Chicago performance poet Andy Karol proves that passion pulsing from heart to voice wins audiences over every time. Their work largely focuses on the topics of gender, sexuality, parenting, mental illness, inspiration, and love. Rich in imagery and rawness, Andy’s voice connects to the senses that remind you of where you’ve been and who you are.

Andy is the 2017 Grand Slam Champion of the Chicago Slam Works’ competition and will be competing as a team member at the 2017 National Poetry Slam in Denver, Colorado. In June of 2017, Andy competed as an indie poet at the Rustbelt Poetry Festival. They also represented their hometown at the 2016 National Poetry Slam in Decatur, Georgia and the 2015 National Poetry Slam in Oakland, California as a member of the Mental Graffiti and Lethal Poetry slam teams.

Performance poetry has catapulted Andy to many nationwide destinations. Performing both solo shows and with the ensemble Cometry in 2016—2017, Andy has taken the stage at colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, and conferences. Schools continue to bring Andy back for their annual Writers’ Week celebrations, where Andy shares poems and inspires students to follow their own aspirations. As a teaching artist, Andy has also taught spoken word to students in northwest Indiana in 2016 through a generous grant provided by the Indiana Arts Initiative.

Andy has published two chapbooks: Paperboy (2016) and Fail-Safe (2014).

Andy is no stranger to stages all around Chicago, having performed at the Green Mill’s Uptown Poetry Slam (now the Uptown Poetry Cabaret), Poetry Foundation (with the Speakeasy Ensemble), Northwestern University (at the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing), Loyola University (alongside poet Emily Calvo), Center on Halsted, Women & Children First Bookstore, Chicago Public Library (various locations), Salonathon, LitMash, CAKE, In One Ear, Gallery Cabaret, Homolatte, Spilled Milk Open Mic, Brass Monkey Brunch, Surviving the Mic, The Elevator Sessions, Waiting 4 the Bus, and also several gallery and business openings. 

In 2015, Andy opened for musician Ellis at SPACE in Evanston and performed in a poetry-dance piece at the Joffrey Tower as part of the Dance Chance Redux: 6.0 show. In 2014, Andy was selected as a semi-finalist in the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards.

Websites, public radio, and podcasts such as IndieFeed: Performance Poetry, Poetry Spoken Here, Poet at the End of the World, and Wisconsin Public Radio, to name a few, have featured Andy’s work and interviews. They were also featured in the 2015 Northwestern graduate documentary, Where the Words Grow, directed by Yu Sun Chin and Joyce Lee.

When Andy’s not writing or performing, they are running their photography business, enjoying all of the things with their son, Noah, and trying to make some peaceful sense out of city living.