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.

Submissions open on May 15, 2024. 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 – line 
2nd stanza – lines 
3rd stanza – lines 
4th stanza – lines 
5th stanza – 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