This might be the year performance poetry catches on in the suburbs. Events are scheduled this week in two promising series: On Saturday, January 10, poet Kimberly Blaeser will read her work at a program sponsored by the journal Free Lunch at the Glenview Public Library. On Monday, January 12, Uptown Poetry Slam founder Marc Smith will host the second installment of a weekly slam and variety show at Bill’s Blues Bar in Evanston. Blaeser, an Anishinabe Indian and an English professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is the author of two books of poetry, Trailing You and Absentee Indians and Other Poems. Her performance is the third in a series of five produced in 2003 and ’04 by the Glenview-based journal. The event will begin with a competitive reading by five members of the audience (to participate, prepare a favorite poem from American or world literature). The winner (picked by Free Lunch staff) gets a $25 bookstore gift certificate; consolation prizes are subscriptions to the journal. It starts at 2 at the library, 1930 Glenview in Glenview, and it’s free. Call 847-729-3595. Smith, who’s trying to launch a weekly North Shore event inspired by his 17-year run at Chicago’s Green Mill, invites poets, performance artists, and musicians to sign up for competitive or noncompetitive slots. “The format will be invented as we go,” Smith says. “We’ll take what we do with poets at the Green Mill and extend it to musicians, time limits included.” A house band will provide backup for competitors who want it; winners get $10 and some good eats. The show starts at 8:30 at Bill’s Blues Bar, 1029 Davis, and there’s a $3 cover; arrive early to sign up. For more information call 847-424-9800.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Vance Vannote.