Poetry Review: “Small Consolations” by Gary Glauber

Book Reviews, Poetry No Comments »

RECOMMENDEDsmall consolations by gary glauber

Gary Glauber’s poetry collection “Small Consolations” may, at first blush, seem a bit tame when compared to recent collections that have set the world of poetry agog. In a twelve-month span that welcomed such offerings as Claudia Rankine’s genre-defying poetry collection “Citizen,” the fluid memory poems of Saeed Jones’ “Prelude to Bruise,” and the haunting untamed animalism of Simone Muench’s “Wolf Centos,” Glauber’s assiduously crafted poems evince a wistful, guarded sensibility.
Like a bare-chested, clean-skinned preppy moshing at Lollapalooza among the sweat-glazed crush of tattooed punks and skinheads who buck every rule, “Small Consolations” harbors great lust, longing and energy, yet it knows that boundaries do not always impede creativity; they often inspire it. Read the rest of this entry »

Keepin’ It Loose: A Storytelling Series Giving Voice to a Diversity of Female Writers

Readings No Comments »
Loose Chicks 1

Roberta Miles and Jillian Erickson/Photo: Cecilia Ras

Disclaimer: I have read for Loose Chicks. So have some of my friends and associates. This is not why I would tell someone to see Loose Chicks. I would tell women writers to see Loose Chicks for an evening of intimate and artifice-free reading by a diversity of female storytellers from around Chicago. Because quite frankly, I have had it with fiction that is boring and bro-ish, and I want to hear about real life—all the better if a woman gets the mic. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Modernizing the Past: TriQuarterly’s First Issues Hit the Online Stage

Literary Journal No Comments »
Dead Christ_by Brian Bouldrey

Still image of “Dead Christ” by Brian Bouldrey

In 2010, representatives from Northwestern University’s renowned literary journal TriQuarterly announced they would make their journal available online, beginning with issue number 138. Earlier this month, Northwestern University News announced that TriQuarterly would begin uploading the first 137 issues from the past half century online as well, granting anyone access to them from virtually anywhere at anytime, free of charge. Read the rest of this entry »

News: Lee Sandlin Way—Late Chicago Author Remembered With Honorary Street Sign

Chicago Authors, News Etc. No Comments »
nina sandlin and three neighbor kids

Nina Sandlin and three neighbor children unveil the sign/Photo: Daniel O’Neil

As of Saturday, a brown street sign at the corner of North Artesian and West Wilson Avenues in Ravenswood Gardens celebrates the memory of the block’s former resident: Chicago author Lee Sandlin. Read the rest of this entry »

Transformation Through Narrative Structures: Book and Paper Artist Teresa Pankratz Talks Storytelling and Inspiration

Author Profiles, Chicago Authors No Comments »

Teresa Pankratz/Photo: Bryan Saner

Chicago 1986: Teresa Pankratz and her husband are out on the town, familiarizing themselves with their new neighborhood on the North Side shortly after moving to a new apartment. Artistically, nothing was calling out to Pankratz at the time. But then they happened upon a quaint little shop with a captivating display called Artists’ Book Works. The exhibit was so exquisite that she was immediately drawn in. There, Teresa says, she was “mesmerized by an assortment of beautifully constructed book-like objects: exotic, humorous, intriguing, absorbing.”

Since that fateful night in 1986, Pankratz has been creating small-editioned narrative sculptures and artists’ books specifically to explore the relationship between humans and familiar, domestic objects and sheltering spaces. The term “artists’ books” seems elusive but essentially refers to publications as artworks, books as a medium. Pankratz’s narrative sculptures can be seen as artists’ books as well, the key difference being she incorporates found objects within them, such as the objects in her 2007-08 piece, “The Lost/Found Portrait of Marissa Vorobia.” This work includes a handmade paper record sleeve, shoebox liner and constructed shoebox with a digitally printed lid among other objects. Read the rest of this entry »

Nonfiction Review: “The Little Magazine in Contemporary America” edited by Ian Morris and Joanne Diaz

Anthologies, Chicago Authors, Chicago Publishers No Comments »

little magazineRECOMMENDED

Starting a little magazine is like embarking on parenthood: Its founders begin with a vision, with no idea as to what it truly takes to raise their baby to adulthood, day by day. These projects are often birthed in basements, borrowed apartments and coffee shops, on shoestring budgets scraped together through small loans, donations or academic largess that these days could not feel smaller. Their goal is to make public exceptional new work by established and emerging writers. What results, in some cases, is nothing short of spectacular. In “The Little Magazine in Contemporary America” edited by Ian Morris and Joanne Diaz, twenty-three editors of influential little magazines, many still in circulation and others that have run their course, reveal the hardships and gifts inherent in creating and producing these journals. Read the rest of this entry »

Fiction Review: “Resonance” by Erica O’Rourke

Chicago Authors, Young Adult No Comments »


“Resonance” is an action-packed and emotional follow-up to Erica O’Rourke’s 2014 young adult novel, “Dissonance.” In this sequel (still set in a version of the Chicago area) we see main character Delancey Sullivan as she attempts to find her love, young Simon, as well as navigate between the Consort (for whom her parents work) and the Free Walkers (a fringe group whose goal is to expose the lies the Consort has been spinning).

As “Dissonance” established, Del is a Walker and therefore able to move through the seemingly endless number of parallel worlds. “Resonance” explores this idea even further and investigates the mechanics of what happens when Walkers leave Echoes (Echoes are versions of people from the Key, or original, world that exist in the parallel worlds) and spoiler alert: the outcome isn’t good. With its focus on the technicalities involved in Walking, “Resonance” can, at times, become bogged down in world jargon. However, this is balanced against other, emotionally grounding aspects of the book, namely Del’s evolving relationship with her grandfather Monty, her parents, and the boy she loves, Simon. Read the rest of this entry »

There Are No Myths: A Close-up on a Film Noir Icon in “The Lives of Robert Ryan”

Chicago Authors No Comments »
Ryan in "Odds Against Tomorrow" (1959)/Photo: Franklin Jarlett Collection

Ryan in “Odds Against Tomorrow” (1959)/Photo: Franklin Jarlett Collection

By Hugh Iglarsh

“Lives” indeed. It’s a fitting title for a biography of actor Robert Ryan, who lived on multiple planes, which he did his best to keep widely separated. In his richer roles, Ryan came off as conflicted and complex, his laconic exterior hinting at a volcanic and barely contained inner force. This divided quality made him the male face of film noir, the postwar cinematic mode that was all about ambivalence and moral gray areas, as Hollywood for one brief moment stopped kidding around and confronted the imperfections and contradictions of human nature and American society head on. Read the rest of this entry »

Fiction Review: “Almost Crimson” by Dasha Kelly

Chicago Authors No Comments »

RECOMMENDEDalmost crimson

“Almost Crimson,” the newest novel by Def Poetry Jam alum Dasha Kelly, traces the life of Ce-Ce, short for Crimson Celeste, a bright and capable black woman born to an out-of-frame father and a mother with crippling depression so severe that Ce-Ce assumes the role of adult as early as age five. Ce-Ce’s childhood is the sort where she has to dodge the questions of prying social workers and manage the bills her mother neglects. Read the rest of this entry »

Asking No One’s Permission: Jessica Hopper Discusses Her New Collection of Essays on Rock and Radical Feminism

Chicago Authors, Essays No Comments »
JESSICA HOPPER_2_photo by david sampson

Jessica Hopper / Photo: David Sampson

By Liz Baudler

Jessica Hopper’s byline connotes two things: vivid, confrontational description, and criticism with an unabashedly feminist and social conscience. “The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic” raucously celebrates Hopper’s multidecade career, blaring its politics with the seminal piece “Emo: Where The Girls Aren’t” and veering through rap and rock and girls and boys with joyful and incisive abandon. Read the rest of this entry »