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Kevin Coval

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Coval lives in Chicago.

Biography: Kevin Coval is a poet and community builder. As the artistic director of Young Chicago Authors, founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, and professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago?where he teaches hip-hop aesthetics?he's mentored thousands of young writers, artists and musicians. He is the author and editor of ten books, including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and Schtick, and co-author of the play, This is Modern Art. His work has appeared in Poetry Magazine, The Drunken Boat, Chicago Tribune, CNN, Fake Shore Drive, Huffington Post, and four seasons of HBO's Def Poetry Jam.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction; Poetry

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

on WorldCat:

Selected Titles

A people's history of Chicago /
ISBN: 160846671X OCLC: 959034944

Coval's poems celebrate the history of Chicago from the perspective of those on the margins, those whose stories often go untold. In doing so he honors the everyday lives and enduring resistance of the city's workers, poor people, and people of color, whose cultural and political revolutions continue to shape the social landscape.

Everyday people :
ISBN: 0970801270 OCLC: 268782887

EM Press, Channahon, IL : 2008.

ISBN: 1642590266 OCLC: 1088813871

L-vis lives! :
ISBN: 9781608461516 OCLC: 769189411

Haymarket Books, Chicago : 2011.

FROM THE POET the Chicago Tribune calls the new voice of Chicago, comes L-vis Lives!, a bold new collection of poetry and prose exploring the collision of race, art, and appropriation in American culture. L-vis is an imagined persona, a representation of artists who have used and misused Black music. Like so many others who gained fame and fortune from their sampling, L-vis is as much a sincere artist as he is a thief. In Kevin Coval's poems, L-vis' story is equal parts forgotten history, autobiography, and re-imaginings. We see shades of Elvis Presley, the Beastie Boys, and Eminem, and meet some of history's more obscure whiteboy heroes and anti-heroes: legendary breakdancers, political activists, and music impresarios. A story of both artistic theft and radical invention, L-vis Lives! is a poetic novella on all of the possibilities and problems of post-racial American culture-where Black art is still at times only fully accepted in a white face, and every once in a while an L-vis comes along to step in to the void. i am a hero to most. the great hope of something other. a complex back-story. something other than the business of my father. Bland's antonym. jim crow's black sheep. the forgotten son left to rise in the darkness among the dis carded in the wild of working class, single mother hoods. a hero who transcends who translates the dis satisfactions of the plains; kids of kurt cobain, method man amphetamine, the odd Iowan who digs dirt and lights beyond the pig yard, spits nebraskan argot, hero to the heart land, middle brow(n) america --

Schtick :
ISBN: 1608462706 OCLC: 841910107

[Poems form] a tale of Jewish assimilation and its discontents: a sweeping exposition on Jewish American culture in all its bawdy, contradictory, inventive, glory. Exploring -- in his own family and in culture and politics at large -- how Jews have shed their minority status in the United States, poet Kevin Coval show us a people's transformation out of diaspora, landing on bothe sides of the color line--From back cover.

Slingshots :
ISBN: 0970801246 OCLC: 65219313

EM Press, Channahon, IL : ©2005.

"Chicago poet Coval, an HBO Def Poet, grapples with questions of identity and compassion. He writes of latchkeys marooned in front the television at home and menaced by violence at school. Assessing his own Jewish heritage in Pieces of Shalom, he wants to turn my mind on the divine/without historical frustration. Vehemently condemning hypocrisy, Coval echoes Allen Ginsberg in his spiritual revolt, cosmic vision, and longing for multicultural transcendence. In boldly beautiful and outspoken hip-hop manifestos, he forges links among all Diaspora people, citing Dick Gregory and Lenny Bruce, picturing Jack Robinson breaking the color line on the first night of Passover in 1947, and recognizing that davening worshippers in a synagogue are experiencing the same energy and ecstasy he experiences when enthralled by hip-hop. Potent metaphors, muscular turns of phrase, a keen political conscience, and a Studs Terkelesque openness to humankind's countless stories fuel Coval's percussive calls for compassion and connection. Accompanied by a CD and graced with cover art by the incomparable Tony Fitzpatrick, this is one potent and positive debut. --Donna Seaman, Copyright 2006 Booklist."