Kevin Coval is an award-winning American poet, author, activist, and community builder. He is the founding editor of The BreakBeat Poets imprint on Haymarket Books, as well as both the director of the Young Chicago Authors organization and Louder Than a Bomb – the world’s largest youth poetry festival.
In the mid-1990s, Kevin moved to Wicker Park to become an artist. In September 2019, he released Everything Must Go: The Life and Death of an American Neighborhood, an illustrated collection of poems that celebrates Chicago’s Wicker Park in the late 1990s. The book excavates and mourns that which has been lost in transition and serves as a template for understanding the process of displacement and reinvention currently reshaping American cities.
His 2017 collection, A People’s History of Chicago, comments in 77 poems, one for each neighborhood in Chicago, on the city, its history, and the people that live in it, from its Native American beginnings and its appropriation by whites to the present day, the inauguration of Rahm Emanuel and the World Series win by the Chicago Cubs. His other published work includes 1989, The Number, This Is Modern Art.
Kevin is the artistic director of Young Chicago Authors, and he teaches hip-hop aesthetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also co-hosts the podcast, “The Cornerstore,” on WGN Radio, because he loves to listen to people tell their stories.