Art is Bonfire brings poetry to the Point

By Yasmine Laasraoui

Since 2011, Hyde Park’s Promontory Point has been host to evenings of artistic expression around a fire pit, Art is Bonfire.

The event usually begins with a social hour during which participants may roast hotdogs or marshmallows. Afterwards, a poem is read and following an explanation of the event, attendees are invited to present their pieces. On occasion participants are asked to write on a piece of paper what they would symbolically like to burn, which is then thrown into the fire. Visual artists have in the past been invited to burn some of their painted artwork.

Hyde Park resident and founder Tiff Beatty said she “wanted to create something a little more out of the box,” to add to Chicago’s already lively poetry scene.
Beatty grew up loving the outdoors and says her family outings at Promontory Point’s beach served as inspiration for the event. The Hyde Park resident, who refers to fellow poets as her “Chicago family,” aims to make the poetry scene more accessible by setting up camp at the outdoor location.

The event’s fire serves as a powerful metaphor, according to Beatty: for the artists, “poetry is their fire.” Earlier this month, the poets behind Art is Bonfire exceeded their fundraising goal of $1,000. The funds, primarily raised through Kickstarter, were used to bring the event to Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park.

This was key to “laying groundwork for the future” of Art is Bonfire, said Beatty, who “hopes to take it other places in the future.” Art is Bonfire’s next evening event will take place later this summer at Promontory Point. For more information, visit onthevergeofseeing.blogspot.com or facebook.com/ArtIsBonfire.