Larry and Lina: Busy Chicago Poets In A Digital World

Jul 21, 2014

Larry Sawyer and Lina Vitkauskas of Chicago are busy poets. In addition to publishing numerous poetry books, they helped start the Chicago School of Poetics and are co-editors of Milk Magazine, one of the first online poetry forums in the late 1990s. You can find their work at Kazoo Books in Kalamazoo.

Poetic Style

Chicago poets Larry Sawyer and Lina Vitkauskas

Lina Vitkauskas describes herself as a 'language photographer.' Vitkauskas says she tries to capture that moment of excitement and inspiration when you put language on a page. She says her poetry is somewhat surrealist and she draws a lot of her ideas from the way language sounds. Vitkauskas is a Lithuanian, Canadian American.

Larry Sawyer says he draws inspirations from many different styles. It can be surreal, conceptual and heavy on imagery. Sawyer says he occasionally rhymes too--something uncommon in modern poetry.

Chicago School of Poetics

Though Sawyer and Vitkauskas didn't officially found the Chicago School of Poetics, Sawyer says they were there for most of the school's beginnings. The school offers poetry courses in Chicago, but a lot of the attendees take classes online through a live video feed where students from all over the world can interact with their professors.

Milk Magazine - Then and Now

Back when Sawyer and Vitkauskas started Milk Magazine in the 90s, there weren't a lot of websites dedicated to poetry. Now there are too many to name, but Sawyer says they keep up with their competitors because Milk remains unique to this day. Sawyer says there is a huge variety of poetry for the public to view on Milk, where many poetry websites are just dedicated to one type of poetry.