Annual Printer's Ball gets rolling tonight

  • By Mia Boyd
  • July 31, 2009 @ 10:59 AM

For the first time in its history, the annual Printer’s Ball, a literary festival, will feature publishers from outside of Chicago to introduce the community to local, national and international literary organizations.

The event, which is tonight, celebrates poetry of all forms, such as traditional, experimental and spoken-word, and features artists and publishers, live readings, music and printing demonstrations.

“I would hope the community will be exposed to magazines they may have never heard of before,” says Fred Sasaki, Associate Editor of Poetry Magazine in Chicago. “The overriding purpose is to gather people who are involved in publishing and meet other publishers face-to-face and for those people to meet the reading public and gain a deeper connection.”

“The event will highlight the literary arts both in poetry and narrative form that’s so alive and well in our digital age.” says Columbia College spokeswoman Micki Leventhal.

Due to a resurgence in interest, the Printer’s Ball will have a slight bend to the works of poetry.

“There are so many different kinds of poetry and it’s inevitable that the audience would grow.” says Tony Trigilio, Director of the Poetry Program at Columbia College Chicago.  “The beat writers such as Alan Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac taught that poetry doesn’t have to be just in the classroom. It can be at spoken-word cafes, in the streets, wherever; poetry can belong to everybody.”

Leventhal says that hip-hop culture has played a significant role in poetry appealing to a wider audience.

“A few years ago poetry was dead and for geeky white people. Recently it has come to be a hipster pursuit and the demographic is quite young,” says Leventhal. “I believe the resurgence of poetry had to do with rap and hip-hop that’s made it cool, young and urban.”

The event has drawn more than 1,500 people annually. Along with poetry, it will feature events celebrating the printing industry.

Because it’s held at Columbia College this year,  the event will have more readings and new talent with the additional availability of space.

“I hope people would get exposed to different types of poetry they’re not used to. If someone is more traditional, I hope they would get introduced to experimental. There’s something for everyone.” says Trigilio.
The event is free and open to all ages.

Fifth Annual Printer’s Ball
July 31, 2009
Ludington Building
1104 S Wabash Avenue
5:00PM – 11:00PM