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Everything Must Go

Award-winning poet Kevin Coval and graphic artist Langston Allston bare witness to the effects of gentrification in a Chicago neighborhood.

Everything Must Go is an illustrated collection of poems in the spirit of a graphic novel, a collaboration between poet Kevin Coval and illustrator Langston Allston. The book celebrates Chicago’s Wicker Park in the late 1990’s, Coval’s home as a young artist, the ancestral neighborhood of his forebears, and a vibrant enclave populated by colorful characters. Allston’s illustrations honor the neighborhood as it once was, before gentrification remade it. The book excavates and mourns that which has been lost in transition and serves as a template for understanding the process of displacement and reinvention currently reshaping American cities.

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Reviews
  • “Chicago-based poet and educator Kevin Coval has one of the strongest and most long-standing literary visions in the city.”
    Chicago Tribune

    “Kevin Coval made me understand what it is to be a poet, what it is to be an artist, and what it is to serve the people.”
    —Chance the Rapper

    “Kevin Coval has given us a gift, a collection of heartfelt, piercing poems, stories really, about America’s city.”
    —Alex Kotlowitz author of There Are No Children Here

    “This vibrant, dynamic collection of vignettes exposes the naked truth of our fair city.”
    —Karen Lewis, president emeritus of the Chicago Teachers Union

    “The spine of this book of the People's History of Chicago is the people's resistance and struggle for justice and a fair shake. Coval is in the Chicago Tradition – fire, earth, and endless blues.”
    —Angela Jackson, author of Where I Must Go

Other books by Kevin Coval

  • Milwaukee Avenue

    “Milwaukee Avenue” is Kevin Coval's longest single poem, inspired by Frank O'Hara's “Second Avenue.” It wrestles with what...
  • Human Highlight

    Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin pay poetic homage to slam dunk virtuoso Dominique Wilkins, and creativity & improvisation in the game of basketball.

  • A People's History of Chicago

    Named "Best Chicago Poet" by The Chicago Reader, Kevin Coval channels Howard Zinn to celebrate the Windy City's hidden history.
  • This Is Modern Art

    A glimpse into the lives of anonymous graffiti artists that asks us to question the true purpose of art.
  • 1989, The Number

    For hip-hop heads 89 was the peak of the Golden Era and the Crack Epidemic.
  • The BreakBeat Poets

    Edited by Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana, et al.
    A first-of-its-kind anthology of hip-hop poetica written for and by the people.
  • Schtick

    Poet Kevin Coval offers both tragedy and comedy in this stirring exposition on the Jewish American cultural experience.
  • L-vis Lives!

    L-vis Lives! in this poetic novella on the collision of race, art, and appropriation in American culture.