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On Saturday, July 29, Crescendo Literary presented the second annual Chicago Poetry Block Party at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Founded by prolific Chicago-based poets Eve L. Ewing and Nate Marshall, Crescendo is an arts and educational organization devoted to the principle that artists enrich their communities and vice versa—and the block party doubles as an incubator for writers who want to combine their creative work with community organizing.

Ewing, who’s also an essayist, visual artist, and postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago, says the point of the block party was to take poetry out of the ivory tower and increase its accessibility.

“Poetry is not a luxury,” she says, quoting Audre Lorde. “To me that means that poetry is something human beings have been doing forever and ever. It’s a chance for self-expression that belongs to all people, no matter where you come from or who you are.”

Intrepid filmmaker Morgan Elise Johnson captured the block party’s all-inclusive guiding principle in action.