The End of Chiraq

Trade Paper – $20.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-3718-9
Publication Date
May 2018
Trim Size
6 x 9
ISBN
0-8101-3718-6

The End of Chiraq

A Literary Mixtape
Edited by Javon Johnson and Kevin Coval

The End of Chiraq: A Literary Mixtape is a collection of poems, rap lyrics, short stories, essays, interviews, and artwork about Chicago, the city that came to be known as "Chiraq" ("Chicago" + "Iraq"), and the people who live in its vibrant and occasionally violent neighborhoods. Tuned to the work of Chicago’s youth, especially the emerging artists and activists surrounding Young Chicago Authors, this literary mixtape unpacks the meanings of “Chiraq” as both a vexed term and a space of possibility.

"Chiraq" has come to connote the violence—interpersonal and structural—that many Chicago youth regularly experience. But the contributors to The End of Chiraq show that Chicago is much more than Chiraq. Instead, they demonstrate how young people are thinking and mobilizing, engaged in a process of creating a new and safer world for themselves, their communities, and their city.

In true mixtape fashion, the book is an exercise in "low end theory" that does not just include so-called underground and marginal voices, but foregrounds them. Edited by award-winning poets, writers, and teachers Javon Johnson and Kevin Coval, The End of Chiraq addresses head-on the troublesome relationship between Chicago and Chiraq and envisions a future in which both might be transformed.
About the Author

JAVON JOHNSON is an assistant professor of African American Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the director of African American and African diaspora studies. He is the author of Killing Poetry: Blackness and the Making of Slam and Spoken Word Communities (2017) and is an award-winning spoken word poet who has appeared on HBO, BET, and TVOne.

KEVIN COVAL is the founder of Louder Than a Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival and artistic director of Young Chicago Authors. He is the coeditor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015); author of A People’s History of Chicago, Schtick, L-vis Lives!,and Slingshots (A Hip-Hop Poetica); and author (with Idris Goodwin) of This Is Modern Art.

Reviews

"Because this book focuses on the lived experiences of Black and Brown Chicagoans, it draws on the voices, literary cues, and artist expressions that are part of their lives. As a Black Chicagoan, I was thrilled to see the rhythms and use of Chicago slang (tha’ go and Chiraq) used in this book. It captures a unique voice, which readers (especially Chicago readers) will find compelling." —Rashad Shabazz, Associate Professor, Social Sciences at Arizona State University