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.
Brian Katcher came all the way from his home in Missouri, where he's a school librarian, and he talked with me about his YA novels while he was in Peoria promoting his books. His first book, Playing with Matches made the American Library Association list of best books for Young Adults in 2009, and it won the 2010-2011 North Carolina Young Adult Book Award. His second novel, Almost Perfect, also made it to the ALA list of best books for Young Adults when it came out in 2010 and it won the 2011 Stonewall Children and Young Adult literature award because, not only is it a very good book, but it's one of the few novles for Young Adults that addresses transgender issues. And his latest book Everyone Dies in the End, Brian's venture in horror writing, is too new to rack up its own list of awards yet. Wow. Quite a career already, and it just started a few years ago.
Steve Halle is involved in so many literary projects that we didn't have time to talk about them all. He's the Director of the Publications Unit at Illinois State University, but on the side he edits the on-line lit mag Seven Corners, runs co•im•press (literary micropress), organizes the Re:Verse poetry reading series in Bloomington-Normal, and writes his own darn good poetry. We sat in the Hansen Student Center at Illinois Wesleyan University while they were setting up for a poetry reading that evening--so that's the clattering you may hear in the background.
Samuel Wildenradt visited our show on a trip home home to Peoria from England, where he lives on a commune. He talks about some and reads some of the poetry from his two books,The Fervent Crab and Self-Portrait. His work is lyrical, confessional, and original.
Quiet intensity: that's how George Tanner writes and how you will hear his poetry in our conversation. He reads a few poems from his collection The Scent of Wood Smoke. It's beautiful.
Literary scholar Ethan Hedman talks about his fascination with two major writers, 19th century Russian Fyodor Dostoevsky and 20th century American John Steinbeck. He especially talks about how he found himself in a fierce intellectual quarrel with Dostoevsky.