Calvin Forbes

b. 1945
Calvin Forbes
Calvin Forbes grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and attended both the New School for Social Research and Rutgers University. He earned his MFA from Brown University. His collections of poetry include Blue Monday (1974), From the Book of Shine (1979), and The Shine Poems (2001). His work has been anthologized in New Black Voices (1972) and A Century in Two Decades: A Burning Deck Anthology, 1961–81 (1982). Forbes is an associate professor at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, where he teaches writing, literature, and jazz history; blues and jazz inform both the rhythm and content of his poetry. He often uses ballads to tell family stories or the ups and downs of romance. But Forbes updates the tradition with surreal techniques, epigrammatic humor, and changing voices. He described his work as “simplicity shacked up with complexity.”
 
Forbes is the recipient of fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fulbright Foundation.

What People are Saying

"I learned that I had the ability to capture the attention of an audience and evoke emotion from them. When I recited my first poem in 9th grade for a mock POL class competition, I was incredibly shy and barely audible. But eventually I grew to love sharing the emotions poems gave me."
Chiara Raimondo
2016 NY POL Champion