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Real Talk Avenue


RealTalk Artists

headshot of Laura Yes Yes

Laura Yes Yes

Laura Yes Yes is a Cave Canem fellow, and founder and co-curator of Real Talk Live. She has competed with her poetry on a national level many times, notably as a finalist in 2010′s Women of the World Poetry Slam. When in Chicago, Laura teaches with Young Chicago Authors and performs with The Speak’Easy Ensemble, the brainchild of slam founder Marc Smith. Laura performs at venues all over the world, and leads workshops on writing, performance, and empowerment. Her first book, How to Seduce a White Boy in Ten Easy Steps, is available for purchase from Write Bloody Publishing.

headshot of Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan

Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan

Emily Rose is a Chicago-born and raised poet, performer and host of many things. Named by TimeOut as one of Chicago’s Cultural Curators, she is currently a Real Talk Avenue Artist, co-slammaster and host of the Mental Graffiti Poetry Slam, Jilted Emily Rose at The Encyclopedia Show, Tournament Director for Louder Than a Bomb, member of the 2010 & 2011 Mental Graffiti Slam Teams, a board member for Chicago Slam Works, chair of poetry for the Bucktown Arts Festival, and much much more. Her first chapbook, Cigarette Love Songs and Nicotine Kisses (Cross+Roads Press), was published in 2004. Her work has appeared in After Hours, TimeOut Chicago and more. Emily Rose probably already likes you.

headshot of Stevie Edwards

Stevie Edwards

Stevie Edwards spent her formative years in the majestic city of Lansing, MI. She currently lives in Chicago, where she works for a non-profit by day and writes and debauches by night. She is Editor-in-Chief/ Founder of MUZZLE, an online literary magazine, and she is currently working on her first book of poetry (tentatively titled Good Grief). Her work often explores female sexuality and social stigma in the Rustbelt. Her work has appeared in several literary magazines, including Word RiotPANK Magazine, Night Train, Bestiary, and Union Station. She completed her BA at Albion College (a liberal arts school in Michigan) in 2009, where she worked as Poetry & Fiction Editor for the Albion Review. She plans to pursue an MFA in creative writing sometime in the not-too-distant future. Check out her janky website:

headshot of John Paul Davis

John Paul Davis

John Paul Davis’s poems have been published in print and online journals such as RATTLE, The Columbia Poetry Review, WordRiot, Apparatus, The Cordite Poetry Review. He has represented Chicago multiple times at the National Poetry Slam. He was a 2009-2010 Writer In Residence with Vox Ferus. Currently he is the video curator and projection designer for The Encyclopedia Show in Chicago, a founding member of RealTalkAvenue, a regular contributor to The Paper Machete. He is editor and designer of Bestiary Magazine.

headshot of J.W. Basilo

J.W. Basilo

Writer/performer/humorist, J.W. Basilo, is equal parts poignant and perverse, hilarious and heart-wrenching. His raucous performances and uncanny charisma have earned him a reputation as one of the most sought-after and compelling spoken word artists working today. His work has appeared on NPR, in the Chicago Tribune, several literary journals and in hundreds of theaters, dive bars, schools and comedy clubs across North America. His one man dramedy, No One Can Fix You, debuted in 2009 to rave reviews in Chicago, Seattle, and New York City. As a competitor, Basilo was a finalist at the 2007 Individual World Poetry Slam, finished 2nd at the 2009 National Underground Poetry Individual Championship, and has represented Chicago at the National Poetry Slam four times. To date, he has released two full-length albums, Poet Laureate of Apt. 2E (2006) and Love Crimes, Etc. (2007), as well as the chapbook I Dare You to Believe This. Currently, he is a Writer in Residence at Chicago’s Real Talk Ave. All things considered, he’s doing pretty well for a guy who failed Creative Writing in high school. His artful jackassery can be found at his internet home,

headshot of Roger Bonair-Agard

Roger Bonair-Agard

Roger Bonair-Agard is a native of Trinidad and Tobago, a Cave Canem fellow and author of two collections of poems, tarnish and masquerade (Cypher Books, 2006) and GULLY (Cypher Books, Peepal Tree press, 2010).  Co-founder and Artistic Director of New York’s LouderARTS Project, Roger’s work has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, including Muzzle, Harvard Review Online, Gulf Coast, The Seneca Review and the Louisville Review.  He is poet-in-residence at Young Chicago Authors and teaches at Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.