo each did a set, both splendid and fitting for their respective excellence.
Nate took the stage and gave a very strong reading. The poems in performance landed well, and the energy stayed high throughout the reading. One surprising highlight: a few poems in, after mentioning that his inspirations were his mother and Lucille Clifton, he called his mother up to read Clifton's famous "won't you celebrate with me." She did, and she took us all in with her.
Overall, it was a great night. Enjoy the photos.