For those of you who missed us at the Fox Valley Arts Ramble, here is the video we produced for that event:
For those of you who missed us at the Fox Valley Arts Ramble, here is the video we produced for that event:
April 15th, 2018: Welcome to Waterline Writers! We host live readings on 3rd Sundays at 7 PM. At 8:30, Frank Rutledge hosts our Open Mic, limited to 6 writers. (We want to hear many different writers. Please don’t sign up more often than every other month!)
Donna Pucciani, a long-time fan of Waterline Writers and frequent reader, has published poetry on four continents. Her work has been translated into Japanese, Chinese, German and Italian. Her seventh and most recent book of poetry is Edges, available tonight for $15. She’s reading from her chapbook, Ghost Garden (available tonight for $10), which traces her genealogical adventures finding her roots in Italy. For more about Donna: donnapuccianipoet.wordpress.com
Christopher Kuhl is a frequently published poet and an active reader of his work. Recently, he has begun to explore short fiction: he has published all his stories, and in 2016 won Editor’s Choice for his story, “Wade,” in Inscape. He is trained in all the arts except for literature, but has always written, and continues to improve. His new poetry collection, Night Travels, was released in August. When not writing, Christopher is either doing visual art or studying Hebrew. He is never bored. Christopher will have Blood and Bone, River and Stone available for $6 and Night Travels for $6. For more about Christopher: christopherkuhlpoet.com.
David W. Berner is a journalist, broadcaster, teacher and author of four memoirs and two novels. Of A Well-Respected Man, The San Francisco Review of Books says, “Impressive…writing with an enormous sense of humanity.” His broadcast reporting and documentaries air on WBBM, the CBS Radio Network, and on NPR. David is a former Writer-in-Residence at the Hemingway Birthplace in Oak Park and the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando. His writing appears in Eunoia Review, Under the Gum Tree, PERIGEE, Tiny Lights Journal and others. David will have A Well-Respected Man or October Song available for $12 tonight. For more about David: davidwberner.com
John Arends is a poet, author, playwright and screenwriter. He participated in the early days of Marc Smith’s poetry slams at the Green Mill in Chicago, and more recently is writing scripts for Hollywood and television. Tonight, he’ll read a scene from his full-length play, Of Sorrow Songs and Treason. It’s a work in progress, inspired by the life of civil rights activist Paul Robeson. His collection of poetry, SINEW – Muscle Poems and Mantras, Bar Rants and Bliss, is available on Amazon or he’ll have copies tonight for $5.
Frank Rutledge is an author of poetry and short fiction, a musician, and popular host of 3 Open Mics: Modest Mic (3rd Wed, Sugar Grove Library), Harmonious Howl (Graham’s 318, 4th Thurs, summer), and Waterline’s (3rd Sundays). He’s a co-founder of Open Sky Poets and Early Risers Writers, and a pillar of Waterline Writers. He’s been published in A Café in Space: an Anais Nin literary magazine, Arts Beat, the Downtown Auroran and Foxtales Anthologies. Frank will have copies of Clothed in August Skin and Eat the Punchline–This Joke Is Over for $6 each tonight. His haiku, Voice in a Whisper, is $5 tonight. Frank’s books are also available on Amazon.
Our venue! Water Street Studios makes Waterline Writers possible! Please become a member of WSS, sign up for Art Classes, attend 2nd Friday exhibit openings or 4th Friday Live Art Series, or expand your art collection – buy work from the main gallery or from one of the 26 resident artists’ studios!
Our neighbors! Kiss The Sky hosts live music and offers new & vintage vinyl, audio equipment and eclectic gifts! Check out this local gem, our collaborators in the May 20th Blues-themed Waterline event:
Let The Blues Be Your Muse, our special May 20th blues-themed literary event, is designed to kick off June’s Art of the Blues exhibit 6/8, Blues & Roots on Water Street 6/9, and the 22nd Annual Blues on the Fox Festival 6/15-16 with poetry, essays and fiction evoking and celebrating The Blues. Scott Tipping & Dave Nelson will help curate this event, which will also feature live blues! Find the event on Facebook, at WaterlineWriters.org or contact Paula Garrett at email@example.com.
Friends of the Fox are looking for poets and storytellers to share their work on Love Our River Clean Up Day (5/12 in Elgin, 5/19 in Batavia). The clean-up will end with live music, stories, poetry, contests, picnic, treasure hunt and environmental exhibits. Contact Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frank Rutledge hosts Modest Mic for writers and musicians at The Sugar Grove Library, 125 S. Municipal Dr. on 3rd Wednesdays from 6:30-8 PM.
Thanks to our crew Frank Rutledge, Chuck Bennorth, Ginny Klespitz, Ray Ziemer, Paula Garrett, Barbara Barrows & Rick Veague; WSS’s Dani Hollis & Jaime Gutierrez; and to our wonderful audience!
I would like to go to a fine Thai restaurant with Ralph Waldo Emerson. Then after our stomachs are satiated, discuss the deeper things of life over coffee. Or maybe share a picnic and balloon ride with Emily Dickinson.”
First off, I am always inspired by reading poetry. It’s important for my growth as a poet that I do. My inspiration comes from open observation of the everyday, reflection on emotions and an active imagination. I’m always mulling over my experiences I have had or am having. I’m a romantic at heart and always trying to impress the muse. I’ve been enchanted with the work of a painter friend of mine. My life is enriched contemplating other artistic media and disciplines. Music. Painting. Theater etc.
I have been writing and gathering new poems for my next book, “A Tattered Square of Joy.” I’m excited with anticipation to be sharing new work with an audience, the fresh poems I’ve created this winter. Often, I get the urge to dabble in the prose discipline, to tangle with sentences and paragraphs. Therefore, when I’m not working on free verse poetry, my brain wanders to prose poems (flash fiction). I’m enjoying visiting that different place in my mind.
Lately, I have been entranced with the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca. His clarity and precision of vocabulary impresses me. He has a way of making it look simple but I’m certain it is accredited to his aptitude and practice of craft. His poetry is well polished yet doesn’t sacrifice emotion. Like other Latin poets and writers his meanings are ensconced in a gentle surrealism. Specifically, I’ve been spending time in his collection, “A Season in Granada.”
I would like to go to a fine Thai restaurant with Ralph Waldo Emerson. Then after our stomachs are satiated, discuss the deeper things of life over coffee. Or maybe share a picnic and balloon ride with Emily Dickinson.
I’d invite Jane Austen [to dinner], whose sharp wit and brilliant control of satire would provide a lively commentary on the current political scene that would no doubt rival Colbert, Oliver, and SNL, among others.”
The inspiration for my chapbook, Ghost Garden, was the desire to connect with my Italian roots. After I retired from teaching a few years ago, I had time to research my family tree and discovered hundreds of Italian ancestors and also a few living cousins with whom I have become close friends. Together we have visited “our” village in southern Italy and walked the cobbled streets of our grandmothers, linking arms with each other and the past.
Current projects include preparing for a reading of my latest full-length poetry collection, EDGES, for First Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, and participating in Poetry Month displays at Chicago and suburban libraries.
Latest “good reads” include A Gentleman from Moscow by Amor Towles and Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney. One is by an established author, the other new, and they are polar opposites in plot, style, and characters. But both books are brimming with the kind of exquisite prose, particularly the “voices” of their narrators, that inspire me as a poet.
I’d invite Jane Austen, whose sharp wit and brilliant control of satire would provide a lively commentary on the current political scene that would no doubt rival Colbert, Oliver, and SNL, among others.
…I realize that even children are mortal, and by the time they’re in school, they’re wondering about death. And that’s when we start telling them fairy tales…”
As I get older, I become more and more aware of my body, and mortality and spirituality (I don’t mean “religion”). And with that, in these poems I realize that even children are mortal, and by the time they’re in school, they’re wondering about death. And that’s when we start telling them fairy tales (religious or otherwise). But we all, ultimately ask, Why? The other thing I’m concerned with (also often in the same poem) is our relationship to the physical world, and time, and how they play into our lives.
I’m not working on any particular project now, except to become a better writer, and broaden my outlook. As I say that, though, I also have to say I have a little germ in the back of my head, because since my last book, I’ve been finding, feeling that these new poems are related in some way. So I’ll just say that the germ in my head also has a working title: TIMES THAT BIND, TIES THAT REND. But it’ll be a while before anything comes of that because I’m also just concentrating on learning more things. In any case, book or no book, I’m having a good time.
I have to expand this to two, one a short novel, the other a collection of poems. First, the novel: A LESSON BEFORE DYING, by Ernest J. Gaines. It’s a powerful, angry and compassionate book about race, (in)justice, relationships between others, and with ourselves. It just blew me away. And the writing is beautiful. The other book is a collection of poems that won the 2014 Walt Whitman Award: THE SAME-DIFFERENT, by Hannah Sanghee Park. Talk about playing with language in all kinds of ways that I’ve never seen before. It’s absolutely fascinating. I keep it next to me, dipping into it again and again. Find a copy, read it, and be prepared to fall over with the power and depth and tragedy and playing that this book provides.
Flannery O’Connor. A short fiction writer and novelist, her language, imagery and spirit have, in their own way, shaped me. Although her work is fiction, she still deals, with power and twisted wit (I don’t seem to have that in my work), many of the issues that drive me.
What would you do if asked to fulfill someone’s last wishes when those wishes would change your life forever?”
I have had the idea for the novel A WELL-RESPECTED MAN for several years, the theme of end-of-life wishes and modern parenthood. What would you do if asked to fulfill someone’s last wishes when those wishes would change your life forever?
I have a memoir that two publishers are vying for. And I’m working on final edits. It’s based on the theme of home—what home means, why we seek it, why it resonates so strongly with who we are. The memoir is a series of connected essays with the working title THE CONSEQUENCE OF STARS.
Oh my. Several things. Karl Ove Knausgaard’s WINTER. David Szalay’s ALL THAT MAN IS. A memoir by Nancy Chadwick entitled UNDER THE BIRCH TREE. And I finished another rmemoir recently that I loved by the great writer John Banville. TIME PIECES: A DUBLIN MEMOIR is about his life in Ireland. The writing is no less than poetic.
Just one? That’s tough. Modern day—maybe Karl Ove Knausgaard, but I hear he can be rather reserved. Dead—maybe Jack Kerouac, but he may not be able to hold his liquor. The same with Hemingway. Albert Camus would be interesting—all those philosophical questions. Still, he might be a bit intimidating. As I write this now, I think of Gretel Ehrlich, the author of one of my favorite books: THE SOLACE OF OPEN SPACES. But here’s the thing, if you ask me this same question a week from now, I’ll have a completely different list.
…of all the events, and all the human beings that walked planet Earth during the 20th century, it’s impossible to find one more astonishing than the story of Paul Robeson.”
My wheelhouse is in shaping and writing stories that are based on or inspired by true historical events. Most of these stories have a fascinating human being at their center. And of all the events, and all the human beings that walked planet Earth during the 20th century, it’s impossible to find one more astonishing than the story of Paul Robeson. The range, breadth and depth of his impact and achievements are remarkable. At the height of his influence and fame, his was the most recognized voice on the planet. He excelled in fields as diverse as acting for the stage and film, political activism, concert hall singing, international diplomacy, collegiate and professional athletics, Constitutional law, and civil rights — especially for indigenous, oppressed and/or working class people. His entire adult life was devoted to using his gifts and influence as a performing artist to fight against racism, fascism and colonialism– and for freedom and opportunity for all people of color, so that they could live and work in full human dignity.
On April 15th, at Waterline Writers, I’ll be reading a scene from a work-in-progress, full-length stage play. I’m about five drafts in on the rewrite. My goal is to have it ready by mid-summer for development with a local director and theater company. I’ve also recently been hired to write a screenplay for an independent feature film. It, too, is an adaptation of a book inspired by true events.
Stolen Air: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam, translated by Christian Wiman. Born in Poland and raised in St. Petersburg, Madelstam is the poet who was arrested and thrown in the Soviet gulags during the Purges, in part because of his poem The Stalin Epigram. In it, he compares Stalin’s mustache to a pair of laughing cockroaches.
The inspiration behind Skip Tracer is my mother, who’s 90. A few years ago, she fell for her young garbageman. Because she’s a Polish busia, she’d hand him a plate of pierogis to take on his route.”
This one’s easy! The inspiration behind Skip Tracer is my mother, who’s 90. A few years ago, she fell for her young garbageman. Because she’s a Polish busia, she’d hand him a plate of pierogis to take on his route. She said he was a widower with triplets, but she’s extremely hard of hearing, so I’ll never know for sure. Before I could meet him, his route changed and their “relationship” ended. When I was thinking about the next thing to write, my mind wandered back to him. What really was the story there? Since I’ll never know, I made one up.
I’ve got something different brewing, harder to write and more serious in tone. I have to take a deep breath and dive in; I’m still circling around the edges.
I’ll choose LaRose by Louise Erdrich. She has a way of adding a dash of magic to a really hard story, that sticks with me, kind of haunts me. I’ve been a fan of hers forever, since Love Medicine blew the roof off my little brain.
Because I’d be mute in front of my most beloved authors, I’d need to invite two so they could talk to each other, while I knelt in a corner, head bowed. I think Jane Austen and Jack London would have to work so hard for points in common, that they wouldn’t notice what I’d cooked. That would be good! My results in the kitchen are mixed!
Most of the poems are very personal, sharing expressions about family members and close friends.”
Most of the poems are very personal, sharing expressions about family members and close friends. I also reach back a little to childhood memories.
I’m working on a novel based on experiences as a teenager growing up on the south side in the 60’s
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. I was sorry to finish it.
I expect Mark Twain would be a lively and entertaining guest.
Dad was an artist who emphasized the importance of craft; Hal [my brother] was a craftsman who emphasized the importance of art.”
My earliest memory is of my mother reading me stories, so that is my conscious starting point. Also, during my childhood my father was a wordsmith who wrote in genres ranging from short stories to highly intellectual articles for theology journals, and my older brother Hal enjoyed writing nonsense verse and eventually grew into a serious songwriter and musician. Dad was an artist who emphasized the importance of craft; Hal was a craftsman who emphasized the importance of art. Their collective influence was certainly in the neighborhood when I started scribbling little poems at the age of 12 or 13.
For commissioned freelance pieces I generally write at night, with 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. being the sweet-spot. Mornings and afternoons are for research, editing, and revision.
My creative writing process is hit-and-run. Initially I put words down without any structural concerns; if it calls me back, I bring tools to shore up the structure. For poetry the return call may come after a few minutes, a few days, or a few years—if at all. If the writing leans toward prose, eventually it will likely be finished off within the “10-to-2/edit in the morning” frame.
At present all of my writing takes place in my poorly lit basement office. It’s a beautiful spot.
I’ll be reading two pieces from Winter Sun: A Memoir of Love and Hospice; the inspiration is contained within the title.
Currently I am editing and designing Priests Without People, a novel by Nicholas P. Cafardi scheduled to be published by The Ross House Press in April.
The Ross House Press is an imprint of Canopic Publishing that has been established as an alternative for authors who want control of the production and distribution of their work but don’t have the expertise for self-publishing (RossHousePress.com).
“Letter to Miss McClurg,” a poem by Gene Kimmet that won’t let go.
Jonathan Swift. To awkwardly borrow a baseball metaphor he wouldn’t understand, his work demonstrates the ability to master any literary position. Probably good at keeping the conversation going, too.