Haley Tweedell

Once a year, South Side Weekly reserves an entire issue to celebrate all things Lit. Poetry, fiction, essay, even comics are included in the offerings. Submissions pour in from across the city and beyond, with each writer hoping for their work to make the cut. What is the mark of a fine piece of literature selected for publication? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly, but it has that special something that captures the particular flavor that is South Side and our editors know it when they read it. We read, re-read, vote blindly, then vote again, and again to select what we all agree are works that speak to what is South Side, by way of literature. This is no easy task. We wish we could publish much more than we can but we have a strict page limit to follow or we would never finish editing this much loved and waited for issue every year.

Each piece has something that will resonate with the South Side that lives in any one of us who has had the pleasure or the pain of being changed in some way by the South Side—her beauty, her grit, her resilience. Whether you’ve lived here for fifty years, are just stopping though for a university stay or visiting any number of people, places and things that are uniquely us, you will find your South Side somewhere within these pages. The words we’ve compiled will take you on a journey making stops along the way at the apprehension and child-like wonder of a first day of school, and the ritual of hair combing. We’ll stop to hear the ocean in a can of seltzer and contemplate our origin and our faith. We’ll visit Kimbark Plaza and Halsted Street at midnight.  We’ll come face to foot with the clutches of a mysterious white van, and we’ll jump a fence, while good night jazz or a garden wedding ditty plays in the background. Oh the places we’ll go, all while riding along within the pitter-patter of our favorite or at least familiar South Side city bus. All aboard. The next stop is Lit.

✶ ✶ ✶ ✶


“The First Day” by Paris Smith

“Praise to the Bus Ride” by Davon Clark

“Good Night Jazz” by L.D. Barnes

“Kimbark Plaza” by McKenzie Chinn

“A Room For Rishi” by O.A. Fraser

“White Vans” by Tina Jenkins Bell

“Wedding Garden Ditty” by W.E. Pierce

“When We Jumped the Fence” by Maria Mendoza Cervantes

“Getting my hair combed” by Helen Mayer Jones


Back of the Yards Student Declare #MyHoodMyHeadline

Sailing On

A Torch That Still Burns Brightly

Bard of the Stumblebum

Filmfront Branches Out With New Bookstore

‘Welfare Queen,’ A Misnomer

Sounds From the Poetry Foundation Block Party

All About Love

Join the Conversation


  1. Hello South Side Weekly Staff!

    When (and on which platforms) will a request for submissions for next year’s Lit Issue be published? Thanks!

    —Sincerely, Tyra

    1. Hi Tyra

      A call for submissions will go out over social media and in print ads in the paper a couple months before the next Lit Issue—likely in May or June of 2020.

      Thanks for your interest

      — Sam Stecklow, Managing Editor

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