Hale Garrison's play Humanity Stew premiers this month, February 2015 at Peoria's Cornstock Theatre. No, it's not about cannibalism. It's a collection of seven short comedies knitted by an over all narrative involving a grandfather and granddaughter. We talked about the play and the writing of it as well as about Hale's experience directing for the first time last year--Woody Allen's Honeymoon Motel.
Our late colleague at Illinois Central College, Philosophy professor Ed Abplanalp, wrote poetry. A collection of his poems,Postmodern Shamanism, has just been published posthumously. It is amazingly good work, and everybody should read it. Sarah Parlier and I discuss what we loved about Ed and admired about his work. Sarah reads some of Ed's poems beautifully.
Stephanie Guedet talks about her scholarly and personal fascination with various kinds of autobiographical writing. We discussed issues of candor, accuracy, and lying, as well as the way writing one's life is a way to shape it. She also discussed her admiration for the memoirs of Mary Karr, especially her books The Liar's Club, Cherry, and Lit.
Our colleague Illinois Central College colleague Ed Abplanalp died in 2014. He was a Philosophy professor who also wrote poetry. Susan Hillabold, Paul Resnick, and I talked about Ed's poems, looking over advance copies of a collection of his poems that will be published in 2015.
Doug Day is an actor and a director. We talked about his recent staged reading of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and about his experience adapting other works for stage performances. He wrote a stage adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and he also did a modern update of Moliere's classic French comedy The Imaginary Invalid.
Nick Walker and I talked about his poetry, including how reading Walt Whitman helped him realize that this stuff he'd been writing could be called poetry. He also discussed the uses of poetry in everyday life.
Illinois Central College has started a One Book, One College program in which everyone is encouraged to read the same book. The inaugural choice is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, a novel set in a dystopian, gamified world of the 2040s. Amy Glass, a librarian at ICC, has graciously agreed to have a conversation with me about this engaging page-turner and what it says about our current world.
Burt Raabe's poetry sounds like the man himself: down-to-earth, humble, intelligent, and engaged in the conditions and problems of his society. His poetry comes from a great number of sources, including his work visiting prisons, his interest in religion, and his intimate knowledge of Peoria's streets and neighborhoods.
Cheri Nordstrom sat in I Know You Like a Book for a wide ranging conversation. We talked about her poetry, her interest in dada, how she writes, the Peoria poetry scene, and her love of Federico Garcia Lorca.
Few cultural workers are as heroic as independent booksellers. Mary Beth Nebel, who runs I Know You Like a Book in Peoria Heights, talks about the pleasures and adventures of running a bookstore in the 21st century.