Due to the state-wide COVID-19 quarantine Young Chicago Authors has suspended all in-person programming. Please see our calendar for our virtual program offerings.

YCA Blog

The Top Five Featuring Kush Thompson

The Top Five Featuring Kush Thompson

Welcome to the Top Five.

We know it's Monday and you may be looking for inspiration, and we are here to help! Every Monday, we will be inviting some of our favorite artists to share five links that inspire them. Tune in to find some new music, poems, and more. Today, we have Kush Thompson sharing her Top Five for today. 

1. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

A piece of advice I was given to better my practice as a creative: study your heroes. Because my poetry is deeply archival and often samples my diary, lately I've been picking the most intimate brains of artists I admire. I'm also reading the diaries of Frida Kahlo, Anaïs Nin, Joni Mitchell, and Janis Joplin.
2. Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
Recently, I watched I Am Not Your Negro and had conflicting feelings. But my biggest takeaway was that there was absolutely not enough James Baldwin in my life. This book and its excruciating detail when navigating the labyrinth of human emotion has been influencing the ways I delve into the narratives I write.

3. Grace Miceli and Aleia Murawski on Instagram
Both my visual art and my poetry deal with the art of nostalgia. These two artists have been on my mind as I revisit my childhood because they enter that realm through trap doors. They recall the memory of youth as you would in a dream; both bizarre and imaginative.

4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Directly on the subject of recalling a memory through a bizarre and imaginative trap door, this is one of my favorite movies. It's one I always consider in my work of memories & reconstructing the forgotten.

5. Safia Elhillo

Safia is one of the gods on my poetic Mount Olympus. I download her YouTube videos to MP3 and listen to them on the bus whenever I have writers block. Everything I aspire to do when it comes to concise imagery, she does so effortlessly.

Kush Thompson Bio

Kush Thompson is the author of A Church Beneath the Bulldozer (New School Poetics, 2014) womanist, painter, teaching artist, avid As Told By Ginger watcher, and chapter co-chair of Black Youth Project 100 Chicago. Voted runner-up best local poet of 2014 by The Chicago Reader, one of The Root's Young Futurists of 2015, and a 2017 Luminarts Creative Writing Fellow, Kush is the co-facilitator of The Lady Church; a series of monthly meetings devoted to womyn empowerment and healing. Her work has appeared in Poetry Magazine and The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop.