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Destroy the Language: Matt Hart and the Poets of “Locuspoint: Quad Cities,” March 10 at Rozz-Tox PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Literature
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 08 March 2012 08:52

Matt Hart

Philosophy wouldn’t seem to lead naturally to poetry, but it can if you find the right philosopher. For Cincinnati-based poet Matt Hart – who will be reading from his work on Saturday at Rozz-Tox along with poets from the Quad Cities edition of the national journal Locuspoint – it was the 20th Century Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Hart fell in love with poetry as an undergraduate at Ball State University, but he studied philosophy. Pursing a graduate degree in the subject at Ohio University, though, “I really bought Wittgenstein hook, line, and sinker. As a result, I quit doing philosophy. One of his main ideas is that philosophy is a sort of mental illness; if you understand him, you quit doing it.”

And Wittgenstein offered an alternative to philosophy’s relentless rational argument, writing that “philosophy ought really to be written only as a form of poetry.”

 
Kitties in the Christmas Stocking: Local Author Connie Corcoran Wilson Releases a New Children's Book for the Holidays PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Literature
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 21 November 2011 06:00

Connie Corcoran Wilson with granddaughters Ava and Elise WilsonSome grandmas, during the holiday season, will give toys as presents. Others will give clothes.

Connie Corcoran Wilson, though, is giving her granddaughters a book ... that she wrote and published herself.

“It’s my Christmas gift to the girls,” says Wilson of her new children’s book Christmas Cats in Silly Hats, the second self-published work by the much-published local author. “I wrote it for them, and thought it would be a nice present.

“Of course,” she says with a laugh, “marketing-wise, I didn’t think it would be such a dumb thing, either. You might not rush out to buy it in July, but in December ... !”

 
“Go Back to China”: Bo Caldwell, November 30 at St. Ambrose University’s Rogalski Center PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Literature
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 17 November 2011 14:34

Bo CaldwellGiven that her November 30 lecture at St. Ambrose University is titled “Finding Faith & Fiction in China,” it seems odd that author Bo Caldwell has never actually been to the country.

Once you know her story, though, the title of the lecture (being presented as part of the school’s academic-year-long China Project) makes more sense. Caldwell might not have found faith and fiction in the physical China, but she did in a China that has disappeared – the place where her grandparents and uncle lived and worked in the first half of the 20th Century.

“I was writing about a China that was long ago,” Caldwell explained in an interview last month. “And the country and the city of Shanghai have changed so dramatically. ... I didn’t feel like it would help me that much to go there.”

She added that “China has a connection in a home-like way. That’s where my grandparents spent much of their lives. It’s where my mom and her siblings grew up. Chinese things when I was a kid felt like home in a weird way.”

The Distant Land of My Father was published in 2001 and follows the outline of her uncle’s life in Shanghai – how he lost his wealth and almost his life during a tumultuous time. Last year’s City of Tranquil Light is based on the experiences of her missionary grandparents in China.

That makes clear how Caldwell found fiction in China. But faith was a function of breast cancer and its treatment, both of which changed the nature of the book that would become City of Tranquil Light.

 
A Lifelong Commitment to Iowa: Zachary Michael Jack, July 21 at the Bettendorf Public Library PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Literature
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 14 July 2011 07:24

Zachary Michael Jack

Author Zachary Michael Jack is a seventh-generation Iowan – the son of a farmer – who lives in Jones County, and like many people with deep roots in the Hawkeye State, his identity is intertwined with his home.

“It’s a state that we imprint very strongly on where we’re from and [that] we consider a lifelong commitment,” he said in a phone interview this week. “Each person manifests that advocacy in different ways. ...

“If you do love a place, part of that love ultimately evolves into advocacy for that place. ... Kind of put your weight behind things that are homegrown.”

The 37-year-old Jack – who will speak and read from his creative-nonfiction book Native Soulmate (scheduled for September release) at the Bettendorf Public Library on July 21 – is throwing his weight around in writing. An associate professor of English at North Central College, he has edited Iowa: The Definitive Collection and Letters to a Young Iowan: Good Sense from the Good Folks of Iowa for Young People Everywhere.

But with last year’s What Cheer, Jack started on a new path. It was his first novel, and a mystery wrapped around a love story – in the conventional man-and-woman sense, but also reflecting a love of the Midwest and of traditions and things nearly lost to time.

 
A Voice for the Voiceless: Heather Gudenkauf, April 16 at the Bettendorf Public Library PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Literature
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 21:55

Heather GudenkaufLike many people, Heather Gudenkauf thought she had a novel in her. But that’s where her story breaks from the usual.

She wrote that novel and got a literary agent. And then she found a publisher (Mira Books, an imprint of Harlequin Enterprises) willing to give her an advance-against-royalties deal. And then The Weight of Slience sold more than 300,000 copies.

It’s rare enough for an aspiring author to actually finish that dreamed-of novel, but in the book world today, it’s virtually unheard of for a previously unpublished writer to have the success that Gudenkauf has found. “That’s what I’ve been told,” she said in a phone interview last week, promoting her April 16 appearance at the Bettendorf Public Library.

 
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