RHINO Reads! Open mic and featured reader Spencer Reece – Wednesday, 7-2-14


Open Mike        7:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Featured Reader        7:45 pm – 8:30 pm

630 Clinton Place, Evanston IL

(home of Ralph Hamilton)


—refreshments will be served—

Spencer Reece is a poet and priest; his first collection, The Clerk’s Tale, won the Bakeless Prize in 2003. He has received an NEA grant, a Guggenheim grant, the Witter Bynner Prize from the Library Congress, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Amy Lowell Travelling Scholarship. His poems have been published in The New YorkerPoetryThe American Scholar, and The New Republic. He served at the Honduran orphanage Our Little Roses, and as the chaplain to the Bishop of Spain for the Reformed Episcopal Church, Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal. Currently he is completing an anthology that contains his personal narrative, Las Chavas [Homegirls]: 12 Love Poems from the Murder Capitol of the World, gathered from his work teaching abandoned and abused orphaned girls in Honduras to accompany a feature length documentary film.  Both film and book are scheduled for release in late 2015/early 2016.

Reece’s central figure in his second book, The Road to Emmaus, is a middle-aged man who becomes a priest in the Episcopal Church; these poems follow him to New York City, to Honduras, to a hospital where he works as a chaplain, to a prison, to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. With language of simple, lyrical beauty that gradually accrues weight and momentum, Reece spins compelling dramas out of small moments in his mesmerizing and long-awaited new collection—one that fearlessly confronts love and its loss, despair and its consolation, and faith in all of its various guises.

“For Spencer Reece, humbling is a given. Even though his language in The Road to Emmaus, his first book since his ordination, is often remarkably inventive and sometimes formally elegant, the poems’ tone never betrays awareness of his achievement . . . There’s a quality of devotion in all of these that can make the secular seem sacred. One can truly attend through attention, the writing suggests, and the poems manage to be unwavering—almost unvarying—in the quality of their gaze.” —Jonathan Farmer, Slate

“Reece follows up his acclaimed first book with a gorgeous series of poems in verse and prose about a middle-aged man’s coming to terms with religious faith, going as far as becoming a priest, a hospital chaplain, and a quiet chronicler of everyday suffering. ‘It is correct to love even at the wrong time,’ he writes of a visit to newborns in an ICU. Reece’s style is straightforward, but always graceful, understatedly beautiful. These poems compassionately describe all the stops along this journey, which leads across America and elsewhere, always inviting readers to respond: ‘it was an interview, much of life is an interview.’”
—Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR



Poetry Forum Workshop led by Michael Meyerhofer 6-22-14


Evanston Public Library
Church & Orrington
1:30-4:30 — ROOM 108 – Small Meeting Room


Michael Meyerhofer‘s third poetry book, Damnatio Memoriae (lit. “damned memory”) won the Brick Road Poetry Book Contest. His previous books are Blue Collar Eulogies (Steel Toe Books) and Leaving Iowa (winner of the Liam Rector First Book Award). He’s also the author of five poetry chapbooks and currently serves as the Poetry Editor of Atticus Review. For more information and at least one embarrassing childhood photo, check out troublewithhammers.com.

TOPIC: Revision: Some Alternate Approaches. When we spend a great deal of time crafting individual lines, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and end up tinkering with a few syllables when the hard truth is that the poem might require something more radical. One of several techniques for getting around this is to rewrite a poem backwards, which  I’ll illustrate with the poem that inspired it (“Read This Poem From the Bottom Up” by Ruth Porritt), then demonstrate the process. We’ll also discuss the importance of developing a conscious awareness of one’s own rhythm and style, prior to revising.

Bring 17 or more copies (2 page limit) of a poem you want critiqued.  Sessions are fee, though $5 – $10 donation appreciated.


This project is partially supported by grants from: Poets & Writers, the Illinois Arts Council

and The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.


“Choose Beauty” – the poem made during the Printers Row Literary Festival

Exquisite Corpse is a collaborative poetry game that traces its roots to the Parisian Surrealist Movement. ~ Academy of American Poets. For the full text, click here.

The surreal – and dare we say, eerie in a lovely way – poem below was written June 7-8, 2014, at the RHINO Poetry table at Printers Row Literary Fest.


It was her birthday and

the rain had ceased for a few minutes.

and then the clapping of thunder

and then the distant rattling of chains

confronted the turgid trailing troglodytes

small droplets on lily pads & misted eyes

swell with each surge, each passing storm

each wave of blue and sad surf

for when it abates you will know you’re alone

and you have to go live your life alone

In a balloon in Paris.

Or a mouse in London.

As people wander listlessly in circles

through the desert of grief.

He held the horizon.


I like the sun when

plays peekaboo with the clouds…

warming my soul and illuminating my path

until everyone tells me to stop:”stop”.

Stop thinking sooooo much. “Be” “Just be” be

Climb sheep live yellow.

As the wind blows through the trees

The yellow leaves rustle & drop.

October on the calendar stops.

Woo! Pig Suie!

The chicken nods knowingly.

The building towers above me.

Silver and reflecting the sky.

The Silver Towers were a block

down from the Everleigh Sisters.

I lost my husband.

I know this should be sad, but

there isa poetry in decay – see ex. 1 of the peach.


Listen: a school of birds presenting

half-rippled hearts.

Their song is no ordinary song.

For musicians are a poet’s heart surgeon

Working hard we speedily purge on

pursuing the scent of strawberries and ocean

working my way to the lakefront.

Across the city people are rising like stars on a summer night

with staggering hooves;

Imagine the moon stretched across the the

belly, sprawled across the pavement.

There’s math in listening to stars. The light

of there and theirs of light.

But, as Boethius says, “Music is

math made audible,” so starlight

must mini slices of inner thoughts.

And I shall dance the night away

under the moonlight sky.


Choose beauty

She says, flipping the switch and casting

strange shadows

And the shadows wave back, copy

cats and acrobats.

She was alert and solid not like

the sand beneath my feet.

animals make more sense than

humans and angels don’t exist.

until they do – then even stones

learn to be silent.


RHINO Nominations for 2014 Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards


13_Rhino_Cover_wThe Editorial Board of RHINO is extremely pleased to announce the nomination of these Illinois poets and their poems
from the RHINO 2013 issue for the 2014 Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards:

Jeffrey Allen • Johnny  audio version

Kyle Churney • Desert Ghazal

Matthew Reed Corey • Above the Conifers, the Bronze Topknot of a Great Buddha

Albert DeGenova A Good Hammer  – audio version

Katie Hartsock • Cuticles – audio version

Tim Hunt • Still Life with Ash Tray and Beer Can

Virginia Konchan • Zsa Zsa Gabor Learns to Read – audio version

Marty McConnell • the fidelity of Cincinnati

Ladan Osman • The Pound – audio version

Bill Yarrow • Cranshaw on a Boat – audio version