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Respect the Mic: Celebrating 20 Years of Poetry from a Chicagoland High School

February 1

Book cover. The background color is a bright orange that hints at the past. The central image is an old fashioned microphone. The names of the editors are in a variety of fonts around the mic. Respect the Mic: Celebrating 20 Years of Poetry from a Chicagoland High School by Hanif Abdurraqib (Editor), Peter Kahn (Editor), Dan Sully Sullivan (Editor), Franny Choi (Editor), Tyehimba Jess (Foreword)
Penguin Workshop

For Chicago’s Oak Park and River Forest High School’s Spoken Word Club, there is one phrase that reigns supreme: Respect the Mic. It’s been the club’s call to arms since its inception in 1999. As its founder Peter Kahn says, It’s a call of pride and history and tradition and hope.

This vivid new collection of poetry and prose — curated by award-winning and bestselling poets Hanif Abdurraqib, Franny Choi, Peter Kahn, and Dan Sully Sullivan — illuminates just that, uplifting the incredible legacy this community has cultivated. Among the dozens of current students and alumni, Respect the Mic features work by NBA star Iman Shumpert, National Youth Poet Laureates Kara Jackson and Natalie Richardson, comedian Langston Kerman, and more.

In its pages, you hear the sprawling echoes of students, siblings, lovers, new parents, athletes, entertainers, scientists, and more –all sharing a deep appreciation for the power of storytelling. A celebration of the past, a balm for the present, and a blueprint for the future, Respect the Mic offers a tender, intimate portrait of American life, and conveys how in a world increasingly defined by separation, poetry has the capacity to bind us together. — Cover image and summary via Goodreads

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February 1
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