THC Reading Series Presents Alice Vedral Rivera, Saturday, May 17 @ 7 PM

April showers bring May flowers, they say.  This month, the Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series will be casting a long, haunting shadow over those May flowers with poet Alice Vedral Rivera as our featured reader.

A frequent participant in our reading series open mic sessions as well as at our Writers Group meetings, Alice plans on reading material from her soon-to-be-released self-published collection, Shadows on the Carpet I, the first in a trilogy of darker poems. She’ll also have material from earlier collections to share. Come join us for some poetry, won’t you?

As always, the reading starts at 7 p.m. with our featured reader’s presentation. An open mic follows, and all are welcome to participate. Food and drinks will be available for purchase as well. And as a friendly reminder, Tamale Hut Cafe is located at 8300 W. Cermak Road in North Riverside.

See you on May 17!

Alice Vedral Rivera
Alice Vedral Rivera

Author Bio: Alice Vedral Rivera is Czech-American and was born in a refugee camp in Germany. She immigrated to the US with her parents when she was about 20 months old. As a child, she read anything she could get her hands on. She started writing poems in Czech at the tender age of ten at summer camp in Canada.

In the mid 1990’s, she finally gathered enough courage to share her very personal writing with more than a few friends and some of her poems were published in various anthologies. In 2005, three of her poems were included in the inaugural issue of the Poemhunter Anthology. Her first book, “Dearest and Most Precious – A Love Journal” (poetic prose) was published in 2006 by Authorhouse. Then, in 2007, Ciba & Rhythm on 22nd (the band she wrote lyrics for) released their 1st cd with her lyrics on 8 of the 12 tracks, her poem, ‘Mother of Cities’, was published in “Prague Tales” by New Europe Writers and her spoken poetry soundtrack “Intimately Yours” in collaboration with Chuck F. Berglund (who added his amazing soundscapes to her vocals) was released.

Most recently in 2012, selected poems were included as part of a charitable project by Art 4Good Foundation, Inc. and published in “Art & Time”, “Mash Up!” and “Shine”.

At the end of 2013, she published her second book, “The T. Collection: A Retrospective” (15 poems with photo art about a relationship she had in 1971). She is currently working on the “Shadows on the Carpet” trilogy (a compilation of her darker poems many of which are multi-layer relationship/social/political commentaries) and ‘The Camp Series” (about her experiences at Camp Hostyn in 1961 & 1962).

She started taking photographs and doing photo art in response to the frequently asked question, “What inspired you to write that poem?”

A past contributor to German poet Ulrike Gerbig’s forum for women (a place women could post their ideas, poems, stories, paintings, songs and photos), and a contributor to The Artist In You Blog, her commentaries, poetry, photo art, spoken word and other insights can be found on her personal blog – AVR’s Sentient Sentiments – ramblings of a passionate woman (poetry, commentary, spoken word, songs, photos), at


THC Reading Series Presents Regina Buccola, Saturday, August 3 @ 7 PM

Regina Buccola. Photo credit: Aaron Gang Photography.

Not content to rest after the Midwestern Gothic Showcase (which we’ll be hosting next Saturday, July 27), we’re happy to bring the Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series back the following weekend, on Saturday, August 3! That’s right–readings on two Saturdays in a row! I’m pleased to announce that our featured reader on August 3 will be a poet, local author Regina Buccola. Regina will be reading selections from her 2009 chapbook, Conjuring, as well as presenting material from her forthcoming collection.

As always, the reading will begin at 7 p.m., with an open mic to follow our featured reader’s presentation. Food and drink will be available for purchase, and reading nights are BYOB as well. Tamale Hut Cafe is located at 8300 W. Cermak Road in North Riverside. Hope to see you there on the 3rd! (And on the 27th! And whenever you’re in the mood for some tamales!)

Author Bio: Regina Buccola is an Associate Professor in the Department of Literature and Languages at Roosevelt University, where she serves on the creative writing faculty. Her poetry chapbook, Conjuring, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2009, and she has recently published poems in Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal and The Journal of Kentucky Studies. She also writes routinely for Chicago’s only all-political sketch comedy show, Democracy Burlesque.

THC Writers Group Meeting, Saturday, March 9!

Attention, writers! The next THC Writers Group Meeting is Saturday, March 9, at 2PM at the Tamale Hut Cafe. We are a group of local writers who meet monthly in an open forum to discuss all aspects of writing, and to provide a little constructive criticism of each other’s work. Everyone is invited, whether you work in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, scriptwriting, songwriting, or comics.

If you would like to join us, please e-mail for more information or to get on the distribution list. Or you can just drop by on the 9th at 2PM. Hope to see you there!

Achy Obejas Reads Saturday April 7th @ 7pm

Chicago's very own, Achy Obejas! (As if there's any other.)

The Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series is happy to welcome Achy Obejas Saturday April 7th.

Achy Obejas is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Ruins (Akashic Books, 2009), Days of Awe (Random House, 2001) and two other books of fiction. Her poetry chapbook, This is What Happened in Our Other Life (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2007), was both a critical favorite and a best-seller. She edited and translated, into English, Havana Noir (Akashic Books, 2007), a collection of crime stories by Cuban writers on and off the island. Her translation, into Spanish, of Junot Díaz’ The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead, 2009)/ La Breve y Maravillosa Vida de Óscar Wao (Vintage/Mondadori) was a finalist for Spain’s Esther Benítez Translation Prize from the national translator’s association. She is a member of the Editorial Board of In These Times, the editorial advisory board of the Great Books Foundation, and a blogger for

Come out and support the reading series and Achy Obejas. Open mic after the reading so bring something to read. And as always bring an appetite for Tamales, Tinga and Tall Tales.

First Reading of the Year: Janet Wondra, Saturday, January 28th 7pm

We’re back!!! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. We kick off 2012 with poet Janet Wondra. She will be reading from her new book Bad Attitude. Janet is also a professor of English at Roosevelt University.

Janet Wondra -- Photo from Finish Line Press

From the RUMFA blog:

“Janet Wondra received her M.F.A. in poetry, as well as a Ph.D. in American Literature and Film Theory from Louisiana State University. Her poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared in The Southern Review, Denver Quarterly, Michigan Quarterly Review, and The Christian Science Monitor as well as in Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction and In the Middle of the Middle West: Literary Nonfiction from the Heartland.

Wondra is also award-winning film and video maker. She has been the recepient of a writers’ residency at Yaddo and a Ragsdale Artist’s Fellowship.”
Please come out and support this wonderful writer on January 28th 2012 @ 7pm. As always, bring something for the open mic and bring an appetite.

End of the Fifth Year (Round): Another Well Executed Atomic Pile Driver of Reading Mania Success

Jenny Seay, Our Illustrious Leader and World Champion of WrestleMania 27!!!

Happy New Year, Tamale Hut friends!

It’s really mind-blowing to know that I’ve been hosting literary events here at Tamale Hut for five years already. The first time I walked in this place, the only thing on my mind was getting food. I had absolutely no idea that I was about to receive Jaime’s patented warm welcome – that I had stumbled into an environment that would soon begin to feel like a second home. I had no idea, but then I accepted Jaime’s friendly invitation to join his art reception and got to know him and his wife Lizet. I realized that I had discovered a special place and special people.

That’s when my vision hit. I saw an arts gathering of my own making, nothing too concrete – just a group of my writer friends filling these tables, eating tamales and telling stories, being nourished by both.

The fact that I’ve been able to take that vision and run with it thanks to Jaime’s support and encouragement, and now with Bernie’s help, is something that I am tremendously proud of.

Not only have I been able to honor my writer friends and writers I admire by giving them a vehicle for showcasing their work, but I’ve also had the great fortune of meeting writers and musicians and performers I might have never known. I’ve made meaningful connections. I’ve told my own stories. I’ve built a community where words matter. And not just matter, but take front and center stage.

I never imagined when I hosted our first reading in January 2007 that I had started something that would sustain itself as long as it has. I never anticipated that I would get as much back, if not more so, than I put in. I never dreamed that I would come to feel so valued, both as a writer and as an arts organizer.

But all of those things have happened. And THC Presents has now become something I look forward to, something I depend on. No matter what else is going on I know that I can walk in here and feel like I have a place, a purpose. Words cannot express how grateful I am for that and for all of you. But I’ll say thank you, all the same. Thank you and here’s to another five years of awesomeness.

Hope your holidays were bright and I wish you all a happy, healthful and productive New Year!

Jenny Seay

Artistic Director of Tamale Hut Cafe Presents Reading Series

MFA/MA Open Reading Invitation May 21st @ 7pm

Image from Onlinecollege.orgs "15 Most Famous Cafes in the Literary World" (soon to be 16 with The Tamale Hut Cafe).

It’s the end of the the school year and to celebrate we are holding our first ever open invitational specifically for MFA/MA students, graduates and creative writing professors (adjuncts included) on May 21st.

Bring your university ID (current or former, faculty or student) and you will be able to purchase 2 tamales and get one 1 free! As always, BYOB.

For many in the know, Tamale Hut Cafe is the literary cafe of the Near Western Suburbs as well as the nexus for all art happenings.

Email us at thcreadingseries (at) yahoo DOT com and tell us if you are interested in attending.

Frank Rogaczewski Reads This Saturday @ 7pm

Image from a Borders closing. Truly The Fate of Humanity in Verse

Given the title of Frank Rogaczewski’s book The Fate of Humanity in Verse we couldn’t help but post this photo from a recent Borders closing posted on But while Borders fades into the distance, Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series is booming, so it can’t all bad. Right? Right?

So naysayers, soothsayers, sayersayers and nosayers alike, come on down and celebrate the Literary Apocalypse with us this Saturday, April 16th @ 7pm, when Frank will read his poetry; some new, some old, some prophetic, but all good. Oh, and, you can buy his latest book for $10. Open mic as always and don’t forget the tinga and tamales!

I’m telling you, if Borders had tamales and tinga, like we do, they wouldn’t be in this mess. Because once you pair tamales and good reading, there’s no going back; you’re hooked for life.