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 »
One 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 »
Midsummer is a special time in Chicago. Each weekend seems to host another festival, another fair, taste, or block party. But for all of the book lovers in this city, The Newberry Book Fair is surely one of the most anticipated. This year marks the thirty-first year of the four-day book fair. Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this week, the Guild Literary Complex announced the semi-finalists for their twenty-second Annual Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award, an accolade that Brooks started twenty-two years ago to celebrate poets from all over Illinois. During an open call for submissions in June, the Guild received 120 poems from writers from across sixty-six zip codes, competing for the $600 prize. Twenty out of the original pool have made it to the final round, which will be held on July 22 at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at 7pm. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
“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 »
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 »
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 »
Artist: Marc Palm
Chicago stand-ups Mike Lebovitz, Stephanie Hasz, Katie McVay and others will perform in the critically acclaimed traveling comedy show Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction at North Bar, 1637 West North Avenue, tonight at 8pm as part of the Comedy Exposition of 2015. Read the rest of this entry »
M.L. Liebler/Photo: Mandi Wright
By Amy Danzer
Rare is the writer who has an easy time of it making money or getting their name out there. Writers are often grossly underpaid, uncomfortable about self-promoting and already juggling too much to take on extra work that does not pay. When money for the arts is especially hard to come by, as is the case in Detroit or anywhere really these days, it’s a particularly special thing to have someone like M.L. Liebler in one’s corner.
Poet and professor at Wayne State University, director of The Ridgeway Press, and co-editor of the Made in Michigan Writers Series, M.L. Liebler has an extensive history of organizing programs to bring community together to support the literary arts in Detroit and has created opportunities, paid opportunities, for writers’ voices to be heard for decades. Read the rest of this entry »