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April 2007

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Dinner Reservation Form

        The best Midland books published during 2006 will be honored by the Society of Midland Authors at our 92nd annual banquet meeting May 8 in the Chicago Athletic Association, 12 S. Michigan Ave.
        Awards will be given in six categories: Adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, biography and poetry.

        (Cash bar 6 pm, dinner and program 7 pm. Dinner tickets will cost $60 each, but there's a discount for a table of eight, $400 instead of $480. Get your company to sponsor a table or round up friends who might not otherwise come.)

        Award winners tell how and why they write. Their stories are sometimes touching, sometimes hilarious.
        Keeping the program moving as master of ceremonies will be Paul Green, director of the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University and co-author of several books about Chicago politics.
        Entertaining and quotable, he's a familiar voice on local broadcasting stations.
        On a nostalgic note, this will be SMA's last gathering in the historic Chicago Athletic Association.
        The C. A. A. was founded in 1890. Its 11-story building at 12 S. Michigan Ave. was designed by the noted architect Henry Ives Cobb and filled with fine woodwork executed by Old World craftsmen who stayed on after the Columbian Exposition.
        Shortly after the SMA dinner, the club will close for conversion into a hotel.

Printers Row Book Fair Reservation Form

        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 9, and Sunday, June 10. SMA authors will be able to showcase and sell their books.
        SMA members can reserve space for $30 to help defray the costs. The exact times and location will be forthcoming. 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 click to fill out and mail the Printers Row Book Fair Reservation form with a $30 check payable to the Society of Midland Authors to Society of Midland Authors, P.O. Box 10419, Chicago, Il 60610.


        The nominating committee has named the following officers to serve for the year beginning July 1:
James L. Merriner
Vice President
Robert Loerzel
Corresponding Secretary
Phyllis Choyke
Membership and Publications
Thomas Frisbie
(Immediate Past President)
Recording Secretary
Stella Pevsner
Richard Frisbie
Directors through 2010
Arnie Bernstein, Carol Jean Carlson, Richard C. Lindberg
Directors through 2009
David Hernandez Rosina Neginsky, Robert Remer
Directors through 2008
Mark Eleveld, Cheryl L. Reed,
James C. Schwab
Endowment Committee
Robert Remer

James C. Schwab
Mary Claire Hersh

By Richard Frisbie
        Literary styles have changed since William Wordsworth defined poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings from emotions recollected in tranquility."
But there was no shortage of emotion displayed at SMA's Poetry Night on April 10 in the Chicago Athletic Association.
        Carolyn S. Aguila read a poem about holding her son at his baptism. Richard Prince meditated on helping an elderly father to bed. Michael Kadela explored the mysteries of love in poems about Guenevere and Sampson and Delilah.
        The program was introduced by Mark Eleveld, whose EM Press has published the works of Aguila (Flirting with Rhyme and Reason) and Kadela (1 Hundred Hiccups).
He set up the evening with Aguila as soloist. Her opening piece was a poem delivering an unexpected image of Chicago. "My town is a woman...a trickster and sprite...
        So much for the city of big shoulders.
        Jones (Apropos of Nothing and five other volumes from Copper Canyon Press) and Kadela performed a duet, billed as "Page vs. Stage."
        The idea was to highlight different poetic styles. Like most poets, Jones read from the page, letting his work speak for itself.
        Kadela, gifted with an actor's voice as well as a lyrical style, represented the new category of performance poets.
        Calling attention to a long-time friendship, each read a poem by the other, along with his own poems.
        Aquila found material for poetry in "February 2000," a poem about surviving winter in Chicago and a basketball season, concluding "let the kid have some hope with his cereal."
        Kadela paired a Valentine poem with a wedding poem, saying love is "the great remaining of our ready lives."
        Jones's poems also meditated on such universals as the sorrows of the last days of a dog and suffering, inspired by a root canal.
        He also found poetic material in a source unknown to Wordsworth: an answering machine, whose saved messages offered "no wisdom, no sweet epiphanies," and couldn't even bring itself to say, "do not kill yourself."

"Fast-paced Adventure"
        "The harrowing tale of four women lost at sea and pitted against nature and a cohort of contemporary pirates."
        That's Publisher Weekly's description of Jacquelyn Mitchard's "fast-paced" new novel, Still Summer, due in August from Warner.
        A storm washes overboard the two-man crew of a chartered yacht, leaving the women to cope on their own without sails or a functioning engine.
        "Mitchard's fans will appreciate this high-stakes adventure," says PW.

"Epic for Our Times"
        David Radavich's book, America Bound: An Epic for Our Times, is just out from Plain View Press. It provides a literary narrative of American history and culture from the end of World War II to the present, spoken by three generations of average Americans, reacting to events around them.
        A wide range of voices, male and female, black and white, old and young, rich and poor, discuss their experiences living through World War II, the Vietnam War, civil rights movement, feminism and AlDS, all the way to the current war in Iraq.
        "Together, they offer a multi-faceted, colorful portrait of American life for the past half- century."

"More Than One School's History"
        George William McDaniel has written another book, A Great and Lasting Beginning: The First 125 Years of St. Ambrose University. It chronicles the history of St. Ambrose University since its founding in 1882.
        Father McDaniel – a St. Ambrose alumnus, priest and history professor – tells "more than a single school's history."
        He "situates St. Ambrose within the broader social contexts in which it grew." It began as St. Ambrose Seminary in two rooms of St. Marguerite's Parish School in Davenport, Iowa.
        A previous book, Smith Wildman Brookhart: Iowa's Renegade Republican, earned the Benjamin F. Shambaugh Award from the State Historical Society of Iowa.
        He has served on the board of trustees of the State Historical Society of Iowa, including a term as president of the board. He currently serves on the board of trustees of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association.

"Golden Oldie" Mysteries
        The Chicago chapter of Sisters in Crime will meet at Centuries & Sleuths bookstore (7419 W. Madison, Forest Park, Ill.) on Saturday May 5, to hear Alzina Stone Dale, Chicago's "mystery maven," continue her series on Golden Oldie mysteries by discussing the contribution of H. R. F. Keating's contribution.
He has been president of the Crime Writers' Association and holds the Cartier Diamond Dagger and other awards. He's a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and creator of India's Inspector Ghote.
        Keating was recently honored on his 80th birthday by a festscrift with short stories by several well-known UK mystery writers, including P. D. James and Robert Barnard.

World Premiere
        The world premiere of Contemplating the Heavens--both full musical ensemble and poetry--will take place on Friday, April 20, at Aquinas College's Kretchmer Recital Hall in Grand Rapids, Mich.
        As previously reported, poet Linda Nemec Foster collaborated with acclaimed jazz musician Steve Talaga. Inspired by Linda's chapbook of the same title (Ridgeway Press, 2001), Talaga has composed an original score for nine musicians that reflects a wide range of musical styles: jazz, classical, blues, contemporary and third stream. Both the score and recently recorded CD were nominated for this year's Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Info at or        

"Sensuous Bittersweet Stories"
        Gladys Swan's new book, A Garden Amid Fires (BkMk Press), is her sixth story collection. She has also written two novels, Carnival for the Gods and Ghost Dance: a Play of Voices.
        Publishers Weekly praised how the new book "skillfully track(s) time's toll on the ability to live and love fully."
        Other review comments: "Enchantment worth the price of admission," The New York Times; "Swan keeps the men and women in her sensuous bittersweet stories dreaming and reaching, in the very best traditions of American storytelling," Kirkus Reviews.
        A resident of Columbia, Mo., she has taught creative writing at the University of Missouri and Vermont College.
        BkMk Press is now part of the University of Missouri/Kansas City.

New Boss at Spoon River
        Bruce Guernsey is the new editor of the Spoon River Poetry Review. He is distinguished professor emeritus at Eastern Illinois University, where he taught for 25 years.
        His books of poetry include January Thaw from the University of Pittsburgh Press and, most recently, The Lost Brigade from Water Press and Media.
        A new collection, New England Primer, is forthcoming in August, 2008, from WordTech Communications under their Cherry Grove imprint for lyric poetry.

Lecture to Become Book
        Jean Bethke Elshtain's Gifford lecture, "Sovereign God, Sovereign State, Sovereign Self" has been revised and will be published as a book by Basic Books.
The Gifford Lectures in Edinburgh have previously featured such speakers as Hannah Arendt, Iris Murdoch,
Reinhold Niebuhr and William James.
By Thomas Frisbie

        Josh Karp is author of A Futile and Stupid Gesture: How Doug Kenney and National Lampoon Changed Comedy Forever.
Publishers Weekly said: "Journalist Karp . . . delivers an iridescent polished portrait." Booklist said: "Karp's well-researched analysis of why NL succeeded, shuddered and ultimately crashed, and his biography of Kenney are compelling,"
        Karp is a freelance journalist who writes for a variety of national publications, including The Atlantic
Monthly Online
, Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times, Playboy, Premiere and

        Gerald Wozek is a full-time English and humanities instructor at Robert Morris College. He is author of Postcards from Heartthrob Town, a collection of short stories. His verse play, The Changeling's Exile, which premiered in Chicago in 1992 at Lionheart Theatre, was later published as a limited edition chapbook (Deep Wood Press, 1996).
        His manuscript, Dervish won first place in the Second Annual Gival Press Poetry Award Competition and was published in October, 2001. The book received a Violet Crown Special Citation from the Writer's League of Texas and Barnes and Noble Booksellers.
        His poems and prose have appeared in such magazines as Blithe House Quarterly, The Harrington Gay Men's Fiction Review, Chiron Review, Ultreict, Bay Windows, Amethyst, Prairie Street Companion, White Crane Journal and the River Oak Review.

        Andrew Kantar is professor of languages and literature at Ferris State University. He is the author of 29
, a book about the loss of the great lakes freighter Edmund Fitzgerald and Black November: The Carl D. Bradley Tragedy. (On Nov. 18, 1958, the limestone carrier Carl D. Bradley broke up during a raging storm on Lake Michigan, and 33 crew members perished.)
        Thomas Farnquist, executive director of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, said Kantar wrote "a story of tragedy and triumph detailed through meticulous research and personal interviews that makes your heart ache."

        Lynn Voedisch is a longtime Chicago journalist and fiction writer. She spent 17 years as a reporter and arts reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times. She's also written for the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Industry Standard and Dance magazine, and has appeared on television and radio talk shows, discussing arts topics that affect Chicago. She is author of Excited Light, a tale of magic and second chances. She lives just outside Chicago with her husband and three cats.

        Thomas J. Keevers, a Chicago trial lawyer, is a former homicide detective with the Chicago Police Department. His short stories have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies. One of them, "Thanksgiving Day in Homicide," was featured on National Public Radio's Stories on Stage. He is author of What the Hyena Knows and Music Across the Wall.


        Dorothy Haas, a long-time part of the SMA leadership as an officer, active committee chairman and board member, died recently in a Chicago nursing home at age 82.
        As an editor at Whitman Publishing and children's book editor for Rand McNally, she supervised publication of more than 600 books.
        She went on to forge a successful career as author of more than 50 popular children's books of her own.
        She received a Children's Reading Round Table Award for distinguished service in children's literature.
        Other awards included the Don
T. McNeill Award from her alma mater, Marquette University, in recognition of her professional success, and a lifetime literary achievement award from SMA.
        Her first novel, The Bears Upstairs, won the Mark Twain Award from the Missouri Library Association and the Missouri Association of School Librarians.

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