Too Hot to Handel Master Class | FREE!

Information regarding 2018-19 Too Hot programming will be available shortly.


Too Hot to Handel Poetry Contest | FREE!

Over 100 Chicagoans participated in our Too Hot Poetry Contest this year! Check out the winning poems below.

These Are the Sounds of My Community

Poet: Giselle Alencastro
Galileo Scholastic Academy

I hear the wind
Taking the leaves in different directions
I hear dogs
Barking, wanting to take ownership of the whole town
I hear youngins
Enjoying life and living for now
I hear vehicles
Coming home to unexpected memories that await them
I hear sirens
And how they take people away, Oh how I hope they’re safe
I hear planes
Taking people places they’d thought they’d never reach

These Are the Sounds of My Neighborhood

Poet: Anmarie Jones
Galileo Scholastic Academy

My neighborhood is loud, with not good sounds,
Everyday I go out hoping I’m safe,
Hoping I won’t have to submit my death time and date.
My neighborhood is fun during the day,
But when we hear shots we have nothing to say.
When I was little I heard those sounds; Hoping it was a dream from a terrible town.
We all say black lives matter; But all the lives matter even the Sox batter.
Police are trying to keep us safe,
But I think some of them are using us as bait,
We are bait to find the person who was behind the gun,
But the person is still on the run.
These are the sounds of my community,
We need to work together to build a strong unity.

Dreaming of a King Community

Poet: Jimia Payton
Spencer Academy

These are the sounds I hear around the Austin community.
I want Peace in my community, just like Dr. Martin Luther King.
I hear the birds chirping. I hear the wind blowing, “Swish, Swish, Swish.”
I see the leaves flowing “Swish, Swish, Swish.”
As the cars are passing by,
the sounds of their motors are “room rooming” while they are zoom zooming.
They are driving fast of course,
while people are cutting grass hoping that this wonderful sight will last…

The gunshots that I hear are music to my ears,
but doesn’t bring them cheers – just brings them fears,
just like when Dr. Martin Luther King was around.
We want Peace just like King wanted.
Will King’s Dream come alive in 2025?
All I hear is Abandonment, Desolate, Neglect, Reject, Forsaken, Emptiness.
King’s vision of Peace is my Hope for my community.
“Birds Chirping.” “Kids Playing Together.”
Will King’s Dream Come Alive in 2025?
“Chirp, Zoom, Room, Swish, Splash…Wow.”

These are the (new) sounds of my community!