Renowned blues poet Sterling Plumpp will be honored in a gala event May 14 at Rosa’s Blues Lounge (@rosaslounge,3420 W. Armitage Ave.) as the Guild Literary Complex (@guildLITcomplex, 3420 W. Armitage Ave.) celebrates his decades-long achievement and legacy as a poet and teacher within the Chicago blues arts and music community.
Plumpp’s poetry is admired for its elegiac lyricism and haunting wit. On May 14, the Guild Literary Complex pays tribute to Plumpp in its 2013 benefit entitled: “Talkin’ Blues.” Pre-show tickets are available at www.guildcomplex.org. A full buffet is included in the ticket price.
The event will be a unique show that brings together Plumpp, novelist Jeffery Renard Allen, poets Duriel Harris and Tyehimba Jess, and musician Fernando Jones for a night that unites literature and music.
Plumpp’s poetry pulls apart language and puts it back together, linking the familiar and the foreign, the old and the new, and interprets with fresh thinking. Here’s an excerpt from one of his newest poems, printed in January in poetry magazine Tri-Quarterly.
I have crossed over someFrom “Mississippi Suite”
where I can buy a cross
road map For mummified worlds with
in words I invent
The West Side blues bar Rosa’s is a fitting location for this celebration as Plumpp lived on Chicago’s West Side for decades. His raw and emotional poetry has a national audience, and the Guild Complex aims to honor him as one of its most illustrious poets.
Photo: Guild Literary Complex