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 »

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 »

resonanceRECOMMENDED

“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 »

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 »

Chicago Racist: The Cautionary Tale of “Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead”

Memoir No Comments »

Romantic-Violence-Large-RGBOne evening last month, I listened to a former white supremacist warning that America’s biggest terrorist threat came from home-grown hatemongers. He and his audience at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square had no idea that at that hour in Charleston, a white gunman was ending the lives of nine worshippers in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Read the rest of this entry »

Looking at Longing: Chicago Poet Sandra Marchetti Debuts with “Confluence”

Chicago Authors, Poetry No Comments »
S. Marchetti

Sandra Marchetti/Photo: Scott Semple

Sandra Marchetti’s debut collection of poems, “Confluence,” is an intimate and carefully wrought look at longing and the relationship between person and place. In the opening poem, “Never-Ending Birds,” Marchetti establishes some of the themes that will reoccur throughout her collection. In this poem the divide between the narrator and the birds she observes is blurred: “I plume to watch, freshed in the ground;/ they ring the trees as their own/ sweet planets” and “… The swallows so close, beat; I let them scrim/my stance, twist neatly solar./ I swallow, lift my chest where the freckles/ crack, where wet wings gleam.” Read the rest of this entry »

Nonfiction Review: “Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science” by Alice Dreger

Book Reviews, Chicago Authors, Nonfiction No Comments »

galileo coverRECOMMENDED

“Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science” is a strange mix of disheartening, enraging and uplifting. It’s the subject matter—scientific controversy—not Northwestern professor and medical historian Alice Dreger’s writing style, which reads like a good lecture.

For readers who want science to arbitrate fairly where humans fall short, it’s enlightening yet perhaps not shocking to see that a fucked-up moral algorithm of politically correct narrative and personal grudges can dictate inquiry into medical procedure.

Dreger deftly balances human stories with anecdotes of actual scientific harm being perpetrated by activists and journalists silencing those with less-than-ideal but scientifically sound theses. She beats a roughly chronological path, starting with her involvement in the intersex movement, then detouring into elaborate research projects in which she defends sexologist J. Michael Bailey and Napoleon Chagnon, and concludes with a relatively unstudied medical treatment prescribed to pregnant mothers. Read the rest of this entry »

Poetry Review: “Traces of Time” by Lucio Mariani

Poetry No Comments »

traces of timeRECOMMENDED

Lucio Mariani is an Italian poet who lives in Rome. Born in 1936, his first volume of poetry “Indagine di possibilità” was launched in 1972. He has published eleven more poetry books since then, and has gained recognition as a translator and essayist. “Traces of Time,” translated into English by Anthony Molino, is a survey that covers the entirety of Mariani’s work specifically drawn from a collection titled “Farfalla e segno: Poesie scelte 1972-2009” (Crocetti 2010).

Only about three percent of all books published in the US are works in translation. Sadly, only about point seven percent of those translations are fiction and poetry. That an English-speaking audience has access to Mariani’s work, thanks to Open Letter Books, is cause for celebration in itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Big-Hearted and Bawdy: Tony Fitzpatrick’s “Dime Stories” Speaks Truth to Power

Anthologies, Art Books, Book Reviews, Chicago Authors, Essays No Comments »
TONY FITZPATRICK

Tony Fitzpatrick/Photo: Paul Elledge

By Amy Friedman

“Whatever you do in this life, make sure you’re the only one who can do it,” Tony Fitzpatrick’s father advised him in the third grade, and hell if he didn’t listen. Artist, author and actor are but a few of his titles, and there’s no doubt that no one can do what Tony does.

“Dime Stories,” the soon-to-be-released foul-mouthed, straight-talk collection of Fitzpatrick’s Newcity columns speaks truth to power, and we’d be wise to heed its warnings and take its advice. Fitzpatrick rails against waste, criticizes the sellout of our political institutions to big money, laments the proliferation of mass shootings and parses various other elements that lead to injustice. These essays examine with sharp focus and acerbic wit our true nature and that of our changing city, rife with new dangers and old problems. Read the rest of this entry »

Anthology Review: “Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula” edited by Ronald Riekki

Anthologies No Comments »

ReikkiCompFinal.indd

RECOMMENDED

One of summer’s delights is to leave here and travel there. The thirty-six authors whose poems and stories are collected in “Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula” fully dwell in the very diverse personal, natural and cultural landscapes of the Upper Peninsula, and they will guide you through this undiscovered country.

If your idea of the Upper Peninsula is a cabin in the woods, you will certainly find lakes and streams and trees in Ronald Riekki’s anthology, but be prepared to visit cow barns and technical colleges, cozy trailers and stripped living rooms, barrooms and gas stations. Read the rest of this entry »