The Collective

not a tenth but whole // not half but whole // say whole // say whole // say only way we get free is if us all get free

photo by Zakkiyyah Najeebah

photo by Zakkiyyah Najeebah



We fuse lyrical, narrative, and hip-hop poetry with original music and soundscape to create spoken word performance that is greater than the sum of its parts. 



Growing Concerns Poetry Collective began in January 2017 in an apartment above a flowershop in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. Within a year, we'd perform at venues and with organizations across Chicago including the Museum of Contemporary Art and WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. In August 2017, we recorded our inaugural album WE HERE: Thank You For Noticing. In January 2018, we published our first book, Five Fifths.



Mykele Deville

Mykele is a rapper, poet, curator, and actor from the west side of Chicago. His solo hip-hop and poetic recordings include Peace, Fam (2017), Each One Teach One (2016), and Super Predator (2016). He has performed on stages across Chicago and led workshops on hip-hop and identity in the midwest and Portland. His work has been profiled in the Chicago Tribune, The Reader, Consequence of Sound, Vocalo radio, and NPR radio.


McKenzie Chinn

McKenzie is a poet, actor, and teaching artist whose work has appeared in PANK, Crab Fat Magazine, The Fem, Juked, Sundog Lit, and others. She has performed her poetry and worked as an actor on stages across Chicago and in Washington, DC, as well as on film and television.


Jeffrey Michael Austin

Jeffrey is an interdisciplinary artist, musician and educator based in Chicago. Austin currently produces music with Growing Concerns Poetry Collective, and his visual artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally, recently including such venues as Société d'Électricité (Brussels), The Luminary (St. Louis), Chicago Artists Coalition, Hyde Park Art Center, Ed Paschke Art Center, Le Carreau de Cergy (Paris), Kunstenfestival Watou (Belgium), The University of North Texas Art Galleries, Lehr Zeitgenössische Kunst (Berlin), The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Fondation Vasarely (Aix-en-Provence), The Mission, The Franklin, and Manifold, a partner of ACRE Artist Residency. Austin studied at Columbia College Chicago and the Burren College of Art in Ireland before eventually receiving his BFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.