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September 2008

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Political analysis launches
2008-09 program schedule

Jim Merriner, president of the Society of Midland Authors, will provide an expert's insights into Illinois politics at the first program of the Society's 2008-2009 season on Oct. 14.

Merriner (see below) is author of The Man Who Emptied Death Row: Governor George Ryan and the Politics of Crime (Southern Illinois University Press). He also is author of other political books, including Grafters and Goo Goos: Corruption and Reform in Chicago and Mr. Chairman: Power in Dan Rostenkowski's America.

The November program will feature tips from Tom Ciesielka, president of TC Public Relations, on how to get Internet publicity for your books. Tom's program will give authors a quick lesson in the business of blogging, with several specific items authors can implement to help accomplish the overall goal of generating buzz about a new book in the blogosphere.

On Jan. 13, Lisa Holton will speak about her new book, For Members Only: A History and Guide to Chicago's Oldest Private Clubs. The city's private clubs have been around almost as long as Chicago and have served as much more than playgrounds for the rich. Their members have plotted against Al Capone, grilled the world's most powerful leaders, and generally worked to make Chicago the city it is today. This is the first book to describe the fascinating history of all the major private clubs in the Windy City with a convenient guidebook detailing activities, facilities and costs. The SMA's current venue is in fact one of those clubs the Cliff Dwellers so this will be an interesting topic.

Lisa Holton is a former Chicago Sun-Times business editor and reporter. Since 1998, she has run The Lisa Company, a writing, editing and research firm for corporate, education and nonprofit clients. She has written 11 books under her name and for ghostwriting clients across the country.

This year's program lineup was assembled by Jim Schwab, who is resigning as program chairman because of an increased workload at his non-SMA job, the American Planning Association, which keeps sending him for several weeks at a time to places such as New Zealand and China. Jim also is a past president of the Society.

Biblio File

(Note: Literary License has run low on capital M's and N's in its California job case typesetting box, so we have changed the name of this column from Member News to Biblio File.)

On Oct. 16, Stephen Bloom will receive the Iowa Author of the Year Award. Also, he and co-author Peter Feldstein of The Oxford Project (See New Books) on Sept. 16 will speak at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Next, launch events for the book will be held on Sept. 28 in the town of Oxford, Iowa. And 10 international exhibitions of the art are scheduled for Italy and China.

Robert McClory's book, As It Was in the Beginning: The Coming Democratization of the Catholic Church (Crossroad Publishing), won first prize in the history category in the 2008 awards by the Catholic Press Association in late May. Also, he was inducted in April into the Medill Hall of Achievement, which honors alumni of the Medill School at Northwestern University for professional accomplishments. Other SMA members in the Medill Hall include Jack Fuller and Richard C. Longworth.

Margaret McMullan's young adult novel When I Crossed No-Bob (Houghton Mifflin) was named Indiana's Best Young Adult Book of 2008 at an award ceremony at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis Aug. 16. The Indiana Best Book award program was started in 2005 by the Indiana Center for the Book to strengthen interest in Indiana's strong literary heritage. When I Crossed No-Bob also received a 2008 Parents' Choice Silver Honor and was named a 2008 finalist for the Willie Morris Prize for Southern Fiction. The Parents' Choice Awards is the nation's oldest nonprofit program created to recognize and honor the best material for children. The Willie Morris Award for Fiction is an annual award honoring the author of the best book of fiction set in the Southern United States. When I Crossed No-Bob is the sequel to McMullan's novel How I Found the Strong, which won the 2005 Indiana Best Young Adult Book award.

Rita Emmett's literary agent, Danielle Egan-Miller, has sold the audio rights to McMillan Publishing for her upcoming book, Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress: A Handbook for the Overworked, Overscheduled and Overwhelmed. McMillan hopes to release the audio set the same day Walker & Co. publishes the book.

Stephen Kinzer (see Writers on Writing, Page 3) now has a Web site: A "Chicago Lit" feature about him and his books written by Thomas Frisbie was scheduled to run this month in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ed Gordon has sent off the manuscript of his latest book, Winning the Global Talent Showdown: How Businesses and Communities are Partnering to Rebuild the Jobs Pipeline, to his publisher, Barrett-Koehler. The book is scheduled for publication next April.

Sel Yackley, who was born in Istanbul, was scheduled to escort a tour group to Turkey, including stops in Cappadocia, Istanbul and Ephesus from Aug. 29 to Sept. 14.

Here's what Booklist wrote on Feb. 1 about Michael Allen Dymmoch's ninth novel, M.I.A., a story of violent men and violent passions, of missing friends, of loss and discovery (See New Books, Literary License, February, 2008), "Tautly crafted, Dymmoch's bittersweet journey of discovery glimmers with subtle tension."

Margery Frisbie, author of An Alley in Chicago: The Ministry of a City Priest (1991), wrote in the Sept. 9 Chicago Sun-Times that writing about community organizers had give her the highest respect for them and that they deserve to be admired, not mocked. "Some failures don't gainsay the fact that community organizers are some of the heroes of our day," Frisbie wrote. The book recounts the works of the late Monsignor John Joseph Egan of Chicago.

Ray E. Boomhower was scheduled to speak about his new book, Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary, on Aug. 25 at the Hancock County Public Library in Greenfield, Ind. Boomhower says he often is asked how the country might have been different had Kennedy survived and been elected president, and he says in an interview on the Indiana University Press blog that, "If Kennedy had won the nomination and beaten his GOP opponent, Richard Nixon, in the fall, a Kennedy administration probably would have removed American troops from Vietnam much sooner than did the Nixon administration. Without Nixon as president, of course, there would have been no Watergate scandal, and perhaps Americans' mistrust and suspicions of politicians in Washington, D.C., might have been allayed for a time."

Liesel Litzenburger's Now You Love Me was chosen as one of five novels in the Schuler Books summer reading Mitt Lit program.

Sue William Silverman's upcoming book now has a tentative title: Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir. It's about the craft of writing as well as the emotional concerns writers face when telling family secrets. It is scheduled for publication in spring 2009 by the University of Georgia Press.

Paul McComas headed off to Los Angeles in early August to do an author event at Book Soup in Hollywood and also to meet with Jason Koornick, the lead producer for the duo that's optioned his novel, Planet of the Dates (2008, Permanent Press) for a feature film. Paul soon will add the 20th city – Rapid City, S.D. – to the book's 30-stop,12-state bookstore tour, an event that takes place the day after his Sept. 27 Badlands, S.D., wedding to fellow Evanston fiction writer Heather Swartz.

Linda Nemec Foster's writing has been honored in several competitions recently. She received an honorable mention in contests sponsored by the journal New Millennium Writings and the Springfed Arts organization; and she received first prize (for her creative nonfiction) and second prize (for her poetry) from Detroit Working Writers in their annual competition. Her new chapbook (see New Books) was just published.

Alzina Stone Dale is awaiting a publication date for her next book, When the Postwar World Was New (Tate Publishing, Oklahoma City).

Former SMA president and U.S. presidential historian R. Craig Sautter has posted articles about historic national political conventions at Visitors can read about how in Denver 100 years ago, the Democrats nominated for president a man whose national reputation had been made by a single electrifying speech in front of the 1896 National Democratic Convention. Or they can press the "Minneapolis 1892" button and read about how Republicans challenged a sitting president and how the party staked its electoral fortunes on the success of it "protectionism" of American-made products.

Despite being chased into a Buffalo Grove motel while floor and wall people crash about in their residence, Gerry and Janet Souter this summer kept writing 1,000 to 2,000 words a day, using a wi-fi laptop and e-mails to keep in touch with overseas publishers and agents on the coasts. Gerry also recently received copies of his 40th book, a lavish oversize hardcover biography on the artist Kasimir Malevich from the Paris publisher Parkstone-Sirrocco. The book was laid out in Ho Ch Minh City, Vietnam, and printed in China. Carlton Publishing in London, which published Gerry and Janet's Founding of the United States (2006) and The Vietnam War Experience (2007), have requested a sequel titled Our Founding Fathers – The Shaping of America. (The authors get a break this time and don't have to locate – and pay for – all the graphics.) Gerry also is writing The Earnhardts/History of NASCAR for Greenwood Press in Connecticut, due in December.

SMA President Jim Merriner will speak about his new book, The Man Who Emptied Death Row (See New Books), at a City Club of Chicago luncheon at noon Oct. 6, at Maggiano's, 111 W. Grand Ave. Jim also was on Tom Roeser's talk show "Political Shootout" Aug. 17 on WLS-AM 890.

Luisa Buehler will be at Centuries & Sleuths in Forest Park. Ill., at 2 p.m. on Nov 23 with several other authors talking about the short stories they penned for the anthology Missing. She will be at the Vernon Hills (Ill.) Library at 1 p.m. on Oct 30.

David Hernandez on June 28 performed Latin, blues, poetry and "all that jazz" with his group Street Sounds at 2418 W. Bloomingdale Ave.

Steven Burgauer's first of his seven science fiction books, The Fornax Drive (May, iUniverse), is back in print, in paperback. It's about the inventor of light-speed travel, Fornax Nehrengel, who is caught up in an adventure that zooms from the moon to Mars and back.

Maurice Possley, a 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner, announced July 21 he was resigning after nearly two years with the Chicago Tribune because, he wrote in a memo to colleagues, of the "stunning . . . dismantling of our newspaper in such a short time."

Lisa Holton was on Chicago Tonight on Channel 11 Aug. 20 to talk about her book For Members Only: A History and Guide to Chicago's Oldest Private Clubs.

A new Web TV pilot "Interview with a Broken Heart," hosted by Chicago author Anastasia Royal, was scheduled be taped at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 in the Wilmette (Ill.) Theatre. Royal, author Undoing I Do," (2008, St. Martin's Press) planned to interview guests about their most heart-wrenching and hilarious break-ups, with a panel of Chicago comedians, filmmakers and authors providing color commentary.

Writers for "Dream Chicago," which was scheduled to be presented Sept. 8 at Millennium Park, included Stuart Dybek and Billy Lombardo.

Religion scholar Martin Marty lamented on the Dallas Morning News religion blog the shrinking of print journalism and the reduction of the number of print journalists, including those who cover religion. "At 4:44 each morning four newspapers bounce against our door for our reading," Marty wrote. "The bounce is now lighter, week by week."

Ted McClelland wrote in Slate on Aug. 17 about Usain Bolt, the 21-year-old Jamaican who set a world record in winning the Olympic 100-meter dash.

Writing in on Sept. 8, James Plath cited a quote useful for any author: "When Irish poet Tony Curtis was asked what he did to avoid writer's block, he quipped, 'I just lower my standards.'"

Don't be afraid to employ recently coined words or even create perfectly good new ones, Eric McKean advises in the Aug. 3 Boston Globe. "In short, if it seems wordish, use it," she wrote. "No apologies necessary." (Literary License has attempted at times in the past to coin a few new words, but our copy editors recognized them as typos – not wordish at all – and unerrorized them.)

Cage of Stars by Jacqueline Mitchard is the title for September for the Readers Forum at the Clyde (Ohio) Public Library.

On Aug. 22, mentioned Marcia Z. Nelson's 2005 book, The Gospel According to Oprah.

In the Aug. 14 (suburban Chicago) Pioneer Press, 2008 James Friend Award winner Myrna Petlicki profiled Ruth Spiro. Petlicki wrote: "A remark by her young gum-loving daughter Sarah inspired Ruth Spiro of Deerfield to write her first children's book. 'She was blowing bubbles and she said, "Mom, wouldn't it be cool if I could blow a bubble like that guy at the birthday party who made animals out of balloons," ' Spiro recounted. Lester Fizz, Bubble-Gum Artist, the story of a young boy with that talent, is being released this month [August] by Dutton Children's Books."

Nikos Kokonis, who traveled to Tripoli, Arcadia, in Greece's Peloponessos last Easter for a lengthy stay, is working on a sequel to Arcadia, My Arcadia, which is now in Greek translation with the title Ellada Mou, Patrida Mou. Kokonis told the Greek News, a Greek-American newspaper, that writing the sequel has proved to be "an enormous undertaking." Arcadia, My Arcadia, which also is under movie option consideration, drew favorable comments from SMA members S. L. Wisenberg and Harry Mark Petrakis.

On Nov. 16, the Monroe County (Ind.) Public Library, will show a film made from Elsa Marston's story, "Santa Claus in Baghdad," at which the filmmaker (from Boston) and Marston will speak. The showing is part of a new project called "Voices and Visions: Islam and Muslims in World Contexts," run by the Center for the Study of Global Change at Indiana University with a Social Science Research Council grant. Marston has agreed to serve on project's the advisory council and to make a related podcast.

Author Neal Samors, wearing a different hat this time, has published through his Chicago Books Press Rock and Roll Radio: The Fun Years: 1955-1975. The book is written by Clark Weber, Chicago disc jockey and program director at WLS-AM and other stations in the '50s, '60s and '70s. Samors, who has written and published several books about Chicago, interviewed Weber for the 2006 book Chicago in the Sixties, and Samors told Weber he should write a book, Robert Loerzel reported in the (suburban Chicago) Pioneer Press on Sept. 4.

Rick Kogan and James Finn Garner were scheduled to be featured guests Sept. 8 at El Jardin Restaurant in Chicago. They will meet with a group of local writers, musicians, filmmakers and others who review the highs and lows of the Chicago Cubs.

Gerry and Janet Souter recalled in the Aug. 20 (suburban Chicago) Daily Herald driving on the fringes of the 1968 Democratic National Convention melee. On their way home from watching a movie in Old Town, the couple "saw the flashing lights and all the people, the cop cars and the paddy wagon," recalled Souter, who then was a freelance photojournalist. "Suddenly, this great cloud of gas rolled over the car." Janet cranked up the windows, and as Gerry slammed the sunroof shut the metal handle broke and cut his hand.

On Aug. 18 the Manitowoc (Wis.) City Council appointed Kerry Trask to the Board of Ethics.

Historian Ann Durkin Keating was quoted in the Aug. 26 Daily Herald about 1968, the year of the Prague Spring, the Vietnam War and the assassinations of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

Kate Klise was scheduled to hold a Sept. 8 writer's workshop at the Library Center in Springfield, Mo.

Scott Turow will announce the 20 finalists for the National Book Awards Oct. 15 at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago.

Q&A With Jim Merriner:
Making an honest living writing about corruption

Jim Merriner, political historian and former political editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, will discuss his new book about former governor George Ryan at the Society of Midland Authors' Oct. 14 program. Literary License caught up with him over the summer for an interview:

Literary License: Why did you choose to write about a disgraced governor?

Jim Merriner: My publisher asked me to write a book about the Chicago public schools, and without thinking I said, "No, that's not the story. George Ryan is the story." Actually, I had hardly thought about Ryan for years. If he were just another crooked politician, he wouldn't be worth a book. But he was a crooked politician who single-handedly overturned the death penalty in Illinois. That was a truly radical act, especially for a conservative Republican. So why did he do it?

Literary License: You also wrote about a disgraced powerful House Ways and Means chairman. Were there parallels here?

Jim Merriner: One big parallel is that both Dan Rostenkowski and George Ryan to this day believe they are innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. Rosty told me that he might have violated some House rules but he never committed felonies. Years later I asked Ryan, did there come a moment when you knew you were going to be indicted? They're indicting all your friends left and right, you must have thought, they're coming after me? He said, no, he never believed he would be indicted until his defense attorney actually called him with the news.

At first I thought, well, he's just maintaining a posture of innocence because his case is still on appeal. But the more I studied the man and his career, the more it seemed clear that he never understood that fixing all those contracts and scamming all that money amounted to crimes. I guess that's what they mean by a "culture of corruption."

Literary License: Are Chicago and Illinois really the capitals of corruption, or are the reporters and writers here just better at finding it?

Jim Merriner: As much as I love reporters and writers, let's not give them too much credit. Most of the credit goes to the U.S. attorneys here and especially the incumbent, Patrick Fitzgerald. And, yes, Chicago and Illinois really are capitals of corruption. In my books I've tried to explore what exactly constitutes public corruption and why Chicago and Illinois have so much of it. "Culture of corruption" is just a slogan, not an explanation. If there is such a culture, why does Illinois have it and not, say, Wisconsin? In the Ryan book I reached some conclusions about all this. But if you want to know the conclusions, you have to buy the book!

Literary License: What makes readers interested in political corruption?

Jim Merriner: In my experience, they're not that interested. Besides trying to define corruption, I've also been interested in what makes up a scandal. The public's "scandal fatigue" seems to increase with every election cycle. There's this general overlay of disgust and cynicism, the attitude that all politics is dirty. I think that attitude is more dangerous to a free republic than all the nickels and dimes stolen by the likes of Rosty and Ryan.

Maybe some kind of critical mass of corruption has been reached so that people will demand clean government, but I doubt it.

Literary License: What's your next book?

Jim Merriner: People always ask me, am I writing about Gov. Blagojevich now? I say, no, that would be redundant. Is this my existential task in life, I have to write about every crooked politician in Illinois? Actually, I am hoping to retire next year.

New Books

Publishers Weekly wrote that Kevin Mattson's new book, Rebels All!: A Short History of the Conservative Mind in Postwar America is a "slim, scathing study of the right's trajectory [that] argues that conservatives co-opted the utopian radicalism of the left to brilliantly position themselves as political underdogs, while efficiently consolidating power. ... The author skillfully links the invasion of Iraq with the new conservative utopianism ("a new city on the hill in the Middle East") and identifies conservatism's ideological family tree, detecting the echoes of Bill Buckley in Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh."

The San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 31 called the book "highly readable, concise yet meaty analysis of the conservative ascendancy."

Linda Nemec Foster, the first poet laureate of Grand Rapids, Mich., 2003-2005, has just published Ten Songs from Bulgaria (June, Cervena Barva Press), her eighth collection of poetry. The collection, a top finalist in the press' national chapbook competition, opens with these lines:

I. Two Vladimirs at the Window
Small lives, small lives,
we are trapped inside
small lives. Call this window
a prison of rotten wood; the hinges
a broken lock that still won't release us.
Call us the curse of clouded mirrors,
the blank faces of the soul
stuck inside an old kaleidoscope.
Small lives, small lives. We hum and chant
to the silence outside the frame.

Jack Ridl, the Society of Midland Authors' 2007 poetry co-winner, writes about the book: "In line after line, we encounter the depths and reach of those who live outside the zones of everyday safety. Foster makes herself vulnerable to a world 'as tangible as fog' with her own penetrating observations. She walks 'the long journey' and her poems reflect the haunting music of ode and elegy."

Here's what former Illinois Gov. Dan Walker has to say about Jim Merriner's new book, The Man Who Emptied Death Row: Governor George Ryan and the Politics of Crime (Southern Illinois University Press): "A gripping factual account of real life crime in government by now-convicted and sentenced Gov. George Ryan. Merriner tells in graphic and readable detail why Illinois is No. 1 in the nation in bipartisan corruption aka pay to play government. All the way from Paul Powell's grossly simple $800,000 shoebox to today's much more sophisticated stealing from taxpayers' pockets. Read it and weep for good government gone."

For The Oxford Project (September; Welcome Books) co-author Stephen Bloom conducted interviews with the 676 residents of Oxford, Ohio, who were photographed first in 1984 and then in 2004 by Peter Feldstein, creating a book that documentary filmmaker Ken Burns called, "a marvelous way to get at 'who we are' as a people. This powerful confessional book draws its strength from the truth that so-called ordinary people, not those with bold-faced names, are actually the heroes of our American drama."

Photographs for the book first appeared in 2004 in the New York Times and Smithsonian Magazine and on ABC News.

Scorsese by Ebert (University of Chicago Press) is Roger Ebert's new book. It includes his reviews of every Martin Scorsese film (Ebert wrote the first film review that Scorsese ever received for 1967's "I Call First.") "Of special interest," Publishers Weekly wrote in its July 21 edition, "are interviews with Scorsese over a 25-year period in which the director candidly discusses his body of work." Library Journal wrote: "This unique book is an invaluable study in the canon of both film and criticism."

Author and photographer Raymond Bial, who has published more than 80 books of photographs, has a new book: The Shaker Village.

The School Library Journal wrote: "Mirroring the simplicity and elegance of a Shaker chair, this book captures the spirit of a very special people." Bial shows how the Shakers have lived, worked, worshipped and evolved. His text and photographs feature Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Ky.

Booklist wrote: "This handsome volume introduces the traditional Shaker way of life in a thoughtful text and well-composed, full-color photographs."

The First Vice Lord: Big Jim Colosimo and the Ladies of the Levee by Arthur Bilek tells the story of Chicago's infamous red-light distinct, the Levee, from the Columbian Exposition to the Roaring Twenties. Bilek has been chief of the Cook County Sheriff's Police, a member of the Chicago Crime Commission and a professor at Loyola University Chicago. Bilek wrote a previous book in 2004 with William J Helmer titled St. Valentine's Day Massacre in hard and soft cover, also by Cumberland.

Sovereignty: God, State, and Self, Jean Bethke Elshtain's Gifford Lectures, examines the origins and meanings of "sovereignty" as it relates to all the ways we attempt to explain our world. Elshtain argues that political theories of state sovereignty fuel contemporary understandings of sovereignty of the self.

New Members

Elsa Marston is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, mostly for young adults. She is author of Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories About Teens in the Arab World (2008, Indiana University Press), Women in the Middle East: Tradition and Change (2003,1996, Watts), Songs of Ancient Journeys: Animals in Rock Art (2005, George Braziller) and other books. She got her B.A. in American civilization at the University of Iowa, an M.A. in international affairs at Harvard University, studied Middle Eastern history at the American University of Beirut, and got another master's degree in art education at Indiana University.

Women in the Middle East was on the New York Public Library list of Books for the Teen Age for three years. Her 1996 book, The Fox Maiden, (Simon & Schuster) was selected for the 1997 Bank Street College Best Children's Books list and was runner-up for the 1997 Friends of American Writers award for juvenile fiction.

She also received the International Reading Association's short story award in 1994 for The Olive Tree.

SMA Support

Dues cover mailings and other organizational expenses, but the Society always needs additional money for programs such as the awards at the annual May banquet. Thanks to these members who made contributions along with their renewals: Frank Gonzalez-Crussi, Harriette Gillem Robinet, Anne J. Barry, Beverly Offen, Bill Barnhart, Carol B. Gartner, Matthew A. Eck, Michael Argetsinger, Carol Madden Adorjan, Charles J. Masters, Eldon Ham, Elinor P. Swiger, James H. Mallon, James P. Barry, Janet Hickman, John F. Wasik, Marianne Forrest, Pat Rahmann, Robert J.R. Follett, Ron Offen, Scott Turow, Stella Pevsner, Thomas Frisbie, Timothy Gilfoyle, Donna Boonstra, S. Dow Mossman, Nathan Kantrowitz, Joseph Epstein, John Callaway, Sue Harrison, Christopher Leland, Shirley Christian, Fern Brown, Alzina Stone Dale, Cranston Knight, Ted Anton, Marcia Nelson, Carol Felsenthal, Robert Hinshaw, Mark Pulsifer, Elizabeth Fama, James Schwab, Rebecca Johns, Milton Nieuwsma and Dick Simpson.

Letters to the Editor

       Thank you so much for writing the obit about my mother [Elsie Ziegler, May-June, 2008 Literary License]. You put together a wonderful article, and my sisters and I really appreciated your doing that for mother.
       I am sure that she would be very pleased to know that your article about her was published, especially from someone who cared from the Society of Midland Authors.
Pete Ziegler

       Thanks for the nice write-up on my film deal. Who knew I'd one day be an LL "cover boy" ?!? ;-)
Paul McComas

Final Chapters

Mark Perlberg, 1929-2008

Mark Perlberg of Chicago, a longtime member of the Society of Midland Authors and a co-founder of the Poetry Center of Chicago, died 23 June in Midwest Palliative and Hospice Care Center in Skokie. He was 79.

Mr. Perlberg was author of four poetry books: The Burning Field (1970), The Feel of the Sun (1980), The Impossible Toystore (2000) and Waiting for the Alchemist, which is to be published next spring. The Burning Field received the Robert L. Ferguson Memorial Award from the Friends of Literature in 1970.

Mr. Perlberg, a frequent contributor to the Society of Midland Authors' annual awards fund, taught a poetry workshop at the Newberry Library for 20 years and for 13 years was president of the Poetry Center, now based at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

"Mark had the demeanor of a gentle, soft-spoken man. But beneath that exterior was a core of passion for poetry, social justice and life," said SMA member Ron Offen, editor of Free Lunch: A Poetry Miscellany. "Up until the last weeks of his life, he was working on a poem about the illness that would eventually overcome him.

"For me, Mark's poetry is a mix of poignancy, humor and insightfulness, achieved through keen observation and a mastery of language. As an editor, I feel honored to have published his work."

Mr. Perlberg was born Feb. 19, 1929, in New Jersey. He attended Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y., and then Columbia University, where he took graduate classes in English literature. There, he met his wife, Anna Nessy Perlberg. He was drafted into the Korean War in 1952, serving two years, and after he was discharged, he was hired by Time magazine in 1956. He covered the arts for the magazine while based in Chicago. Among his subjects were former Chicago Symphony Orchestra conductor Fritz Reiner and Italian opera soprano Renata Tebaldi.

"He had a gift for weaving poems out of life experiences," Anna Perlberg told the Chicago Sun-Times. "He would take something that had happened and really, it would become a remarkable poem."

Mr. Perlberg also was an editor for World Book Encyclopedia, Encyclopaedia Britannica and Prism, a journal on medicine's socio-economics. "He was a very fine and very serious poet," Lisel Mueller, another co-founder of the Poetry Center, told the Chicago Tribune.

Besides Anna, Mr. Perlberg is survived by two daughters, Katherine Friedberg of Wilmette and Julie Farwell of Denver, and four grandsons. A memorial service was scheduled for Sept. 10 in the ballroom of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 112 S. Michigan Ave.

G.E. Murray, 1945-2008

G.E. Murray, a former SMA member and author of eight collections of poetry, died June 23 at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He had a liver transplant three years ago and suffered from diabetes. He was 62.

His most recent book was Arts of a Cold Sun (2003, University of Illinois Press). Mr. Murray also co-edited, with Illinois poet laureate and SMA member and award-winner Kevin Stein, Illinois Voices: An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Poetry (2001).

Mr. Murray, a native of Buffalo, got a bachelor's degree in 1968 from Canisius College in western New York. He earned his master's degree in English from Northeastern University.

Visions and Voices, his recollection of people and places in Buffalo, is scheduled to be published this year.

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