You don't see that happening, where arts organizations are able to literally give jobs to young people who may or may not have gone to college, or who are in college, who are hungry and want to be writers and make valuable paths for themselves.
Kevin and the artists that he grew up with made that life. And those are people who made the team—that's not necessarily all the kids that are actually affected by the work in the school. He's introduced us to so many other interesting poets, like Nate Marshall, like Quraysh Ali Lansana.
He's been working for the organization since 1999, and in 2001 he and his colleague Anna West (later YCA's executive director) founded Louder Than a Bomb, which now calls itself the largest youth performance-poetry competition in the world.
This winter about 120 teams, each of which selected on average six to eight performers, competed in the 17th LTAB, which also paid tribute to iconic poet Gwendolyn Brooks in her centennial year.
With YCA and LTAB he's helped foster a community of artists he says have "really set the course for how music is for the world." YCA's website lists several musician alumni on its page for the open mike Wordplay: Mick Jenkins, Jamila Woods, Noname, Saba, Nico Segal, and Chance the Rapper, who wrote the introduction to A People's History of Chicago.
Coval's new collection grew out of research he did for a different book on the gentrification that beset Wicker Park in the 90s.
He kept digging, finding stories of other gentrifying neighborhoods further and further back in time.
"I was examining the history of globalization and the global economy, and how it had an effect in people's movements and migratory patterns in, around, and to Chicago," he says.
It's a book where I have squeezed the nectar of how I feel about this city onto these pages." The book weaves together a very important geographic location—for me, a personal location—with a history that I think is profoundly important, as well as linking up to this vital project that Howard Zinn popularized, of engaging with a different form of history from below.Just go to a bigger place." I really loved those guys, and they're such good guys and great editors. I was performing my poem "Apocrypha," and I speak backwards in the poem.After the second book, they're like, "Bye." I needed a publisher, so I gave Haymarket my script. I invited him to be part of a reading—"Voices of a People's History of the United States," which is a project Howard Zinn and I started together that involves bringing together actors, musicians, poets, and other artists to bring to life the words of dissenters and dissidents in U. Afterwards he came up to me, and he was like, "Wow, that was really cool." He gave me this bookmark and said he was working on an anthology about hip-hop poetry.There's no love lost between Coval and the city's powers that be—he's especially harsh with Rahm Emanuel—but he occasionally takes a break from raking them over the coals for their moral failings in order to appeal to their humanity. Afterwards he comes up to me and he's like, "Yo, your performance was dope." I met Kevin when I was in the college slam.The people that I was publishing with at the time, EM Press—after my first book, they're like, "You need to leave here. Around that same time, we started a publishing relationship with him. It was the first year of the Louder Than a Bomb college slam, 2008.