Who, What, Where
is the Soul of Chicago?

All Chicago residents are invited to write, record, and share their own CHICAGO SOUL POEM.

A Chicago Soul Poem is written about a person, place or thing that is indicative of the Second City. It is written in the form of a soloem (pronounced so-lo-em). A soloem is a new poetic form, created by avery r. young, Chicago Poet Laureate.

Starting May 15, Chicago Soul Poems submitted by Chicagoans will be reviewed by the Poet Laureate on a regular basis for selection. Selected poems will be featured through local media outlets.

Now accepting submissions. Use the instructions below to write your first Chicago Soul Poem!


A Chicago Soul Poem is written in the form of a soloem. A so-lo-em has 10 lines and 5 stanzas, and the first and the last lines are the same!

  • 1st stanza – 1 line
  • 2nd stanza – 2 lines
  • 3rd stanza – 3 lines
  • 4th stanza – 2 lines
  • 5th stanza – 1 line

  • 1st Stanza – 1 line
    Simply use the 1st line to say something interesting about the person, place, or thing that you feel is the Soul of Chicago.
    2nd Stanza – 2 lines
    Then, take 2 lines to describe its unique physical features and/or characteristics.
    3rd Stanza – 3 lines
    Then, use the next 3 lines to share a memory with this person, place, or thing.
    4th Stanza – 2 lines
    After the 3 lines of your memory in Stanza 3, write 2 lines describing the setting where this memory occurred.
    5th Stanza – 1 line
    The last line repeats your 1st line – the interesting statement about who, what or where is the Soul of Chicago.


    Submissions must be original writing. Plagiarism will not be accepted. There is no tolerance for hate speech. No racist, sexist, homophobic, gender-biased, ableist, transphobic or otherwise derogatory speech that is degrading to any specific group of people. Discriminatory language will not be accepted. A trigger warning should be given for poems that are adult in theme, and/or have specifically sensitive and/or violent subjects.


    Learn more about avery r. young at averyryoung.com.
    Find out more about the Chicago Poet Laureate program at Chicago.gov/PoetLaureate.

    © chicago soul poem