The city of Chicago is not estranged when it comes to rhymes and rhythm. A vibrant hub of creativity, the Windy City has helped cultivate some of the most gifted writers, lyricists, poets the Midwest and world have seen. Poetry has now nested in Chicago through programs like Young Chicago Authors, the Poetry Foundation, Slam Works, and more being the foundations of the growing art form in the city limits. What makes the scene so beautiful is the undeniable abstract nature each poet embodies. Here are five of the cities poets we all need to look for.

1. Harold Green

An emcee, poet, and visionary, Harold describes himself as an “ever evolving” artist. Green gives a captivating performance at every set, ensuring his audience leaves with a piece of his art and heart. Harold is often looked to as an artist with a voice of reason for religious, spiritual, and political causes and groups around the city. A more seasoned artist from this group, Harold brings his family man spirit and love for community to the forefront and captivates it without delay. Learn more about Harold Green here.

2. Brandon “Real T@lk” Williams

An artist whose creativity shows through style and speech, Real T@lk is a poet of the people; a procurer of love and intimacy through words. Real T@lk mixes the rhythm of hip-hop culture with the smooth flow of poetry to deliver works with passion and resonance. Performing for the likes of Andre3000 in his home, it was apparent then that this young poet had a special voice for any audience that’d be willing to hear.

Learn more about Real T@lk here.

3. Rachel “Raych” Jackson

Serving as the conscious some of us are too proud to succumb to, Raych is a crowd favorite for her charismatic delivery, her sometimes corky style and finesse, and her poignant punchlines. She is an ducator of youth by day and slayer of the stage and mic by night. Crowds everywhere cannot help but love her eccentric soul, full of life and joy. Raych uses real life to create real poetry; words we can relate to. She’s unrelenting and worth every listening ear!

Learn more about Raych here.

4. Nate Marshall

A proud Southside native, Nathanial Marshall knew poetry was a calling early on in life. The author of “Wild Hundreds” a collection of work honored with the nlaxk Caucus of the American Library Association’s Poetry Book of the Year Award is no stranger to the pen or the pavement, sharing his work with audiences worldwide. Taking an educational approach with the art, Nate has devoted his career to teaching new, young poets through the Louder Than A Bomb Youth Poetry Festival, as an educator at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University.

Learn more about Nate Marshall here. 

5. Jamila Woods

Jamila Woods is a quiet storm brewing. With a style focused on uplifting and building awareness of Women of Color, Woods voice permeates every ear it encounters. In a time where society needs more awareness than distractions, the young poet brings issues and people to new light. If ever given the opportunity to read her work, we assure it will change you for the better.

Learn more of Jamila Woods here.