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October 2005

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By Richard Frisbie

        Israel's disengagement from Gaza is merely "letting the prisoners run the jail," Gregory Harms said in his explanation of U.S. Mideast policy at the Oct. 11 SMA meeting in the Chicago Athletic Association. Israel will still control Gaza's airspace, seacoast, borders and economy.
        Like the late I.F. Stone, who made a career of exposing government lies by reading the fine print in public documents, Harms has followed paper trails through the thickets of the U.S., U.N. and Israeli politics.
        He said that while Israel has withdrawn its settlers from Gaza, it continues to move new settlers into the West Bank, which has water and arable land. He believes the purpose is to "freeze" progress toward a Palestinian state.
        He said the Middle East as we know it, with the nations of Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, was created by Britain and France from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire. He traced an expansion of the Monroe Doctrine to Theodore Roosevelt, who assumed a sort of police power over governments in Latin America, justifying interference in their internal affairs. Under Eisenhower, this all came together when the U.S. turned the Middle East into U.S. protectorate.
        In recent years all U.S. administrations have favored Israel as a U.S. outpost. The idea that we're spreading democracy in the region is "for U.S. consumption."
        He reminded his audience, somewhat larger than usual despite competition from the first game of the White Sox-Angels series, that our C.I.A. overthrew a progressive legitimate government in Iran and installed the Shah as dictator (a point made in detail at a previous SMA meeting in March, 2003, by Stephen Kinzer, New York Times correspondent).
        Harms, co-author (with Todd M. Ferry) of The Palestine-Israel Conflict: A Basic Introduction (London: Pluto Press, 2005) and freelance writer and independent researcher, has traveled throughout Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
        While there in 2002 in preparation for the book, Harms spent time with people and families in Israel and the refugee camps in Gaza, as well as meeting with journalists and human rights workers. In Ramallah, West Bank, he attended a small press meeting with the late president of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat.
        Harms did not mention Palestinian attacks on Israelis, except to say that violence leads to more violence, and what reduces violence is the redress of grievances.
        He said he plans to return to the area soon and resume learning Arabic.

        We have heard from Dr. Larry E. Stanfel of Montana, who writes: 'I am interested in biographical information on one of your past presidents, Franklin J. Meine, especially his publication of Helen West Heller's 1928 woodcut book, Migratory Urge, and any other connections he may have had to that artist. I would be grateful for anything you could tell me about him or any better sources you might suggest."
        His E-mail address is and his address is P.O. Box 348, Roundup, Mont. 59072. (No "t" in direcway.)

By Carol Jean Carlson

        Third World Press recently announced the release of the autobiography of the early life of Haki R. Madhubuti, YellowBlack: The First Twenty-One Years of a Poet s Life—A Memoir. The book chronicles Madhubuti's years as Don Lee, living in the dangerous neighborhoods of Detroit's Blackbottom and Chicago's Westside in a single-parent family.
        Madhubuti says the things that saved him were the music of Motown, Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong. He also discovered Black literature.
        Madhubuti doesn't tell his story in straight narrative form, but rather uses prose, poetry and "the beautiful free jazz."
        Madhubuti is a poet, publisher, educator, lecturer, institution builder and community activist. He is currently director of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at Chicago State University.
        This is the 27th book that Madhubuti has either written or edited.

        Scott Turow turns from the courtroom to the battlefield in his new book, Ordinary Heroes (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). Retired newsman Stewart Dubinsky (a character in Turow's Presumed Innocent, 1987) discovers the papers of his late father, a JAG lawyer attached to Patton s Third Army. Written during his father's tour
of duty in WWII, the material releases a string of secrets. There are love letters written to a fiancee unknown to the family and a manuscript written in prison that reveals the father's court-martial for aiding in the escape of an OSS officer and suspected spy.
        The journey Dubinsky makes in piecing together his father's past is first one of curiosity, then life-changing. As Publishers Weekly warns, this is a book best started on a Friday night.


Almost Book of the Month
        Kathleen Long Bostrom reports the following books published this year:
        October: Finding Calm in the Chaos: Christian Devotions for Busy Women, Westminster John Knox Press, and Josie's Gift, Broadman & Holman.
        August: The Day Scooter Died, Zonderkidz.
        April: The Secret of the 12 Days of Christmas, KiwE Publishing.

Incredible Sequel
        In May, St. Martin's Press is bringing out a sequel to James Conroyd Martin's earlier book, Push Not The River. It told of the incredible events that befell Countess Anna Maria Berezowska and her beloved Poland in the late l8th century. The working title of the new book, which picks up where the first left off, is Against a Crimson Sky.

Busy Poet
        Michelle True reports a busy upcoming schedule after publishing his third book of poetry, True Identities, in September, with e-book and audio book versions too. He also published audio book versions of his first two poetry books, True Reflections and True Emotions.
        In October, comes an anthology of poetry written by members of Poetic License, the writers' group he founded in 2003.
        On Oct. 26 and April 26, 2006, Poetic License Writers Group will perform a public poetry reading at Indian Trails Library in Wheeling, Ill.
        In March and April, 2006, he will speak on "How to Get Your Poetry Published" for the "Inside Writing and Publishing" free seminars presented in affiliation with the North Suburban Library System, which offer people an opportunity to meet with authors to learn how to sharpen their writing skills and get their work published.

"A" Is For Apple
        Glennette Tilley Turner has sold a new picture book titled An Apple for Harriet Tubman.

Anti-War Poems Performed
        Patricia Monaghan's book, Homefront, a series of autobiographical anti-war poems, will be published in November to coincide with a musical performance of the poems, set to music by folk composer Michael Smith and sung by vocalist Jamie O Reilly, as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival.
        Poems in the collection have been included in the anthology, Poets Against the War (The Nation Books), and featured in the film, Voices in Wartime.
        Information about the publication can be found at

"Love and Common Sense"
        Raeann Berman's new book, Caring for Your Aging Parents, was just published by Champion Press. In its two former versions published by Surrey Books in 1998 and 2001, the book was titled How to Survive Your Aging Parents.
        The book covers adult children's guilt and anxiety, methods of helping parents enjoy life as they age, what to do about Dad who keeps having auto accidents, when to offer help and how to do it with love and common sense.

"Electrifying Interviewer"
Donna Seaman was the subject of a long article in the Chicago Sun-Times calling attention to the quality of her Open Books radio show on WLUP, Chicago, and the new book derived from it: Writers on the Air: Conversations About Books
        Henry Kisor, Sun-Times literary editor praised her "skill at shaping transcripts," creating pieces that range from "absorbing" to "electrifying."
        An editor at Booklist, she interviews "literary writers not mass-market pulpmeisters."
Besides her radio accomplishments, Kisor added, she has assembled a book that's "extraordinarily readable."
        Seaman will be a featured guest at the Writers and Readers Ball, Oct. 29, a benefit for WLUP, at Martyr's, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago.

Reporter Advises Mystery Writers
        Maurice Possley, award-winning criminal justice reporter for the Chicago Tribune, will speak at the Oct. 19 meeting of the Midwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America.
        He has covered such stories as the trial of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, the case against Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski and the investigation of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.
        He is co-author of The Brown's Chicken Massacre and Everybody Pays, a book about the Chicago mob.
Edits Anthology on Love
        Whitney Scott has edited Falling in Love Again: Love the Second Time Around, the 10th in the annual anthology series from Outrider Press of Dyer, Ind. It has been called a "diverse and thought-provoking collection of poetry and short stories exploring the joy and surprise of old love rekindled, forgotten friendships restored and old haunts rediscovered.
        "This invigorating and impressive collection showcases 59 contributors from around the world, all members of the TallGrass Writers Guild."


By Tom Frisbie

Jay Bonansinga
        Author of 10 books, as well as two screenplays in development. His novels include Twisted, , Oblivion, The Sleep Police, Blood Hound, Head Case, The Killer's Game, Sick and The Black Mariah. Frozen became a national bestseller in its second week of release.
        The Sinking of the Eastland (nonfiction) received a Superior Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society. He was a finalist for a Brian Stoker Award for best first novel and was awarded the silver plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival for his screenwriting. His books have been translated into 10 languages.
        The Chicago Tribune said: "Jay Bonansinga has quickly and firmly established himself as one of the most imaginative writers of thrillers. His twisting narratives, with their in-your-face glimpses of violence, are set in an unstable, almost psychotic universe that makes the work of many of his contemporaries look rather tame."
        The holder of a master's degree in film from Columbia College Chicago, Bonansinga lives in Evanston with his wife and two sons. He is a visiting professor at Northwestern University's Creative Writing for the Media program.

John Knoerle
        In the early 1970s, Knoerle was a member of the DeLuxe Radio Theatre comedy troupe in Santa Barbara. He moved to Los Angeles and worked as stand-up comic, opening for the likes of Jay Leno and Robin Williams. He wrote several screenplays, including Quiet Fire, which starred Karen Black and Lawrence Hilton Jacobs.
        He wrote the stage play The He-Man Woman Hater's Club, a Los Angeles Times Critic's Choice. He also was fiction editor of Mystery magazine in the early 1980s and, in 1996-97, a staff writer for Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion.
        John moved to Chicago in 1996 with his wife, Judie, and published Crystal Meth Cowboys in 2003. His novel, The Violin Player, won the 2003 Mayhaven Publishing Fiction Contest.
        He is currently at work on Two Jacks, a crime novel set in Cleveland in 1945.

Rita Emmett
Professional speaker, consultant and author of three books: The Procrastinator's Handbook: Mastering The Art of Doing It Now, The Procrastinating Child: A Handbook For Adults To Help Children Stop Putting Things Off and The Clutter-Busting Handbook:
Clean It Up, Clear It Out, and Keep Your Life Clutter-Free
. She was an adjunct faculty member at Triton and Chicago City Colleges for more than 15 years.

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