The Open Door series presents work from Chicago’s new and emerging poets and highlights the area’s outstanding writing programs.
Each hour-long event at the Poetry Foundation features readings by two Chicagoland writing program instructors and two of their current or recent students. April’s Open Door reading series features Mark Turcotte and student Stasa Wade, and Peter Kahn and student Morgan Varnado.
A teacher at Oak Park and River Forest High School since 1994, Peter Kahn is a founding member of the London poetry collective Malika’s Kitchen. He has twice been a prize-winner in the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition (UK). Peter holds an MA in English Education from The Ohio State University and earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University. Along with Patricia Smith and Ravi Shankar, Peter co-edited The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks.
Mark Turcotte is the author of four poetry collections and teaches Creative Writing at DePaul University.
Stasa Wade is a Michigan-born writer currently based in Chicago. Since finishing her studies in marketing and creative writing at DePaul University in 2018, her writing has informed her work in youth organization, restorative justice, and design. She is a two-time semifinalist in the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards and authored an Honors Thesis during her time at DePaul. Her current projects include creating multi-media art centered in storytelling.
Morgan Varnado is a poet and producer from Oak Park. He is a leader in the Spoken Word Club, and a four-time member of the Louder Than a Bomb slam team at Oak Park and River Forest High School, where he is a senior. Morgan mentored under artists such as Jamila Woods and Kevin Coval as a YCA artistic apprentice. His poem, "Dung Beetle" was awarded first place in the Rider University High School Poetry contest in 2018, and several of his other works have been awarded silver and gold keys in the Scholastic Art and Writing competition. He has performed in the Auditorium Theater, the Metro Theater, Columbia College Chicago, and the University of Chicago, as a Louder Than A Bomb team finalist and indie finalist.