Literati is pleased to welcome journalist Edward McClelland who will be discussing his new book book Folktales and Legends of the Middle West.
About Folktales and Legends of the Middle West:
America’s first superheroes lived in the Midwest. There was Nanabozho, the Ojibway man-god who conquered the King of Fish, took control of the North Wind, and inspired Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha. Paul Bunyan, the larger-than-life North Woods lumberjack, created Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes with his giant footsteps. More recently, Pittsburgh steelworker Joe Magerac squeezed out rails between his fingers, and Rosie the Riveter churned out the planes that won the world’s most terrible war. In Folktales and Legends of the Middle West, Edward McClelland collects these stories and more. Readers will learn the sea shanties of the Great Lakes sailors and the spirituals of the slaves following the North Star across the Ohio River, and be frightened by tales of the Lake Erie Monster and Wisconsin’s dangerous Hodag. A history of the region as told through its folklore, music, and legends, this is a book every Midwestern family should own.
Edward McClelland is a journalist. His writing has appeared in publications such as the Columbia Journalism Review, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Salon. He is the author of How to Speak Midwestern, Nothin’ But Blue Skies and Young Mr. Obama. He lives in Chicago
Join us for a special Storytime event with author Robert Burleigh who will be reading from his new book: Trapped! a Whale’s Rescue.
In the icy waters of the Pacific, a massive humpback whale unexpectedly finds herself tangled in a net abandoned by fishermen. When a rescue boat and a convoy of divers arrive to help the struggling humpback, a realistic and moving encounter bridges the human and aquatic worlds.
Based on an event that took place near San Francisco in 2005, this picture book depicts a humpback whale swimming, diving, and feeding freely until she becomes entangled in abandoned, drifting nets. Her struggles draw the ropes tighter until, trapped, she stops and lies still. Boats bring rescuers to the scene. Five divers cut the lines, one by one, until the whale can swim again. “She moves among the cheering rescuers, softly nudging each one, as if saying thanks.” The whale breaches and swims away. In Minor’s beautifully composed gouache paintings, the whale is a silent but enormously empathetic character. Several appended pages offer more information about the actual event, whale rescues in general, and humpback whales in particular. Adults reading the book aloud may want to introduce words such as spyhop, lobtail, fluke, and krill before beginning,to avoid breaking the cadence of the writing once the story is underway. Like the stately illustrations, the precise prose has a dignity that is worthy of its subject and unusual in a picture book for preschool and primary-grade children. Although the episode of the whale’s entrapment and release is short, it will linger in young listeners’ minds long after the book is closed.
– Booklist, *starred review
Robert Burleigh is the author of many books for children, including Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic illustrated by Wendell Minor (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 2011); Fly, Cher Ami, Fly!: The Pigeon Who Saved the Lost Battalion (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2008); and Homerun: The Story of Babe Ruth (Sandpiper, 2003).
Literati is pleased to welcome author Anna-Lisa Cox who will be sharing her new book The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality.
About The Bone and Sinew of the Land:
The long-hidden stories of America’s black pioneers, the frontier they settled, and their fight for the heart of the nation
When black settlers Keziah and Charles Grier started clearing their frontier land in 1818, they couldn’t know that they were part of the nation’s earliest struggle for equality; they were just looking to build a better life. But within a few years, the Griers would become early Underground Railroad conductors, joining with fellow pioneers and other allies to confront the growing tyranny of bondage and injustice.
The Bone and Sinew of the Land tells the Griers’ story and the stories of many others like them: the lost history of the nation’s first Great Migration. In building hundreds of settlements on the frontier, these black pioneers were making a stand for equality and freedom. Their new home, the Northwest Territory–the wild region that would become present-day Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin–was the first territory to ban slavery and have equal voting rights for all men. Though forgotten today, in their own time the successes of these pioneers made them the targets of racist backlash. Political and even armed battles soon ensued, tearing apart families and communities long before the Civil War. This groundbreaking work of research reveals America’s forgotten frontier, where these settlers were inspired by the belief that all men are created equal and a brighter future was possible.
Anna-Lisa Cox is the author of A Stronger Kinship: One Town’s Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith, and an award-winning historian. Currently a fellow at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, she also recently helped create two historical exhibits based on her original research at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, including one on black pioneers. She lives in Michigan.
Literati is pleased to welcome author Brooks Rexroat who will be sharing his collection Thrift Store Coats.
About Thrift Store Coats:
Brooks Rexroat’s Thrift Store Coats transports readers to the postindustrial Midwest and explores the lives of those living on its quiet edge. Interwoven with themes of love, lineage, poverty, and survival, the characters in these stories grapple with the idea of identity — not only of where they fit into the world, but of how their origins impact their place in the future.
The collection’s titular story of focuses on a couple’s navigation of poverty after the recession leaves each of them suddenly unemployed. In “Waiting Out the Apocalypse”, characters from all walks of life are forced into action by that which is out of their control: the decisions of local lawmakers, and the devastating effects of a hurricane’s landfall. “Five Meals in Paris” explores themes of solitude and circumstance by following a factory worker from Ohio as he fulfills his lifelong dream of traveling to Paris, France.
While Brooks Rexroat’s prose possesses the power to break the hearts of readers, he establishes himself as a voice to be heard by masterfully repairing what has been broken — with unflinching honesty, and with a stunning sense of empathy.
Brooks Rexroat was raised near Cincinnati, Ohio at the intersection of the Rust Belt and Appalachia: the crossing point of mountain and farm field, boarded mine and shuttered factory, the water that splits north from south. The importance of place has always surrounded him, and it deeply inhabits his characters.
After earning a Master of Fine Arts Degree in creative prose from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he embarked on a journey in higher education that has included teaching opportunities at open enrollment community colleges, regional public universities, and rigorous private liberal arts colleges. Now based at Brescia University in Western Kentucky, Rexroat spent the 2016-2017 academic year as a Fulbright U.S. Teaching and Research Scholar at Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University in Siberia, Russia. He was a 2014 Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Fellow in Cassis, France and his stories and essays have appeared in more than 30 journals and magazines on three continents.
All invited to read and discuss their poetry or short stories. Bring about 6 copies of your work to share.
7-9 p.m., Crazy Wisdom, 114 S. Main. Free. 665-2757
Literai is pleased to welcome author Wendell Mayo who will be sharing his new story collection Survival House.
About Survival House:
Often humorous, always resonant, the ten stories in Survival House not only look back to the collective mind of doom in the atomic age of the 1950s and 1960s, but also address its legacy in our time–the emergence of new nuclear powers, polarizing politics, and the ever-tightening grip of corporations. In contemporary stories, such as “Doom Town,” a festival annually celebrates the survival of the human race by conducting riotous air raids. In “The Trans-Siberian Railway Comes to Whitehouse,” a bar owner desperately clings to a new all-things-Russian theme to save himself from financial ruin. Other stories, set in the 1960s, recast the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy assassination, and Space Race in personal histories of the human heart that remind us what it takes to endure–both then, and now.
Wendell Mayo is also author of three more full-length story collections: Centaur of the North; B. Horror and Other Stories; and a novel-in-stories, In Lithuanian Wood. He’s recipient of the Premio Aztlán, an NEA fellowship, and a Fulbright to Lithuania. Over one-hundred of his short stories have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, including Yale Review, Harvard Review, New Letters, Missouri Review, Prism International, and others.
Literati is thrilled to welcome renowned pastry chef Stella Parks who will be sharing her new book BraveTart: Iconic American Deserts.
A New York Times Bestseller
Named a Best Baking Book of the Year by the Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Bon Appetit, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Mother Jones, the Boston Globe and more
“The most groundbreaking book on baking in years. Full stop.”–Saveur
Stella Parks is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. She was named one of America’s Best New Pastry Chefs by Food & Wine. When not at home in Lexington, Kentucky, Stella can be found at the Serious Eats test kitchen in Brooklyn, New York.
Performance by this award-winning Indian poet, who writes in both English and Bengali. Her 1st collection, Blue Rose, was published May 2017. The program begins with open mike readings.
7-8:30 p.m., Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, 123 W. Washington. Free. 994-6663.
Z.G. Tomaszewski is a rambler, fisherman, musician, and author of three books of poem: All Things Dusk (winner of the Hong Kong University International Poetry Prize), Mineral Whisper, and River Nocturne. His work expresses a fragile, learned confidence — a spiritual wavering of breath exhaled, a dream cross-hatched through memory.
7-9 p.m., Crazy Wisdom, 114 S. Main. Free. 665-2757.
Literati is pleased to welcome back poet Keith Taylor who will be sharing his new collection Ecstatic Destinations.
About Ecstatic Destinations:
In Ecstatic Destinations, Keith Taylor takes us on a walk through his neighborhood in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His joyous and often wry observations of chance encounters, his neighbors, parks, the history of his own backyard, plus the ever present traffic, spark us to reimagine both the layers of our own most intimate, if everyday environments and our place in them.
On the surface, the book can be said to start and end on a park bench. Keith walks all year and we can feel the passing of the seasons. We get his easy familiarity with his regular stops along the way, the neighbors he meets, everyone’s yards, their trees, and the sounds that surround it all. Night has set by the end; we have arrived.
Artist Mary Shea complements Keith’s journey of reflection and ecstasy with her cover paintings and interior drawings and prints.
Keith Taylor has published many books over the years: collections of poetry, a collection of very short stories, co-edited volumes of essays and fiction, and a volume of poetry translated from Modern Greek.