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Best Local Poets In Chicago

When considering the artistic merit of great poetic expression, these wonderfully talented Chicago-area writers and Illinois poet laureates represent an eclectic and versatile selection of some of the best poetry in the windy city.

Amy Newman
Amy Newman (Credit:

Amy Newman

A distinguished professor in the English Department at Northern Illinois University and author of four published collections of poetic works, Newman's superb style of writing is at once deep and personal, and yet abstractly detached. A winner of numerous awards and fellowships including the Beatrice Hawley Award and a Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council, her poetry has been recognized in magazines, anthologies and journals in the United States and internationally. Amy's impressive body of work includes a collection of poems entitled "Fall," a unique narrative exploration of the 72 definitions of the word.

Rebecca Wee

A sensitive writer whose poetry captivates the imagination, Ms. Wee's work occurs as a subjective reflection of an inner world revealed in bits and pieces, like a perfect imperfection of words. An associate professor in the English Department at Augustana College, Professor Wee's work resonates in the creative realm, allowing a reader to experience the poetic moment through the author's sensory perception. Rebecca's first collection of poetry entitled "Uncertain Grace" won the Hayden Carruth Award for New and Emerging Poets, and was chosen by U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins to receive the Witter Bynner Fellowship in Poetry.

Janice N. Harrington
Janice N. Harrington "The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home" (Credit:

Janice N. Harrington

A compelling poet and accomplished writer, Harrington's collective works of "Even the Hollow my Body Made is Gone" and "The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home" are vividly haunting portrayals of distant memories lost, but not forgotten. A recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for Poetry and winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, Ms. Harrington's poetry is widely read in various journals including the Harvard Review. She is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Illinois and a bestselling author of children's books, appearing in Time Magazine's top 10 list in 2007.

Edward Hirsch

A Chicago native, Edward Hirsch has published eight books of poetry and four inspirational works about the craft. His most recent volume entitled "The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (1972-2010)" is a culmination of some of his best poetic work spanning more than three decades. A gifted writer and scholar who showed an early interest in poetry, Edward is a recipient of the Pablo Neruda Presidential Medal of Honor and the MacArthur Fellowship genius grant, a highly coveted award given to select writers whose work shows great promise. He is the fourth President of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Susan Hahn
Susan Hahn (Credit:

Susan Hahn

An award-winning Chicago poet, novelist and playwright, Susan Hahn was selected as the 2013-14 Ernest Hemingway Foundation artist-in-residence at the historic writer's home in Oak Park. A fellowship recipient of the Illinois Arts Council and the Guggenheim Foundation, Ms. Hahn's poetic works include "Holiday," a volume that received accolades from the Chicago Tribune as best book in 2002, and "The Scarlet Ibis," a book of poems that was also performed for the stage. Ms. Hahn has earned BA and MA degrees from Northwestern University, and was editor of the University's TriQuarterly journal for a number of years.

Related: Chicago Poets

Magdalene Paniotte is from Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and has studied creative writing at the graduate level. Maggie enjoys composing articles and developing her voice as a freelance writer. Her work can also be found at

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