WBEZ | Society of Midland Authors http://www.wbez.org/tags/society-midland-authors Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Society of Midland Authors Awards Banquet http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/society-midland-authors-awards-banquet-107254 <p><p>At it&#39;s annual awards banquet, The Society of Midland Authors honors its choices for the best books by Midwest authors published in 2012.&nbsp;The master of ceremonies for this year&#39;s benefit was Marc Kelly Smith, the founder of the Uptown Poetry Slam.&nbsp;Award winners also read from their works.&nbsp;</p><p>A list of this year&#39;s winners can be found <strong><a href="http://www.midlandauthors.com/winners.html">here</a>.&nbsp;</strong></p><p>The Society, founded in 1915 by a group of authors including Hamlin Garland, Harriet Monroe and Vachel Lindsay, has given out annual awards since 1957. The juried competition is open to authors who live in, were born in, or have strong ties to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin.</p><div>Notable past winners have included Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut, Studs Terkel, Gwendolyn Brooks, Mike Royko, Jane Smiley, Dempsey Travis, Leon Forrest, William Maxwell, Louise Erdrich, Scott Turow, Alex Kotlowitz, Aleksandar Hemon, Stuart Dybek and Roger Ebert.<br />&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SMA-webstory_9.gif" style="float: left;" title="" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><br />Recorded live Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at the&nbsp;Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza.</p></p> Tue, 14 May 2013 15:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/society-midland-authors-awards-banquet-107254 Edward Hirsch: Poems for my father(s) http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/edward-hirsch-poems-my-fathers-107127 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Chicago%201950.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="The Chicago of Hirsch’s youth. (Flickr/Joe and Jeanette Archie)" /></div><p>The poet Edward Hirsch was born in Chicago in 1950, and many of his poems are haunted by little glimpses back into that old city of his youth. In the 2008 poem &ldquo;Cotton Candy,&rdquo; for example, Hirsch is again a small boy, walking with his grandfather over one of Chicago&rsquo;s many bascule bridges:</p><blockquote><p>We walked on the bridge over the Chicago River<br />for what turned out to be the last time,<br />and I ate cotton candy, that sugery air,<br />that sweet blue light spun out of nothingness.<br />It was just a moment, really, nothing more,<br />but I remember marveling at the sturdy cables<br />of the bridge that held us up<br />and threading my fingers through the long<br />and slender fingers of my grandfather,<br />an old man from the Old World<br />who long ago disappeared into the nether regions.<br />And I remember that eight-year-old boy<br />who had tasted the sweetness of air,<br />which still clings to my mouth<br />and disappears when I breathe.</p></blockquote><p>There is pain here, but also tenderness, and maybe even a little nostalgia -- a recognizable combination where the subject matter is childhood and family.</p><p>As an adult, Hirsch won the Lanvan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets and the prestigious Rome Prize, as well as fellowships from the MacArthur and Guggenheim foundations (the latter of which he now chairs) and the National Endowment for the Arts.</p><p>But Hirsch&rsquo;s&nbsp; future success was not necessarily forecast by his Chicago childhood. Early on Hirsch was burdened by a biological father, his &ldquo;first father&rdquo; as he calls him in one poem, with poor boundaries and cruel attachments. In one poem, Hirsch depicts Harold, nicknamed &ldquo;Ruby,&rdquo; talking openly to his young children about his sexual preferences and his frustration with their mother&rsquo;s &ldquo;frigidity.&rdquo; Ruby then left the family when Edward was a still a child, an event Hirsch writes about in &ldquo;My Father&rsquo;s Back&rdquo;:</p><blockquote><p>There&#39;s an early memory that I carry around<br />In my mind<br />like an old photography in my wallet,<br />little graying and faded, a picture<br />That I don&#39;t much like<br />but nonetheless keep,<br />Fingering it now and then like a sore tooth,<br />Knowing it there,<br />not needing to see it anymore....</p><p>The sun slants down on the shingled roof.<br />The wind breathes in the needled pines.<br />And I am lying in the grass on my third birthday,<br />Red-faced and watchful<br />but not squalling yet,<br />Not yet rashed or hived up<br />from eating the wrong food<br />Or touching the wrong plant,<br />my father&#39;s leaving.</p></blockquote><p>And yet, Hirsch was also cared for by his &ldquo;other father&rdquo; &ndash; the man who raised him. He writes about this father with the great longing of a grown-up son who has just lost his parent in &ldquo;Early Sunday Morning&rdquo;:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>Give me back my father walking the halls<br />of Wertheimer Box and Paper Company<br />with sawdust clinging to his shoes.</p><p>Give me back his tape measure and his keys,<br />his drafting pencil and his order forms;<br />give me his daydreams on lined paper.</p><p>I don&rsquo;t understand this uncontainable grief.<br />Whatever you had that never fit,<br />whatever else you needed, believe me,</p><p>my father, who wanted your business,<br />would squat down at your side<br />and sketch you a container for it.</p></blockquote><p>Of channeling these feelings and memories into his work Hirsch said, &ldquo;I became, I&rsquo;d say, addicted to this idea: That you could take the muck and mire of your own life, you could take the messy things in your own life, the difficult experiences you didn&rsquo;t understand, and try to turn them into something.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And the idea that you could turn them into something that you thought was beautiful? That seemed noble to me. I aspired to that,&rdquo; Hirsch added.</p><p>The poet gave a reading in Chicago in April, and read several poems that touched on these two men in his young life. You can hear his reading in the audio above.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a> showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Edward Hirsch spoke at an event presented by the Society of Midland Authors in April of 2013. Click <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/poet-edward-hirsch-106990">here</a> to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p><p><em>Robin Amer is a producer on WBEZ&rsquo;s digital team. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/rsamer">@rsamer</a>.</em></p></p> Sat, 11 May 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/edward-hirsch-poems-my-fathers-107127 Poet Edward Hirsch http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/poet-edward-hirsch-106990 <p><p>A native of Chicago,&nbsp;<strong>Edward Hirsch</strong>&nbsp;has published several books of poems since 1981, including 1986&rsquo;s &ldquo;<em>Wild Gratitude</em>,&rdquo; winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent book is &ldquo;<em>The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems</em>,&rdquo; published in 2011 by <strong>Alfred A. Knopf.</strong></p><div>His prose books include the 1999 best-seller &ldquo;<em>How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love With Poetry</em>&rdquo; and &ldquo;<em>Poet&rsquo;s Choice</em>,&rdquo; a 2007 collection of essay-letters from the <em>Washington Post Book World</em>. &ldquo;It takes a brave poet to follow Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Milton into the abyss,&rdquo; poet <strong>Dana Goodyear</strong> wrote about Hirsch in the <em>Los Angeles Times Book Review</em>. &ldquo;Hirsch&rsquo;s poems (are) compassionate, reverential, sometimes relievingly ruthless.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Hirsch, who has a doctorate in folklore, has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Society of Midland Authors was established in 1915 as an organization for published authors in the Midwest. For details on the group, visit www.midlandauthors.com.</div><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SMA-webstory_8.gif" style="float: left;" title="" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Recorded live Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at the Cliff Dwellers Club.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 14:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/poet-edward-hirsch-106990 Gillian Flynn discusses new book, "Gone Girl" http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/gillian-flynn-discusses-new-book-gone-girl-105540 <p><p><strong>Gillian Flynn</strong> is the author of <em>Gone Girl</em>, a best seller on <em>The New York Times</em> best seller fiction list. &nbsp;The Chicago writer is a former TV critic for <em>Entertainment Weekly</em>. &nbsp;Her previous novels are <em>Sharp Objects</em>, an Edgar Award finalist and the winner of two of Britain&#39;s Dagger Awards, and <em>Dark Places</em>. This event was presented by the Society of Midland Authors, an organization established in 1915 for published authors in the Midwest. The Chicago Public Library &nbsp;co-hosted the event.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79277248" width="100%"></iframe></p><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CPL-webstory_29.jpg" title="" />&nbsp;&nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SMA-webstory_4.gif" title="" /></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Recorded&nbsp;Wednesday February 13, 2013 at the Harold Washington Library Center.</div></p> Wed, 13 Feb 2013 15:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/gillian-flynn-discusses-new-book-gone-girl-105540 Author Jonathan Eig on how the feds 'got Caponed' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/author-jonathan-eig-how-feds-got-caponed <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//capone resize.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Like a shot of fine whiskey, the story of Al Capone's rise and fall runs through the veins of most Chicagoans. A recent book takes a different look at the legendary tale of how the government got their man.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>It's called <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Get-Capone-Captured-Americas-Gangster/dp/141658059X">Get Capone: The Secret Plot that Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster</a>.</p><p>We talked with <a target="_blank" href="http://www.getcapone.com/">Jonathan Eig</a>, the book&rsquo;s author and native Chicagoan, says the book resulted from new material. It belonged to the man who locked Capone up for tax evasion. <br /><br />Tuesday evening Jonathan Eig talks about Chicago&rsquo;s most famous gangster at an event hosted by the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.midlandauthors.com/">Society of Midland Authors</a>. It&rsquo;s at 6 p.m. at the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cliff-chicago.org/">Cliff Dwellers Club</a> on Michigan Ave.</p></p> Tue, 09 Nov 2010 15:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/author-jonathan-eig-how-feds-got-caponed