COVID-19 vaccine required for fall, National Poetry Month and DePaul campus vax clinic

Plus bad landlords and good recommendations

Hey y’all! Welcome back to your favorite Monday newsletter. Your weekly regulars are here — Francesca, Grace, Robin and Aneesah — with some new additions. Associate Editor Elly Boes is putting together your Chicago headlines, Staff Writer Kate Linderman is taking over our DePaul news section and we’ve got a special National Poetry Month feature from contributor Brooks Harris. Lots to get into today!

First – the application deadline for 14 East and Pueblo’s 2021-22 staff has been extended until Wednesday at midnight! The application is here. It’s a Google Form — no resume or cover letter required (but feel free to attach one along with any samples of your work, if you’d like). We’re hiring for all positions, reach out to EIC Francesca Mathewes with any questions (her email is on the form). 

A 14 East Ode to National Poetry Month: 4 Poets I Could Not Live Without 

Brooks Harris

My introduction to poetry was in second grade. A poet came to our class and taught us about cataloguing the world in our black and white marbled notebooks. When I write poetry I’m trying to go back to those mornings spent in my school’s courtyard, pen in hand, admiring a sparrow, or leaf floating in a fountain, describing things, but also transforming them.

Here are four poets who have had an absolutely extraordinary impact on me, and to whom I owe debts of gratitude so immense and ponderous I don’t even know where to begin, but will try. 

Billy Collins

When I was 10 years old, my grandfather sent our family a book of Billy Collins’s poetry called Picnic, Lightning. I was young enough that my parents had to explain the Nabokov allusion in the title. I’m having a little fun here; what 10-year-old knows who Vladimir Nabokov is? 

Collins’s writing seemed too simple to be as great as it was; the subjects he chose to write about too mundane, to a point where you were so disarmed by the poem’s last two lines tying together a study of “chopping wood,” “going for a walk,” or “eating cereal” into a profound bow that you curled up in a ball on the floor. 

Maybe that was just me. 

My love for him only grew when I watched him close out the night at President Obama’s Celebration of Poetry at the White House in 2011. Finally, I had a lovely lilting cadence to put to that strong-standing blank verse. Hearing him read his poetry was all the permission I needed, at that age, to copy, so that when I sat down — or stayed standing — to write a poem, the voice in my head dictating was a child’s version of Collins.

I can happily say that 10 years later, that voice has not gone away. 

Recommendation: “Aristotle

Kendrick Lamar

The next poet to make an impact on me came when I was in middle school, when boys sang along the words — and cautiously omitted others — to so many songs of Lamar’s, such as “Money Trees” and “B–––h Don’t Kill My Vibe.” 

In the same way I was drawn in by Collins’s reading voice, one that was scholarly and sounded like a book that could speak, Lamar’s flow was closer in age and timbre to my own, which gave it a relatability and vitality that was addictive. It was only a matter of listens before I was murmuring my way through his songs, without even realizing it, going about my day when a line of his would float up to the surface and enrapture. I would look up the lyrics on to read the annotations and clarify the actual words, which I sometimes lost track of as singular things, but rather parts of much longer streams of consciousness, memories Lamar was able to conjure through his unstoppable rhythm and rhyme scheme, and the feeling of cinematic action so sweeping it was enough to transport me elsewhere if I turned up the volume. 

His song “Duckworth,” which I compared to Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” for a literature class last quarter (the two have more in common than you may expect!), floors me every time I listen to it. Right around the three-minute mark, Lamar launches into a city-block long sentence that spans from past to present, tells an entire story, and in typical Lamar fashion, it is all entirely true. 

Recommendation: “Duckworth

Maggie Nelson

I was fortunate enough to go with friends to see Maggie Nelson read at Skylight Books in Los Angeles a few years ago. We walked in mid-poem, which, looking back, was perfect, since her poems have a very conversational quality, like spying on a fascinating person’s out-loud musings a few tables over. 

(For sake of hyperlink, let’s say the poem I walked in on was the title poem from her collection Something Bright, Then Holes.)

I tend to be pretty skeptical and dare I say belligerent when it comes to public readings — don’t ask me why — but after only a few lines, I, 1) had a crush and, 2) could not wait to hear her read her next poem. 

A few days later I went back to Skylight to purchase a copy of that collection, one that she had signed, which I brought with me to school freshman year of college. I associate the poems in that collection with solo train rides on weekends, trying to find solitude in loneliness, her poetry a map for navigating those cross-currents. 

Maggie, if you’re reading, let’s grab coffee ☺.

Recommendation: “‘WHAT IS IT?’

John Ashbery

The most formidable and most recent name on my list of favorites; one who I denied was a favorite of mine for a while. I think the reason I never out loud admitted John Ashbery was becoming one of my favorite poets, which was about a year ago, was because I had so much trouble understanding his writing. 

Ashbery is often regarded as being as influential as he is inaccessible. In a New York Times review of his 1976 collection Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, reviewer Richard Kostelanetz comes right out and calls Ashbery’s poetry “extremely difficult” and even “impenetrable.” As someone who likes a challenge, I began exposing myself to his poems, often having to read them over, and over, getting frustrated when right on the verge of seeming to understand, I would fall back into the chasm of confusion with just one line break. 

What has helped me to appreciate the seemingly needless challenge of his writing is from hearing from the poet himself, reading and and watching interviews with him. One quote of his that is on the Poetry Foundation’s website provides useful context in deciphering his writing; Ashbery says, “I don’t find any direct statements in life. My poetry imitates or reproduces the way knowledge or awareness comes to me, which is by fits and starts and by indirection. I don’t think poetry arranged in neat patterns would reflect that situation. My poetry is disjunct, but then so is life.” 

By accepting that meaning may not be the ultimate gift his writing has to offer, and instead enjoying his brilliant use of language and turns on structure and style, it is like observing a chemist collide particles in a quest to transcend poetry’s individual attributes for something higher, and often, inexplicable. 

Recommendation: “Some Trees

Engaging with these poets has felt like standing in the corner at a dinner party, watching the most amazing people talk all night, and even though I could never sound like any of them (wish, though I might), their authenticity is a tap on the shoulder: they’ve crossed the room, stepped into your corner, and said, go ahead; what would you like to say? 

Check out the full length version of this piece, including an extra poet and Brooks’ own work in our regular publishing this Friday! 

Chicago headlines 

  • An investigation published by The Chicago Tribune and Better Government Association last weekend revealed city leaders were warned about housing safety concerns and kept a list of “bad landlords” but failed to follow up. According to the article, fires and other issues killed over 61 Chicago residents in the last seven years.

  • Walk-in Covid-19 vaccine appointments are now available at several locations across Cook County reports NBC5 Chicago

  • Former Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez criticized Cook County’s State Attorney Kim Foxx this week, asking her to apologize for the office’s handling of body-cam footage in the police shooting of 13-year-old Little Village resident Adam Toledo. As of last Thursday, Foxx said she had not viewed video evidence prior to court appearances.

  • The city of Chicago is suing a Gary, Indiana gun shop, Westforth Sports Inc., after the store allegedly trafficked dozens of illegal weapons into the city.

DePaul news

Last week, DePaul announced via Newsline that it would be requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for all students who intend to be on campus starting Fall Quarter of this year. DePaul has not made a decision about vaccine requirements for employees as of April 21. Proof of vaccination is to be submitted on Campus Connect (Campus connect login > Student Resources > Immunization Status). The electronic copy of vaccination records must have the student’s full name, date of birth and student identification number according to the university’s announcement.   

DePaul will be offering a Moderna vaccine clinic for students, faculty and staff from April 27 to 29 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Park Student Center. A link to sign up for appointments was emailed to students, faculty and staff on April 22. As of today, there are no more appointments available. DePaul has provided a list of vaccine resources here

85 communication scholars nationwide condemned DePaul's College of Communication for their "practices and procedures that are aggressively hostile towards BIPOC faculty" in a petition emailed to administration and College of Communication deans on April 12, according to the DePaulia

The petition highlights evidence from Associate Professor Dr. Sydney Dillard’s race and disability discrimination lawsuit filed in December 2020 and mentions former professor Dr. Lisa Calvente’s lawsuit against DePaul from May 2020.

The petition called for changes in the college, requesting a response by April 26. It is unknown if the college has directly responded to the petition. More information can be found in the DePaulia

Tomorrow is the last day for 2021 graduates to add photos and quotes to their personalized slides for the virtual convocation. 

The Office of Student Involvement will be hosting a Midterm Cereal Bar on Tuesday, April 27, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Lincoln Park Student Center. 

National headlines

  • Last year, George Floyd’s murder and protests led some states to work on reform, according to the Associated Press. In Austin, Texas, the “George Floyd Act,” introduced by Sen. Royce West, stalled because some lawmakers refused to pass the bill with his name on it. Now, the plan is to put forth smaller bills without Floyd’s name on them and pass legislation in order to ban chokeholds. In Utah, Republican Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill requiring officers to report any use of force when they point a weapon at someone. In Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced a legislative proposal to boost police oversight.

  • Police shot Isaiah Brown during a phone call with 911 when police allegedly mistook his phone for a gun according to CNN. Brown suffered serious, but non-life threatening injuries per Virginia State Police. The shooting happened after a Spotsylvania County Sheriff gave Brown a ride home from the gas station after an earlier call. The same County Sheriff returned to Brown later in the day during a “domestic incident,” and shot Brown.

  • Experts have given the OK on use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine so that states can resume its use, according to The Los Angeles Times. Federal authorities resumed its use after scientific advisors found that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the rare risk of blood clots. The states that asked for the resumption were California, Indiana, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Tennessee and Virginia. Out of the 8 million given the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, all 15 recipients who experienced the rare blood clots were women under the age of 50. Three died and seven are still hospitalized. 

  • The Washington Post reports that Americans give President Joe Biden positive marks for his first 100 days. Biden’s approval rating is lower than any recent president except for Donald Trump. 52 percent of adults approve of his work so far, while 42 percent disapprove. Biden has high approval numbers for handling the virus at 64 percent, including from 33 percent of Republicans. Biden doesn’t fare as well with immigration. 53 percent disapproves of his immigration work regarding the U.S.-Mexico border.


Hey y’all! Aneesah here with some recommendations certain to entertain and excite. 

I love a good superhero show, so Amazon Prime’s Invincible has caught my attention recently. Invincible is a gritty and gory animated adaptation of the comic by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker. It’s got a phenomenal story, along with a star-studded voice cast led by Steven Yeun and J.K. Simmons, and the first seven episodes have had me on the edge of my seat for weeks. 

On the music sphere, I’ve really delved back into some longer mixes on SoundCloud. My favorites were Set 1 by KOOZE (@koozebane on Instagram) and REAL HOT GIRL S***! By DJ DWB (@dayo_dwb on Instagram). 

Finally, if you’re looking for a place to secure your Hot Girl, Gay, or They Summer manicure, look no further than @rupolished on Instagram. Owned by Krystian Watson-Stuckey, RuPolished is a Black owned Chicago business specializing in bringing out your inner diva. I was serviced by her this past weekend and she prides herself on COVID-19 safety and quality service. Check her out and peep the set she did on me.


COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Resources

All of these testing sites and vaccination sites can be accessed for free and without insurance. 

  • Howard Brown offers free, walk-in COVID-19 testing at multiple locations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, in addition to mobile testing sites that are updated weekly, which you can access here.

  • The Illinois Department of Health and the City of Chicago have opened more free COVID-19 testing sites in the city and surrounding counties, which are listed with more information here.

  • In the spring, the City of Chicago partnered with CORE response to set up free drive-thru and walk-in testing sites in the city, primarily on the South and West sides, with appointments available Monday through Friday. Register here. 

  • The city has also updated its COVID-19 testing program with more mobile sites, which change weekly. More info here. 

  • Eligible for a COVID-19 Vaccine in Chicago? Check out appointments via Zocdoc, the City of Chicago’s Vaccine Finder or pharmacy websites such as Walgreens and CVS to see what is available in or around your zip code. 

Mental Health Resources

  • At Open Counseling, there’s a list of people and nonprofits with counseling services available for free or low cost.

  • This website compiles mental health resources, including therapist/counselor directories and other online resources. 

  • The Center on Halsted offers behavioral health, anti-violence and educational resources for LGBTQIA+ people.

  • Howard Brown Health offers anti-racism resources and sliding scale counseling specializing in the LGBTQ+ community.

  • This document is a resource for Black people experiencing racial trauma. This master list includes specific resources as well as protesting tips and donation links. 

  • This link is a directory of Black therapists in Chicago. 

  • This link is a directory of Black therapists in Chicago who provide services for under $75.

  • Here’s 7 virtual mental health resources supporting Black people right now, including Chicago-based community organization Sista Afya’s support groups

  • And the Trans Lifeline’s Peer Support Hotline is a resource operated by transgender and nonbinary staffers for the trans community: 877-565-8860.

  • The Center for Religion and Psychotherapy in Chicago is a nonprofit that provides affordable, sliding-scale counseling. Call (312) 263-4368 extension 9081 to schedule an intake appointment (counseling is not religious-centered). 

That’s all we have for this week, y’all. Drink your water, hug your vaccinated friends and get yourself outside to enjoy this week’s fleeting moments of sunshine.