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Literary License Newsletter heading

March 2005

By R. Craig Sautter
        SMA will once again participate in the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Book Fair, billed as the largest free literary event in the Midwest. This year it's scheduled for Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12 (not the first weekend as in former years). SMA authors will be able to showcase and sell their books.
        SMA members can reserve space for $25 to help defray the costs. The exact times and location will be forthcoming. But reservations are being accepted for space on a first-come, first-served basis. Authors will be responsible for bringing their own books, selling them, collecting the money and taking away any unsold copies afterwards. Participants must remain in the booth for the duration of their assigned times.
        SMA will schedule times based on the number of responses received. Please fill out and mail the accompanying form to R. Craig Sautter, 7658 N. Rogers Ave., No. 3, Chicago, Il 60626 with a $25 check payable to the Society of Midland Authors.

        Please register me to sell my books at the Fair. I enclose my


Address: _______________________


Phone: _________________________

E-mail: _________________________

Title(s) you wish to promote: _______________________________


Preferred time slot on Saturday,
June 11_________________________

Preferred time slot on Sunday,
June 12________________________

By Richard Frisbie
        Poetry, which once gave an audience a bard to entertain them while they quaffed sea-dark wine, in modern times degenerated into soporific poetry readings.
        That is the viewpoint of the founders of the "poetry slam," who believe poetry had to break out of the bindings of books and again entertain live audiences.
        This was explained at the March 8 SMA meeting in the Chicago Athletic Association by Mark Eleveld, SMA board member. As a proprietor of the EM Press and editor of The Spoken Word Revolution: Slam, Hip-Hop and the Poetry of a New Generation, he would know.
        He said the term "slam" was coined when his friend Marc Smith, a performance poetry pioneer, was asked on the phone what to call a planned reading at the Green Mill Jazz Lounge in Chicago. Just then his radio reported a grand slam out at the baseball game. So "slam" was on tongue tip.
        Although the performance poetry movement spread from seeds also in Ann Arbor, Mich., and New York City, Eleveld said Smith believes that it flourished here first because Chicago writers "pinpoint the human story."
        At a poetry slam, the audience is invited to talk back to the poet as performer. Snapping fingers, stamping feet, groaning or hissing is permitted. If a poem happens to rhyme, the audience may try to guess the next rhyme and shout it out.
        This, Eleveld said, is "meaningful communication, not just words on a page."
        The Spoken Word Revolution, published in 2004, has already sold 40,000 copies–a blockbuster for a book of poetry, Eleveld said. It includes a CD of performances by some of the poets whose works are in the book.
        He played part of the introduction, where Smith sings to the tune of Making Whoopee, "another season, another reason for making poetry."
        Eleveld also presented two poets to demonstrate the range of faultlessly rehearsed performance poetry.
        Kevin Coval electrified the audience with a rapid-fire kaleidoscope of images delivered in hip-hop style.
        Mike Kadela performed gentle love poetry that would have not only melted Roxanne but shortened Cyrano's nose.


Related Mystery
        Blue Balliett 's Chasing Vermeer kid mystery has been nominated both
for an Agatha ( Malice Domestic Convention ) and an Edgar ( Mystery
Writers of America).
In the meantime, reports Alzina Stone Dale, someone cut a painting of Ida Noyes out of its frame at Ida Noyes Hall, the University of Chicago campus building where lots of the action in Blue's story takes place.

These Are the Days
As Chuck Schaden prepares to celebrate his 35th anniversary as host of Those Were the Days, he has no plans to step down from his weekly showcase for old-time radio, reported columnist Robert Feder.
        "For that, his legion of fans can be grateful."
        Schaden said, "I will never forget that you (fans) have been there for me during the past 35 years, so I intend to continue to do the program for as long as I can."
        One way that Schaden, 70, is edging toward semi-retirement is by giving up publication of his Nostalgia Digest and Radio Guide. Starting with the summer issue, he will turn over the role of editor and publisher to Steve Darnall, a longtime fan of Schaden's show and a frequent contributor to the quarterly magazine.
        Schaden, a former newspaper editor and marketing executive, began Those Were the Days in 1970. Since 2002, it has been airing on the College of DuPage's WDCB-FM (90.9) from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays.
        For the 35th anniversary, Schaden will broadcast his show April 30 from the LaSalle Bank Cinema auditorium. Tickets to the show, a benefit for WDCB, have been sold out for months.

High-Tech Book Signing
        At the request of genre-fiction specialist William F. Nolan (author of the sci-fi classic Logan's Run and 80-odd other books), Paul McComas wrote the foreword for Nolan's new short-story collection, Ships in the Night (Capra Press, 2005).
        McComas writes: "The indefatigable Nolan, 77, is ensconced in rural Oregon conducting research for his next novel, so I am hosting a unique event for Ships in his stead (Saturday, April 30, at Something Wicked Books, 816 Church St., Evanston, Ill.)
        "I will read from both Ships in the Night and Logan's Run, and I'll screen a 12-minute Logan's Run 'prequel' film that I made in 1977, when I was 15.
        "Then Nolan, on a live audio feed, will conduct a live Q & A via speaker-phone. Copies of Ships signed by him will be available for purchase."

Runaway Book
        In Cynthia J. Olson's new book, Cherise's Christmas Wish , a young Chicago runaway is placed in a foster home in Northern Wisconsin.
        Cherise has an escape plan, but is unable to put it into action because of the deep snow of winter.
        The foster family consists of mother, father and two boys; one is the twin of a daughter who died of a brain tumor, and the other is the same age as Cherise's younger half brother.
        Cherise finds acceptance with the family pets and with the little boy. She also comes across a diary written by the daughter in the last two years of her life.
        The entire family returns to Chicago for Christmas to visit with the mother's former foster brothers and sisters, who have come home for the Christmas celebration.
        Cherise's escape plan could work. Should she run or should she stay? The kindness and love of her foster family helps her make the right decision.

Seven Books in Seven Years
        Five-year SMA member George Castle's seventh book will be published May 1. Where Have All Our Cubs Gone? from Taylor Trade Publishing catches up with some 40 former Cubs players, managers and executives to update fans on what they're doing now and look back on their careers.
        Castle also is writing book number eight (all since 1998). The University of Nebraska Press will publish his work on baseball and the media (final title not firmed up yet) in spring or summer, 2006.
        He hopes to be finished with the book by June. It's an inside-out look at media coverage of the game, how athletes and media relate to one another, and a look at the policies and politics of sports media.
Celebrating Life's Successes
        Brandon Marie Miller's new book for young people, Declaring Independence: Life During the American Revolution, is now available from Lerner Publishing.
        The book tells the stories of a divided America and how the long years of war affected patriots and loyalists, men and women, African Americans and Native Americans.
        Brandon's previous books have been honored by such groups as the International Reading Association and the National Council of the Social Studies, as well as SMA.
         After coping with breast cancer last year she writes that she's "ready to celebrate life's successes."

Featured in The New Yorker
        The Feb. 28 issue of The New Yorker featured a short story, "The Conductor," by Aleksander Hemon,
        He was the winner of the SMA fiction award for his 2002 novel, Nowhere Man.

"Landmark Work" on Striptease
        A New Yorker review by Francine Du Plessix Gray of SMA member Rachel Shteir's new book, Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show, calls it "the first serious history of the form" and says it "could prove to be a landmark work."
        The issue's lead book review also called it a "meticulous history" of an art form overwhelmed by the "pornification of society" in the 1960s.

New Chapbook
        Sue William Silverman's poetry chapbook, Hieronymus Bosch's Illustrated Alphabet, is now available at the Main Street Rag Press Web site,

Murder and Blackmail in 1894
        The second book in Nancy Wikarski's historical mystery series will debut in April. Shrouded In Thought is a tale of murder and blackmail set against the backdrop of the 1894 Pullman Strike which nearly destroyed Chicago.
        She writes quarterly book reviews for Deadly Pleasures while busily promoting her new book. She will be interviewed by on April 6, WGIR Radio on April 20, and be the featured guest at a mystery lunch at the Bookstall in Winnetka on April 28th.

Crime and Politics
        Rich Lindberg recently signed an agreement with Southern Illinois University Press to publish There's A Sucker Born Every Minute: Michael C. McDonald and the Rise of the Criminal Underworld in Chicago.
        It is the first biography of the famed gambler-political boss of 19th century Chicago, framed around a broader discussion of McDonald's critical role in building the Cook County Democratic Party in the 19th century, and the integration of the gambling syndicates and underworld figures into the electoral process.
        The book is scheduled for 2006 release.

Hot Time in San Francisco
        The American Planning Association has released a new report, Planning for Wildfires, co-authored by SMA members Stuart Meck and James Schwab.
        Mecj is a senior research fellow with APA, and Schwab, who served as the project manager, a senior research associate.
        The two unveiled a summary of the report at a session at the APA National Planning Conference in San Francisco on March 20, followed by an autographing event.
        The APA conference typically draws about 5,000 planners and the session and report were both expected to be major attractions in California.
        The report discusses the history and science of wildfires in North America and the role planners can play in helping to solve the problem.

Warning Students
        Geraldine K. Piorkowski, author of Too Close for Comfort: Exploring the Risks of Intimacy , was quoted in the recent Chicago Sun-Times series: "Sex on Campus."
        Dr. Piorskowski warned students that trying to have emotionally unattached sex is "psychologically damaging," and that students involved in a hookup culture are "not learning how to be emotionally close to someone in a relationship, which means learning how to talk about yourself, talk about what's important to you, how to listen to somebody and be supportive of them in difficult times.
        "They're not learning to resolve conflicts or compromise."

Prophet With Honor
        Stuart Dybek, winner of last year's SMA fiction award for his novel, I Sailed With Magellan, has one of his short stories, "Breasts," included in Houghton Mifflin's The Best American Short Stories 2004.
        Even his hometown newspaper, the Kalamazoo Gazette, has taken note with an editorial titled, "WMU Author Is Piling Up Honors."


What Local Publisher Wants
        Sharon Woodhouse, publisher of the Lake Claremont Press, is currently welcoming book queries and proposals from SMA members.
        Lake Claremont Press specializes in nonfiction trade paperback books on Chicago and its history.
        She says, "An author's passion for his or her subject and willingness to share that interest and knowledge with the public, once a book, is released is an important part of our approach."
        She gives a partial list of topics that have been proposed but not yet followed through with a book:
        History of country music in Chicago, a resource guide for people with disabilities, Hispanic migration to Chicago and the steel industry, Chicago's early 20th century free speech forums, an oral history of Riverview Park (many have said that the books previously published don't fully capture the experience), Chicago's penthouses, Chicago's connection to study of UFOs, Native American Chicago pre-history, and current immigration patterns.
        Feel free to call Sharon Woodhouse or Karen Formanski (773/583-7800)
with a quick phone pitch or see Web site for submission information:

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