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Writer, Essayist, Poet, Chicago Historian

Patrick T Reardon

Patrick T. Reardon’s poetry has appeared in many journals, including America, Poetry East, Rhino, Main Street Rag, Calla, After Hours, Autumn Sky, Solum Literary Press, Burningword Literary Journal, The Write Launch, Meat for Tea and Under a Warm Green Linden. His poem “The archangel Michael” was a finalist for the 2022 Mary Blinn Poetry Prize.

He is the author of twelve books, including:


His next book and fifth collection of poetry Salt of the Earth: Doubts and Faith is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in the fall of 2023.  In addition, he has written one or more chapters in several books, including the following:

  • Chicago Days: 150 Defining Moments in the Life of a Great City, edited by Stevenson O. Swanson and produced by the Chicago Tribune staff (1997).
  • An Irrepressible Hope: Notes from Chicago Catholics, edited by Claire Bushey (2012)
  • Old Comiskey Park: Essays and Memories of the Historic Home of the Chicago White Sox, 1910-1991, edited by Floyd Sullivan (2014).
  • The Way of Suffering: Readings for an Enlightened Life, edited by Michael Leach, James T. Keane and Doris Goodnough (2020)
  • The Way of Love: Readings for a Meaningful Life, edited by Michael Leach, Doris Goodnough and Maria Angelini (2022).

From 1976 through 2009, Reardon was the urban affairs writer and a feature writer at the Chicago Tribune. During his 32-year career at the newspaper, he specialized in writing about social issues, public policy questions and the interconnections within the Chicago region.

He was the primary reporter and team leader on a wide variety of in-depth multi-part series on such subjects as the urban underclass, public housing, Chicago’s public school system, the middle-class migration out of the city, the rebirth of the Chicago River, the inner workings of a ward boss’s organization, the social and cultural shifts behind the disappearance of the city’s taverns, the surprising importance of alleys in the life of the city, and the emotional, cultural and historical factors behind suburban sprawl. As a team leader, he has won three Peter Lisagor Awards from the Chicago chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for reporting. In addition, his book reviews won two Lisagors for arts criticism.

Reardon was one of a team of fifty Tribune reporters, photographers and editors who won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting for “Gateway to Gridlock,” a series of stories about the nation’s over-crowded skies.

During his career, Reardon used his expertise in social policy, demographics, statistics, community organizing, Chicago politics, Chicago history, the geography of the city and region, the city’s literature, the multiplicity of governments in the region, real estate development, religion and the history of the nation and world to hold a mirror up to the people of the metropolitan region. His goal has always been to help people understand where they’d been, where they were and where they were going.

While at the Tribune, he wrote more than 200 book reviews and profiled such writers as Gay Talese, Haki Madhubuti, Sandra Cisneros, Patrick O’Brian, Richard Russo, Robert Caro, John Keegan, Antonia Fraser, P.D. James and Roddy Doyle.

He has written for a variety of publications, including the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, National Catholic Reporter, U.S. Catholic, the Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, the Chicago Reader, Health Progress, Reality, Streetwise and Illinois Heritage.

More praise for Patrick T. Reardon’s writing:

The Loop is simply great fun! Patrick T. Reardon takes his reader on a wild ride through the construction of the Loop as well as the ways Chicagoans think about it.” — Ann Durkin Keating, author of The World of Juliette Kinzie: Chicago before the Fire.

“Detail by razor-sharp detail, perception by vivid perception, recollection by haunting recollection, Patrick T. Reardon’s Requiem for David gathers into the force of a cri de coeur.” — Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago.

“In Darkness on the Face of the Deep, Patrick T. Reardon’s poems grapple with the depths—ours. His poems take us on Job’s journey. There are writers who risk such paths: Franz Wright, Rilke, Mary Karr, and Patrick Kavanaugh, for example. But few dare such vulnerability for fear of getting lost in wrestling with their own inner doubts and demons. In short, Reardon goes there.” — Renny Golden, Third Coast Review.

“The poems [in Requiem for David] are so raw, simple and direct as they grapple with broken lives that many of them are difficult to read. Reardon’s writing is spare and not rooted in images so much as a cascade of feelings. He describes two kinds of communion he had with his brother: “We were skin of blood, blood of blood./ We were the same raw slash.” And, later, “Your death/ Your death/ Tore me/ Open like/ The baby/ Was coming/ Out.” — Joe Hoover, America magazine.

“I have never read a book like Puddin’, and I’ve read tens of thousands of them….It is unique.  It is heartfelt.  It is remarkable, in a word…One comes out of this book, as I did, unable to look at a baby the same way again, if not to interrogate every baby I see, ‘What are you thinking?’ You’ll be able to read it in an hour, and it’ll change your life in ways small and perhaps even large.” — Rick Kogan, WGN-radio and Chicago Tribune.