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March 2003

THE TRUTH ABOUT IRAN

        Who: Stephen Kinzer, a New York Times correspondent living in Oak Park, Ill., has covered stories in more than 50 countries on four continents. His newest book, All the Shah's Men: The Hidden Story of the CIA's Coup in Iran, is the first full history of the CIA's 1953 coup in Iran. The consequences of that coup are very much with us today. The book will be published by John Wiley & Sons in August.
        Other books by Kinzer include Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds (2001), Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua (1991) and Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala (1990, co-authored with Stephen C. Schlesinger, John H. Coatsworth, and Richard A. Nuccio).

        Where: Chicago Athletic Assn., 12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago

        When: Tuesday, March 11
6 p.m. social hour, 7 p.m. program.

        Reservations NOT needed. Public invited. Hors d'oeuvres, wine and soft drinks, reception and presentation: $10 for members, $15 for non-members.
For information, call Matt Smolek at C.A.A. 312/236-7500, Ext. 2113.
        

PERFORMING POETS HEAT UP A COLD FEBRUARY NIGHT
By R. Craig Sautter

        A cold wind with swirling snow blew outside the Chicago Athletic Association during the February meeting. But inside, SMA members and a large contingent of high-school-student guests from Joliet were treated to a hot show as three skilled performance poets from EM Press regaled them with torrents of verbal acrobatics.
        In a repeat performance of a successful SMA meeting last year, poets Mike Kadela, George David Miller and Regie Gibson demonstrated why performance poetry has revitalized the ancient literary art for contemporary listeners.
        EM Press is operated by SMA members Mark Eleveld and Ron Maruszak.
        Mike Kadela, a DePaul Theater School graduate, led the way with several poems of playful and cascading sound patterns from his 2001 book, 1 Hundred Hiccups.
        Kadela, who represented the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge at the 2000 National Poetry Slam, energetically presented his complicated alliterations from memory, taking listeners on a pleasant excursion of sound and image that elicited strong applause from his listeners.
Kadela told the audience that his work has been influenced by experimental poets such as e.e. cummings,
and that he practices his presentations like an actor learning his lines, and tries to perform at least once a week during the year.
        George David Miller is a philosopher by profession and the author of six books of philosophy on topics ranging from aesthetics to ethics. His performance stage stretches from the college classroom, where he was named the 1997 "Illinois Professor of the Year," to the clubs where he recites his poetic work.
        While Kadela delighted his audience with confusing linguistic contortions, Miller, author of Children of Kosen Rufu (2001), paralyzed them with emotionally draining narratives of everyday tragedy, such as the rape of a child.
        The audience felt the penetrating power of his agonized voice and the relentless logic of his tense poetic arguments, and applauded his presentation, also performed from memory.
        Regie Gibson, author of Storms Beneath the Skin (2001), traveled from Boston to entertain the SMA audience. His interest in musicians such as Jimmy Hendrix and various jazz virtuosos, and his own experience as a percussionist were evident in both the topics and style of his poems.
        Gibson's syncopated presentation was sometimes supported by the back beat of his hands rapping against the podium. His lines leaped through the room with verbal agility, and his images illuminated his listeners with his engaged intelligence. By the end of his performance, Gibson clearly demonstrated why he was named the 1998 National Poetry Slam Individual Champion.


MORE FUND DONORS


        The Society thanks John Callaway and Lila Weinberg for their contributions to the Awards Fund, and Marietta Marcin and Jules Steinberg for a donation in memory of Jane Mayer.

MEMBER NEWS

Fradin Book Factory
        Judy Fradin writes, "I'd like to update you on some Fradin enterprises. Dennis' book, The Signers (Walker), debuted in Philadelphia last October. This book tells the story of the American Revolution via mini-biographies of the men who risked all to sign the Declaration of Independence. It was recently honored as an ALA Best Book.
        "Two other Fradin books also came out last year--Who Was Sacagawea? and Who Was Ben Franklin? These PenguinPutnam paperback biographies are geared for second through fifth graders.
        "We are, however, most excited about our soon-to-be-published Fight On! Mary Church Terrell's Battle for Integration (Clarion).
        "This book should come out any day now, and we have high hopes for its reception."

New Book on Old Neighborhoods
        Neal Samors and Michael Williams, co-authors of two recent Chicago neighborhood histories, have a new book out about life in Chicago during the 1940s.
        The Old Chicago Neighborhood: Remembering Life in the 1940s includes essays by Alderman Edward M. Burke, novelist Father Andrew Greeley, former Alderman Leon Despres, sports writers Bill Gleason and Bill Jauss and journalists Jon Hahn and Sandy Pesmen.
        There are also interviews with Norman Mark, Jack Mabley, Hugh Hefner, Dan Rostenkowski, Ramsey Lewis, Ann Gerber, Johnny Frigo, Andy Pafko, Billy Pierce, Ed Kelly, Steve Zucker and Ray Meyer, as well as 100 other Chicagoans.
        A Chicago neighborhood in the 1940s, they write, was self-contained, "a small town within the city where all the necessities of daily life could be found within walking distance."
        From sleeping outside on a hot summer night to playing baseball in the street, the book captures the spirit of the time with more than 100 duotone images and stories from over 125 Chicagoans.

"Astonishingly Beautiful"
        The title novella, Bridge of Sighs (Story Line Press), forms the centerpiece of an "astonishingly beautiful collection" of short stories by Paulette Roeske.
        This tribute came from Linda Swanson-Davies, editor of Glimmer Train. She added: "Her characters and their struggles are real, their interactions believable, and her word choices transform the letters on the page into involving story almost immediately."
        Roeske has written several collections of poetry, winning the Carl Sandburg Award for Divine Attention.
        
A professor emerita from the College of Lake County (Ill.), she divides her time between Evanston and Evansville, Ind., where she teaches at the University of Southern Indiana.

Heads Mystery Writers
        David J. Walker, a former SMA board member, has been elected president of the Midwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America.
        Walker is an attorney and author of the Malachy Foley and Wild Onion mystery series.

Hall of Fame Journalist
        Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune writer and WGN radio host, will be inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame on March 28 at a dinner in the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel.
        Similarly honored will be Lerone Bennet Jr., editor of Ebony; Jay Bushinsky, former Chicago Sun-Times columnist, now of the Jerusalem Post; Basil Talbot, syndicated columnist, formerly of the Sun-Times, and Mike Wallace, star of CBS' 60 Minutes, who began his radio career in Chicago.

D'Amato Interviewed
        The Northwestern University alumni magazine recently devoted a full page to an interview with mystery writer Barbara D'Amato.

New Book Resists
Tyranny of Clock

        Gary Eberle, an SMA fiction award finalist, has a new book out, Sacred Time and Search for Meaning (Shambhala).
        He's tentatively scheduled to talk about it in June at the Jung Institute in Evanston.
        The book presents an intellectual history of time–"how we came to measure time and why we feel starved for it now."
        He offers advice on how to "free ourselves a little bit from the tyranny of the clock and rediscover the slower rhythms of soul time that lie dormant within us."
        Eberle, author of several other acclaimed books, both fiction and nonfiction, heads the English department at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

New "History-Mystery"
        Harriette Gillem Robinet's ninth "history-mystery" book for young people, Twelve Travelers, Twenty Horses (Atheneum, Simon and Schuster), starts in1860.
        "A lawyer named Abraham Lincoln is running for president; the Pony Express is holding California in the Union; the telegraph is expanding westward; the South is threatening to secede; and a young master and his pregnant wife travel west with ten slaves.
        "Bought at an auction with eight other slaves, Jacob and Chloe--both about 13--suspect that the new master could be a thief and a murderer."
        Her previous books have earned numerous awards, including the SMA children's fiction award for The Twins, the Pirates and the Battle of New Orleans.


FINAL CHAPTERS


        Karen Zeinert, SMA has learned, died last August of lymphoma. She was the author of more than two dozen nonfiction books for young people, mostly on historical topics. She resided in Neenah, Wis.

Publishing Party
        For a chance to mingle with publishers and editors as well as other writers, consider dropping in at the Bar Louie in Dearborn Station, 47 W. Polk St., from 6 to 9 p.m., on Thursday, March 6.
        It's a cash-bar open house organized by the Independent Publishers Group, Academy Chicago Publishers, Chicago Review Press, Ivan R. Dee, Newcity, Publishers Weekly and Triumph Books.
        
Expanding Agent
        Literary License has heard from a Michigan-based literary agent that she's seeking to expand.
        Michele Glance Rooney, a former newspaper reporter and freelance magazine writer, claims 14 years of experience as a literary agent.
        She says, "We are interested in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Our main requirement is that a manuscript be compelling and have a clearly defined audience.
        Send query letters, sample chapters and brief biographies to Rooney at Creative Literary Agency, P.O. Box 506, Birmingham, MI 48012.


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