Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Garin Cycholl  

Pen Name: None


Born: 1964 in Decatur, Illinois

-- Garin Cycholl on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Garin Cycholl was born in Decatur, Illinois in 1964, and grew up in Flora. After college and graduate work, he returned to Illinois, where he worked as minister of the First and Saron United Churches in Olney and Dundas from 1992 to 1997. Since then, he has taught at several universities in Chicago, primarily at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He and his wife, Shadla, currently live in Homewood.

Biographical and Professional Information

Garin Cycholl lives in Homewood, Illinois and his writing explores the geographies introduced by writers C.S. Giscombe, Muriel Rukeyser, Charles Olson, Sterling Plumpp, and Tom McGrath. In these territories, his work examines American poetry’s connection to historical memory and place. Since 2002, he has been a member of Chicago’s Jimmy Wynn Fiction Collaborative.On his ongoing project on prairie, Cycholl writes, “My work in poetry has centered on exploring Illinois geographies, where the map becomes a ‘bent poem.’ Blue Mound to 161, my first book, explored the place where I grew up---one that hovers on the edge of the South. My newest book, Hostile Witness, reconsiders the corruptions that define Chicago and Springfield through George Ryan’s (the former governor’s) story. A current project, The Bonegatherer, is a redrawing of the boundaries of Chicago’s West Side through the history of Cook County Hospital, where my dad worked as a medical student in the mid-1960’s.”Presently, he teaches writing and literature as a lecturer at the University of Illinois at Chicago and as a visiting lecturer at the University of Chicago.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Blue Mound To 161
ISBN: 1886350973

Pavement Saw Press. 2005

Poetry. Winner of the Transcontinental Poetry Award for an outstanding first book-length collection of poetry or prose. "Human physical traceries, voices, and stories haunt this book. The story of the soil alone gives these interwoven poems their essential reminders: we make our lives, if we are lucky, with perceptions that open us and are then folded, each into the next. Cycholl's vision is austere but vivid. Here is a world where roadmaps are alive where ditches give birth to miniscule evolutions of the organic life-force where golden birds' skyward passageways invite us to swift flight andblessed return"--Judith Vollmer.

ISBN: 1411680952 2006

Poetry by Garin Cycholl

Rafetown Georgics
ISBN: 0978644026

Cracked Slab Books. 2008

Poetry. "There's much to be learned here. At this long moment--this book--in Garin Cycholl's continuing project the prairie's a verb ('light cracked and/ prairied'), the landscape of the Midwest 'a haggard trophy' these pages tangle exquisitely with the varieties of distance and from South-of-70 to the city of the big shoulders and beyond, the work teases belief out of chrome, tours the nature of vipers, and traces (and burns) the blue in green. Rafetown Georgics is a confidence of practical matters (rural and otherwise), a jukebox of voices telling wonders, an astonishing book"--C. S. Giscombe.

Hostile Witness
ISBN: 1935402420

BlazeVOX Books. 2009

Poetry. "Cycholl's descent in HOSTILE WITNESS into America leads us through baseball parks and boxing arenas, along the banks of rivers and back alleys to smoke-filled room political deals as only a poet of Cycholl's power could manage. The collection is masterful and epic—and ultimately essential"—Bill Allegrezza. "With an anger that cauterizes the wound, Cycholl has plumbed the depths of darkness and corruption in recent times. He lives with our good songs and knows our most radiant light as well as our compromising and disabling impoverishments. It is with a profound compassion that he reveals our vapid will to be cold and do harm. And crucially, HOSTILE WITNESS lays bare our possible terrifying future, so as to help us navigate a way to a better place"—Roberto Harrison.


Transcontinental Poetry Prize for ''Blue Mound to 161'' (2003)

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)