Tag Archives: poetry

Riverwest FemFest 2017 – In their words

By Joey Grihalva

Wisconsin has some incredibly talented female artists. That is not an “alternative fact.” 

But you might not know it if you went to any random concert, art gallery or comedy club. In an effort to address this gender imbalance, multiple venues in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood played host to a parade of female and female-identifying creatives for five days last week — from teenage rockers to soprano singers, visual artists to spoken word poets.

What was originally intended simply to be a basement party thank you to the inspiring women in Olivia Doyle’s life three years ago, has blossomed into Riverwest FemFest, possibly the state’s largest female-focused arts festival.

The third installment of FemFest took place amid an international outpouring of support for women and disapproval of President Trump. It also served as a fundraiser for the Milwaukee Coalition for Justice and the Milwaukee Women’s Center.

Rather than recap the festival, I interviewed over a dozen organizers and performers, allowing them to describe the significance of FemFest in their voice.

[All photos by Jessi Paetzke.]

Olivia Doyle, founder

I started it because I was feeling empowered by the women around me, to the point where it really changed my life. I went back to school. I started wanting more of myself because they reminded me that I deserve it. It was a truly powerful experience for me to meet all these women in Riverwest, so the first fest was really just a thank you. It was never meant to be what it is now. 

Why is the diversity of arts at the festival important?

Because women and femmes are creative in other ways that aren’t just music. And we want to showcase as much of their creativity as we can.

Have there been any growing pains with the festival over the years?

This year especially has been a real learning process for us, with the expansion of everything that we’re including and also with how big we’re getting. We’re reaching a lot more people. So it’s really like a community event and there’s lots of different people in this community, so learning to be as inclusive as possible is a process. 

What are some of the things you’re most proud of in terms of the festival?

As a whole, watching all these people perform that I love and I’m inspired by. I’m very proud to have created this platform. In terms of a specific moment, Jenna Knapp did spoken word, she’s a childhood friend of mine. Being able to introduce her and tell the audience why she’s so inspiring to me and then have her read her poetry, which people loved, it made me feel like a proud mom. It’s really wonderful to see all these people that I love and care about do what they love and care about.

Jenna Knapp [Photo by Jessi Paetzke]

Ellie Jackson, organizer and musician (Scape)

I’ve been involved in music and radio from an early age. I joined a community radio station when I was in college. When I got involved with music I realized there was like a 20-to-1 ratio between the bands I was playing that were male and the bands that were female. Not because I wanted to, but those were the numbers. I asked the station manager if I could do an all-female focused show and they told me that that was sexist. I said, “It doesn’t feel sexist though. The music industry is sexist!”

So for me FemFest is an opportunity to celebrate those female artists that I wasn’t given permission to celebrate before. Now we’re taking the permission. Riverwest is also where I live so the community here is very important to me. But certainly supporting creatives everywhere is also very important to me.

Why is it important to have a diversity of arts at the festival?

I think that we as a culture underestimate other arts. Like a great example is that here we are in this venue (Company Brewing) where you can come and buy a beer and watch music almost any night of the week, which is a beautiful thing. But there isn’t really that culture around 2D art, there isn’t exactly that culture around the Milwaukee Art Museum and other performance arts. They’re not quite as celebrated as musical art. We have a culture with bar venues and theater venues that make it easier to celebrate musical art, but we’re really excited to have a variety night with comedians and other performance art. There was a burlesque performance, we have an art gallery and we have a Maker’s Fair upstairs, so we’re trying to sort of spread out all the creativity.

Were you a part of the festival last year?

No, I just came to it. I came to it on Saturday, one year ago today, and I remember walking into this space and just being so impressed with all the performances and I guess just feeling like, “Duh. Of course we should celebrate this, these people are amazing!” And the fact that the ratio is still not even.

It’s a no-brainer that this festival needs to happen and people need to come and experience the talent that these female performers have. And then to be in a room with people that are genuinely interested in celebrating femme creativity and supporting Milwaukee organizations, because it’s all a fundraiser. Also actively working on not being sexist and being allies for that cause. It felt great, so as soon as it happened last year I was like, “Who do I talk to? How do I get involved in this?”

Britney Freeman-Farr, musician (B~Free, Foreign Goods)

I got involved with FemFest last year when I was a part of another show with one of FemFest’s organizers, Johanna Rose. We were in Prince Uncovered together and we just connected musically.  She said, “You and Cree Myles have to be a part of FemFest!” So we called Jay Anderson, and I wasn’t even in Foreign Goods at the time, but we were all friends because my husband is in the band. They backed us and the experience was so incredibly invigorating. Not only performing, but also watching all of these women command the stage and the audiences.

There was one group in particular, Mary Allen and the Perculators, and I was just blown away. I couldn’t believe that we have this much power! And then when I saw that the festival was coming back around and I was more developed with my own solo stuff at this time, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to recreate the same magic that I experienced. I’m very happy to have the opportunity.

What does it mean for you to be a part of female focused gatherings?

It makes me feel like what I’m doing is purposeful. As we mentioned in the show this evening, ‘It’s really hard out here for a pimp.’ (laughs) It’s hard being a woman in this industry, let alone in this world. And to be able to be a thriving example of someone who not only has a craft but also makes a livelihood with it, that sets the tone for all the generations to come. I feel really good about letting the young ones know that no matter your background, or gender or creed, you can do whatever makes you happy. Forget everybody else’s standards that they place on you. I really feel like that’s the spirit behind FemFest. Celebrating that we’re not going to let you think of us as the lesser gender or anything, we’re equally as talented and important.

B~Free [Photo by Jessi Paetzke]

Gabriella Kartz, music organizer and performer (Faux Fiction)

It’s about supporting each other and celebrating people who add a lot to the Milwaukee scene in general through their various art forms. I think we’re really trying to make sure that we’re inclusive of all groups. People who are women or identify as women, we’re really trying to embrace all of that diversity. It’s what makes the fest a wonderful thing.

For me, last year was just a really positive experience. We got great feedback about our music and it was a really comfortable space to be able to express yourself. I think that’s what I really liked about it and why I wanted to be more involved this year.

Faux Fiction [Photo by Jessi Paetzke]

Kelsey Moses, comedian (Goodlanders)

This was the first time we’ve done anything outside of ComedySportz. , so it was a great opportunity to share what we do with people who might not come to ComedySportz.  How could you not enjoy a giant collaboration of beautiful, strong, powerful women being funny, being creative, being artistic, being musical? Women coming together to celebrate women, I love it.

Goodlanders [Photo by Jessi Paetzke]

Ashley Altadonna, filmmaker and musician (The Glacial Speed)

One of the great things about FemFest is that it is so inclusive. I know that they’ve had other transgender performers besides me at the festival and I think that’s great. I also had two films in the film showcase, plus all the workshops and community organizing they’re doing is fantastic. There’s just so much to see and do.

The Glacial Speed [Photo by Jessi Paetzke]

Jessi Paetzke, photographer

I attended last year because a friend invited me and it was really inspiring for me, so I wanted to get involved and photography is what I do. It’s really encouraging to see a bunch of diverse and talented women doing what they’re supposed to be doing and living out their passions. And also hearing about other people’s struggles, those of us who aren’t white men, what we face in society, how people might try to make us feel small or not welcome, and knowing that we’re not the only ones who feel that way.

Mary Joy, organizer and musician (Fox Face)

I didn’t have a strong female role model growing up and I had a lot of self-esteem issues. For me, music became that outlet of expression and that confidence builder. I’ve been playing in bands since I was 16 and that’s really where my female role models emerged. Music has been such an essential part of my identity and I realize that my story, my feminism, can relate and intersect with other people’s feminism. Our stories can come together and change a community. Our stories can help us find that self-esteem and whatever is missing in our lives.

It’s been a very empowering experience for me to have my own journey, but also to bring together other people’s journeys, wherever they’re at. And I hope they find something at FemFest, find something that they’re looking for, find a new relationship, find meaning somewhere.

Fox Face [Photo by Jessi Paetzke]

D Kirschling, volunteer (Ladies Rock)

This year the fest has really expanded and added all types of artists. I’ve known about women in the arts and music scenes for a long time and it’s great to see everybody getting together to spread the word and get to know each other and share. It’s a pretty awesome feeling. I’m hearing bands I’ve known and loved and I’m hearing new bands I haven’t been exposed to before.

Anskar Thorlac, performance artist (Maplewood Gardens – Chicago)

We’re really interested in intersectionality in our audiences. Our rituals are meant to be public and shared by large groups of people. It’s really exciting to find different communities and especially a femme identifying community, being femme identifying artists ourselves. It’s exciting to have an entry point into that community in a different city. It’s also sort of liberating doing a shared ritual for people you don’t know. Plus all of the femme organizers have been so generous and supportive and responsive.

Anskar Thorlac (Maplewood Gardens) [Photo by Jessi Paetzke]

Katie Lyne, musician (New Boyz Club, Ruth B8r Ginsburg, The Grasping at Straws)

It shows that if we have to put on a whole entire festival of female or female-fronted acts, there’s obviously something missing. We have to do this to put it at the forefront. It’s not a female-dominated scene, but it’s going to be one. The dynamic is changing. And it’s just such an awesome festival, having safe places for women like Company Brewing, places that include everyone and bring the power back to where it belongs.

I love hearing the poetry too. Hearing females tell their stories of sexual abuse or whatever it may be, especially friends of mine who I see everyday. Everyone has a struggle as a woman and to have that on stage alongside these awesome bands, it’s such a great place for women to collaborate and remember that we’re all in this together.

Rachel Clark, gallery team

FemFest is an opportunity to bring a lot of people together to talk about females and female-identifying folks. Like when we did the interviews for gallery artists, we had meetings at our houses just so people could meet and have conversations. So not only is the festival important to me because of what it stands for, but also it’s an opportunity for people to get to know each other and build community.

Groovy Dog Gallery [Photo by Jessi Paetzke]

Alexandre Maxine Hill, musician (LUXI)

FemFest means a lot to me. In the past it was harder for me to book shows as a female artist. I’m not sure people really took me seriously. So I think it’s really important that we have a place where we can have a voice and express ourselves in whatever way we want and just be the awesome women that we are.

Gabriela Riveros, gallery and Maker’s Fair artist

I think these kinds of fests are needed, especially for all the creatives that exist in Milwaukee. We need a space for other women creatives to come out of their own neighborhoods and communities and be a part of a larger project. I love the fest. There’s so much going on.

Jovan [Photo by Jessi Paetzke]

Casey O’Brien, festival-goer

I feel that women tend to have a somewhat secretive supportive role that isn’t always publicized. It sort of feels like the foundation that supports something else. And this festival puts a spotlight on people who don’t normally get a spotlight.

I think it’s easier for a woman or femme-identifying person to get up on this stage versus being on an everyday Milwaukee lineup, when too often girls are judged based on how they look or people say stuff like, “Oh she’s good for a girl.” Here no one is looking at the stage and saying, “Look they have a girl in that band!” It feels more comfortable.

Katie Lafond, musician (Siren)

I want female-focused gatherings to be unnecessary. We shouldn’t need to have an all-girl thing for people to start putting more girls on shows. I think it’s more important for the guys because it gives them something to look at and be like, “Oh, this has been in our city this whole time and I just never knew it.”

But it’s also good for younger girls to see there are women out there who are doing what they might want to do. So I think it’s good to educate men and to show kids there are better opportunities and that we’re able to do these things on stage. It’s kind of like a teaching moment where we’re saying, “You can do this too, you’re not alone.”

See more of Jessi Paetzke’s photos from Riverwest FemFest 2017 by clicking the links below.

Day 1 (Wednesday @ Art Bar)

Day 2 (Thursday @ Groovy Dog Gallery & Riverwest Public House Cooperative)

Day 3 (Friday @ Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts and Company Brewing)

Day 4 & 5 (Saturday & Sunday @ Company Brewing)

Devin Settle [Photo by Jessi Paetzke]

Notable Nobel literature winners from the past

The Swedish Academy announced on Oct. 13 that Bob Dylan is this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The prize has been awarded since 1901, when French poet Sully Prudhomme became the inaugural winner of the literature award.

The 2015 laureate was Belarusian writer and journalist Svetlana Alexievich.

The average age of the winning author is 65.

Rudyard Kipling, the British author who is perhaps best known for The Jungle Book, is still the youngest recipient from 1907 when he was 41.

The 2007 winner, Doris Lessing, also British, is the oldest at 88. Lessing, whose work ranged from memoir to science fiction, is one of only 14 female laureates.

Dylan will receive 8 million Swedish kronor (about $930,000), as well as a cherished medal.

Only two individuals have declined the award.

Boris Pasternak, who was best-known for the epic Doctor Zhivago, refused the award in 1958 following pressure from authorities in the Soviet Union, while French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre rejected it in 1964 because of a long opposition to such honors.

Here’s the list…

Bob Dylan

“for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

Svetlana Alexievich

“for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2014

Patrick Modiano

“for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2013

Alice Munro

“master of the contemporary short story”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

Mo Yan

“who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2011

Tomas Tranströmer

“because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2010

Mario Vargas Llosa

“for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2009

Herta Müller

“who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2008

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio

“author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2007

Doris Lessing

“that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2006

Orhan Pamuk

“who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2005

Harold Pinter

“who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2004

Elfriede Jelinek

“for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society’s clichés and their subjugating power”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2003

John M. Coetzee

“who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2002

Imre Kertész

“for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2001

Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul

“for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2000

Gao Xingjian

“for an æuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1999

Günter Grass

“whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1998

José Saramago

“who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1997

Dario Fo

“who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1996

Wislawa Szymborska

“for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1995

Seamus Heaney

“for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1994

Kenzaburo Oe

“who with poetic force creates an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1993

Toni Morrison

“who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1992

Derek Walcott

“for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1991

Nadine Gordimer

“who through her magnificent epic writing has – in the words of Alfred Nobel – been of very great benefit to humanity”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1990

Octavio Paz

“for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1989

Camilo José Cela

“for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man’s vulnerability”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1988

Naguib Mahfouz

“who, through works rich in nuance – now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous – has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1987

Joseph Brodsky

“for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1986

Wole Soyinka

“who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1985

Claude Simon

“who in his novel combines the poet’s and the painter’s creativeness with a deepened awareness of time in the depiction of the human condition”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1984

Jaroslav Seifert

“for his poetry which endowed with freshness, sensuality and rich inventiveness provides a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of man”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1983

William Golding

“for his novels which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1982

Gabriel García Márquez

“for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1981

Elias Canetti

“for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1980

Czeslaw Milosz

“who with uncompromising clear-sightedness voices man’s exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1979

Odysseus Elytis

“for his poetry, which, against the background of Greek tradition, depicts with sensuous strength and intellectual clear-sightedness modern man’s struggle for freedom and creativeness”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1978

Isaac Bashevis Singer

“for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1977

Vicente Aleixandre

“for a creative poetic writing which illuminates man’s condition in the cosmos and in present-day society, at the same time representing the great renewal of the traditions of Spanish poetry between the wars”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1976

Saul Bellow

“for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1975

Eugenio Montale

“for his distinctive poetry which, with great artistic sensitivity, has interpreted human values under the sign of an outlook on life with no illusions”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1974

Eyvind Johnson

“for a narrative art, far-seeing in lands and ages, in the service of freedom”

Harry Martinson

“for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1973

Patrick White

“for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1972

Heinrich Böll

“for his writing which through its combination of a broad perspective on his time and a sensitive skill in characterization has contributed to a renewal of German literature”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1971

Pablo Neruda

“for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent’s destiny and dreams”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1970

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

“for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1969

Samuel Beckett

“for his writing, which – in new forms for the novel and drama – in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1968

Yasunari Kawabata

“for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1967

Miguel Angel Asturias

“for his vivid literary achievement, deep-rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1966

Shmuel Yosef Agnon

“for his profoundly characteristic narrative art with motifs from the life of the Jewish people”

Nelly Sachs

“for her outstanding lyrical and dramatic writing, which interprets Israel’s destiny with touching strength”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1965

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov

“for the artistic power and integrity with which, in his epic of the Don, he has given expression to a historic phase in the life of the Russian people”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1964

Jean-Paul Sartre

“for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has exerted a far-reaching influence on our age”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1963

Giorgos Seferis

“for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1962

John Steinbeck

“for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1961

Ivo Andric

“for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1960

Saint-John Perse

“for the soaring flight and the evocative imagery of his poetry which in a visionary fashion reflects the conditions of our time”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1959

Salvatore Quasimodo

“for his lyrical poetry, which with classical fire expresses the tragic experience of life in our own times”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1958

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak

“for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1957

Albert Camus

“for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1956

Juan Ramón Jiménez

“for his lyrical poetry, which in Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistical purity”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1955

Halldór Kiljan Laxness

“for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1954

Ernest Miller Hemingway

“for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1953

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill

“for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1952

François Mauriac

“for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1951

Pär Fabian Lagerkvist

“for the artistic vigour and true independence of mind with which he endeavours in his poetry to find answers to the eternal questions confronting mankind”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1950

Earl (Bertrand Arthur William) Russell

“in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1949

William Faulkner

“for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1948

Thomas Stearns Eliot

“for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1947

André Paul Guillaume Gide

“for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1946

Hermann Hesse

“for his inspired writings which, while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1945

Gabriela Mistral

“for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1944

Johannes Vilhelm Jensen

“for the rare strength and fertility of his poetic imagination with which is combined an intellectual curiosity of wide scope and a bold, freshly creative style”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1943

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1942

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1941

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1940

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1939

Frans Eemil Sillanpää

“for his deep understanding of his country’s peasantry and the exquisite art with which he has portrayed their way of life and their relationship with Nature”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1938

Pearl Buck

“for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1937

Roger Martin du Gard

“for the artistic power and truth with which he has depicted human conflict as well as some fundamental aspects of contemporary life in his novel-cycle Les Thibault

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1936

Eugene Gladstone O’Neill

“for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1935

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1934

Luigi Pirandello

“for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1933

Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin

“for the strict artistry with which he has carried on the classical Russian traditions in prose writing”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1932

John Galsworthy

“for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1931

Erik Axel Karlfeldt

“The poetry of Erik Axel Karlfeldt”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1930

Sinclair Lewis

“for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1929

Thomas Mann

“principally for his great novel, Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1928

Sigrid Undset

“principally for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1927

Henri Bergson

“in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1926

Grazia Deledda

“for her idealistically inspired writings which with plastic clarity picture the life on her native island and with depth and sympathy deal with human problems in general”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1925

George Bernard Shaw

“for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1924

Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont

“for his great national epic, The Peasants

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1923

William Butler Yeats

“for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1922

Jacinto Benavente

“for the happy manner in which he has continued the illustrious traditions of the Spanish drama”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1921

Anatole France

“in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1920

Knut Pedersen Hamsun

“for his monumental work, Growth of the Soil

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1919

Carl Friedrich Georg Spitteler

“in special appreciation of his epic, Olympian Spring

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1918

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1917

Karl Adolph Gjellerup

“for his varied and rich poetry, which is inspired by lofty ideals”

Henrik Pontoppidan

“for his authentic descriptions of present-day life in Denmark”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1916

Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam

“in recognition of his significance as the leading representative of a new era in our literature”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1915

Romain Rolland

“as a tribute to the lofty idealism of his literary production and to the sympathy and love of truth with which he has described different types of human beings”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1914

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1913

Rabindranath Tagore

“because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1912

Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann

“primarily in recognition of his fruitful, varied and outstanding production in the realm of dramatic art”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1911

Count Maurice (Mooris) Polidore Marie Bernhard Maeterlinck

“in appreciation of his many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers’ own feelings and stimulate their imaginations”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1910

Paul Johann Ludwig Heyse

“as a tribute to the consummate artistry, permeated with idealism, which he has demonstrated during his long productive career as a lyric poet, dramatist, novelist and writer of world-renowned short stories”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1909

Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf

“in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1908

Rudolf Christoph Eucken

“in recognition of his earnest search for truth, his penetrating power of thought, his wide range of vision, and the warmth and strength in presentation with which in his numerous works he has vindicated and developed an idealistic philosophy of life”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1907

Rudyard Kipling

“in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1906

Giosuè Carducci

“not only in consideration of his deep learning and critical research, but above all as a tribute to the creative energy, freshness of style, and lyrical force which characterize his poetic masterpieces”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1905

Henryk Sienkiewicz

“because of his outstanding merits as an epic writer”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1904

Frédéric Mistral

“in recognition of the fresh originality and true inspiration of his poetic production, which faithfully reflects the natural scenery and native spirit of his people, and, in addition, his significant work as a Provençal philologist”

José Echegaray y Eizaguirre

“in recognition of the numerous and brilliant compositions which, in an individual and original manner, have revived the great traditions of the Spanish drama”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1903

Bjørnstjerne Martinus Bjørnson

“as a tribute to his noble, magnificent and versatile poetry, which has always been distinguished by both the freshness of its inspiration and the rare purity of its spirit”

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1902

Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen

“the greatest living master of the art of historical writing, with special reference to his monumental work, A history of Rome

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1901

Sully Prudhomme

“in special recognition of his poetic composition, which gives evidence of lofty idealism, artistic perfection and a rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect”

Wisconsin’s poet laureate taps Native American roots

Kimberly Blaeser wasn’t born a poet, but it didn’t take long for her Native American heritage and its storytelling culture to influence how she experienced the world. Those oral traditions now inform her poetry, allowing her to take her writing in creative directions.

Blaeser now serves as an English professor at UW-Milwaukee, where she teaches creative and critical writing and Native American literature. She also is Anishinaabe, an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, and grew up on the White Earth reservation in northwestern Minnesota.

Taken together, her heritage and job significantly influence her current position as Wisconsin’s official poet laureate, appointed by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. Now in her second year of the two-year appointment, she hopes the position gives her a platform to promote poetry’s importance in the state.

Blaeser also wants to revive the practice of poetry recitation to increase the literary form’s popularity and return poetry to one of its fundamental roots. “I had the gift of growing up among some amazing storytellers gifted in oral performance,” Blaeser says. “I guess that got inside me and seemed like a way to have that power of words and language be a part of who I am.”

Oral performance is a critical part of Native American culture, Blaeser says. Recitation was a way to pass traditions and lore from one generation to the next and played an important role in ceremonial rituals, something to which the poet laureate had extensive exposure while growing up.

“Oratory is very important to the transmission of Native American culture,” she explains. “Also, in northwestern Minnesota we didn’t have any TV growing up, so it also was part of our entertainment.”

Blaeser will be explaining this and other facets of the art form at the 2016 Poetry & Pi(e), a poetry reading sponsored by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters and held on the UW-Madison campus. The March 14 event, in celebration of “Pi Day,” will feature coffee and homemade pies in addition to a reading by Blaeser.

Many of Blaeser’s poems tap into her Native American heritage. Others discuss nature themes and other, more personal thoughts and feelings. However, poetry is not her only medium.

“In addition to poetry, I write and publish in many genres, including fiction, nonfiction, plays and biography,” says Blaeser, who worked as a photojournalist before receiving her master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame.

Her published poetry works include Apprenticed to Justice (Salt Press, 2007), Absentee Indians and Other Poems (Michigan State University Press, 2002) and other volumes. She will tap these and other sources for the March 14 reading.

“I try to write poetry that’s speakable and I always talk to myself and read things out loud when I am writing,” she explains. “Poetry is ‘sonic’ and you have to hear it. It’s part of the creation process and the way I understand poetry.”

But there is a little more to poetry than just its delivery, at least from Blaeser’s perspective. The audience, whether readers or listeners, also has a role to play.

“Any type of writing informs through a sense of reciprocity, and that’s how the oral traditions work,” Blaeser explains. “My work allows that reciprocity. It’s an invitation as well as an exploration of ideas that leaves room for reader or listener response.”

Blaeser hopes to attract more interest and response from budding state poets and poetry fans under a new initiative that will help Wisconsin poets gain greater exposure to new and untried audiences.

The Wisconsin Poetry Recitation Challenge, which Blaeser plans to launch in April, invites poets and poetry fans to submit a video of themselves reciting their favorite poems from memory.

Blaeser oversaw a soft launch of the program on Jan. 30 at Milwaukee’s Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 E. Locust St. The event started at 10 a.m. and didn’t finish until 1 a.m. the following morning, with 143 poets reciting favorite poems and original works.

“Poetry has more than one life and one of those lives is its performance,” she says.

Entries can be submitted via email to wipoetlaureate@gmail.com. Each entry should include some brief background as to the choice of the poem, as well as the name of the reciter, title and author of the poem performed, and the location and date of the recitation.

An editorial committee will review all video submissions, and acceptable submissions will be posted on an interactive Wisconsin map available on the Wisconsin Poet Laureate at wisconsinpoetlaureate.org. The deadline for submissions is March 31 at 5 p.m.

“I want to make Wisconsin the poetry recitation capital of the United States,” Blaeser says. “We have a different relationship with poetry when we memorize a poem. It changes the way we understand the poem and it stays with us for life.”

If you go

“Poetry & Pi(e),” featuring Wisconsin Poet Laureate Kimberly Blaeser, will be held March 14 at the Steenbock Center, 1922 University Ave., on the UW-Madison campus. Tickets are $25 for academy members, $35 for nonmembers. For reservations call 608-263-1692, ext. 11, or email afai@wisconsinacademy.org.

‘Dear Elizabeth’ brings a storied poetic friendship to life at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre

Dear Reader,

Marvelous news! I have just returned from the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of Dear Elizabeth — a play told through the letters of esteemed American poets and friends Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. And it is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

I knew but little of the play or its subjects before walking in, though I am well-acquainted with the work of Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, and I have been delighted by director Marie Kohler and actors Carrie Hitchcock and Norman Moses multiple times over. Watching Hitchcock and Moses traverse 30 years of the poets’ correspondence is a treat that left me craving to devour every scrap of their lives. 

Of course, the production is aided by rich source material. Playwright Sarah Ruhl takes every word of her play straight from her characters’ mouths — or pens, rather. You see, Bishop and Lowell began writing each other after their first meeting in 1947 and continued exchanging letters until Lowell’s death in 1977. They hid next to nothing from each other in their letters, and where narrative gaps exist, a small handful of pertinent details and datestamps are projected on the back wall of the Studio Theatre. Ruhl ingeniously intermingles the letters with occasional poems by the writers.

If this sounds dry to you, perhaps you are simply not as good a letter writer as Bishop or Lowell! Their words feel like a conversation you might be able to have on a day when you are sharp of mind and your conversation partner does not interrupt you (although one of the play’s best moments comes when Ruhl tweaks her formula and lets the poets’ letters overlap as they argue).

Since the beauty of this play is in the words that Bishop and Lowell have written, it is the duty of its director and actors to effectively translate all the glorious language from the page to the stage. And I think you will be impressed with how Kohler, Hitchcock and Moses have succeeded. Kohler has put her actors (who are married offstage, which makes for quite the onstage chemistry) on opposite ends of the stage, each at wooden desks that make me jealous to see. The actors roll back and forth in their chairs as they read their letters to one another, occasionally drawing closer for particularly personal letters. A shallow pool surrounds them — an appropriately lovely effect, for Bishop’s and Lowell’s poems often draw on water imagery. The pool also helps Hitchcock and Moses enact a weekend the two spent in Maine that had a great impact on both their poetry and their friendship.

When you go — and I hope to have convinced you that you must — do not forget to watch the actors’ responses to the letters as much as the letterwriter while he or she is reading. Hitchcock and Moses do a great deal with the smallest of gestures and reactions.

It’s funny. MCT’s theme for this season is “Looking for Love (in all the wrong places),” but I can think of no descriptor that less aptly describes this play. Alright, perhaps the first part is on the nose, but far be Bishop and Lowell’s relationship a “wrong place” to look for it.

To be fair: Lowell’s letters do reveal an unrequited affection for Bishop that he sometimes interprets as romantic. 

But just because her love for him does not fall into the same category does not make it any less passionate or less real. Dear Elizabeth is a love story — but a love story about two souls who find in each other the friend and confidant they didn’t know they needed.

I saw the play with my own very best friend, Reader, and I suggest you do the same, should you be more fortunate than Bishop and Lowell and have that friend close at hand. There is no better way to enjoy it.

All my best,


On stage

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of Dear Elizabeth runs through Oct. 18 at the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway. Tickets are $34 to $38, with $5 discounts for students and seniors. Visit milwaukeechambertheatre.com or call 414-291-7800 to order.

Wisconsin’s poet laureate delivers letters of the heart

Max Garland discovered that he’d been named Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate for 2013–14 while sharing a beer and cheese curds with a friend at a rural Wisconsin tavern. The setting couldn’t have been more appropriate for the former western Kentucky native and current University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire literature professor.

Before entering academia, Garland worked numerous odd jobs, including 10 years as a rural letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, following the same route served by his grandfather. The experience gave him both a love of the land and an appreciation for the geography of the soul, sensibilities he tapped in writing “The Postal Confessions” (University of Massachusetts Press, 1994), his first poetry collection. The collection won the prestigious Juniper Prize for Poetry.

As poet laureate, Garland travels the state to give readings, including an upcoming appearance at the Aug. 12 Rural Musicians’ Forum in Spring Green.

What is poetry? 

Max Garland: Shelves of books have been written in answer to this, but the definition falls short of the experience. When we read the Dylan Thomas lines –

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs

About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green 

– we recognize that language is doing more than simply conveying information. And when we read the end of that same poem –

Oh, as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,

Time held me green and dying

Though I sang in my chains like the sea 

– we also realize that the poet is not just talking about his own experience, but the shared experience of time, of human mortality. There’s a kind of music to the language, and you can’t separate the meaning from the music. We come across such language in literature, in Bibles, in novels, in songs and sometimes in conversation. When we do, we refer to it as poetry. It’s easier to show examples than settle on an abstract definition. 

When did you know you were a poet? 

It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t occasionally get lucky with language, say something surprisingly lovely or moving. A poet is just someone who develops that impulse over time. At some point I realized that much of what I thought and felt, much of who I was, was not expressed in my ordinary speech and daily interactions. There was something else important and internal, and the only way to say it was through poetry. 

You speak of poetry as a “mapping” of the heart and soul. What does that mean?

Our current miraculous mapping technology allows us to bounce signals from satellites 12,000 miles above the Earth to determine what road we’re on, but we still don’t know “where” we are. We don’t know the nature of the place, the way people live, what they think, feel, believe, fear, hope and imagine. GPS technology is wonderful science, but it takes art to express the flesh and blood experience of a place.

How has personal experience and understanding of people and surroundings affected your work as a poet?

I’ve had a lot of different jobs, working-class jobs, and the years outside the academic world, including the years as a rural mail carrier, are important to me. I still feel like I’m delivering mail, just a different kind of mail. I’m interested in the lives of people who drive trucks, farm, teach kids, repair things and want a fair share of the fruits of their labor. They’re the kind of people I grew up with, delivered mail to. I don’t admire tycoons or captains of industry any more than I admire the people who clean their hotel rooms. Having cleaned hotel rooms myself, I remember who does the hard work of the world. For a poet, that’s a useful thing.

Is all subject matter fair game for poets? 

It’s difficult to think of a subject-matter barrier that hasn’t been broken time and again. It’s not really the subject, but the depth and compassion of the poetry that matters.

How do you go about writing a poem? 

I write every morning, and although most of what I write is just warming up, sort of talking to myself, occasionally some words or phrases seem more interesting or promising. I follow up on them and begin to wonder if they might eventually be meaningful to others. But it always starts from the habit of writing. The obstacle is always the same – it’s hard to put experience into words, and particularly words that represent the shared human experience. You never quite wind up with what you’d hoped for, but occasionally you decide a poem might be worth the attention of someone else.

Tell me about your upcoming performance with the Rural Musicians’ Forum.

As I understand it, there will be original music inspired by places in Wisconsin and poetry interspersed with the music. I look forward to hearing the compositions, and hopefully initiating some conversation about the ancient and ongoing relationship between music, poetry and place. 

What counsel would you give to people who want to become poets?

Reading is important. A good musician listens to a lot of music and the same holds true for poetry. But the most important thing is the habit of paying attention. Poetry is a common human impulse, the desire to express human experience in words that ring true. It’s rare to find a person who doesn’t feel that impulse. Poetry, like singing in the shower, is fairly cheap, easy to try and you don’t need permission to start. You just need to feel something you wish you knew how to say, and then say it.

A laureate almost lost

In 2011, Gov. Scott Walker eliminated state support for the $2,000-per-year position of state poet laureate.

Fortunately, in May of that year, the Madison-based Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters assumed stewardship of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate program to ensure its continued survival. 

Created by former Gov. Tommy Thompson in July 2000, the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission’s purpose was to conduct the poet laureate selection process, assign responsibilities to the elected poet and assist that individual in performing official duties. The poet laureate receives an annual stipend of $2,000 to help offset the costs of attending readings and conferences.

For more, visit www.wisconsinacademy.org/content/wisconsin-poet-laureate.

Upcoming appearances
   July 22 – 6:30 p.m., Rhinelander School of the Arts, Rhinelander.

July 25 – 7 p.m., McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids.

Aug. 12 – Rural Musicians Forum, Hillside School Theatre, Taliesin, Spring Green.

   Aug. 14, 21, 28 – 10:15–11:45 a.m. Phillips Memorial Library,  “Poetry of Place,” Eau Claire.

Sept. 14 – Southwest Wisconsin Book Festival, Mineral Point.

Sept. 17 – 7 p.m., Chief Oshkosh Amphitheater, Egg Harbor Book
Festival, Egg Harbor.

Sept. 26 – 6:30 p.m., Whitefish Bay Public Library, Whitefish Bay.

Sept. 27 – Schiocton Public Library, Schiocton.

Sept 28 – 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Sheboygan.

Oct 5 – Fermentation Fest, Reedsburg

Oct. 5 – 7 p.m. Reedsburg Public Library, Reedsburg

Oct. 6 – 10 a.m.–noon, “Poetry and Place” Writing Workshop,
Fermentation Fest, Reedsburg.

Oct. 12 – Lorine Niedecker Poetry Festival, Fort Atkinson.

Oct. 18 – Chippewa Valley Book Festival, Eau Claire Country
Club, Eau Claire.

Oct. 19, 20 – Wisconsin Book Festival, Madison.

Nov. 9 – WORD Festival, Stockholm.

Dec. 5 – 6:30 p.m., Marshfield Public Library, Marshfield.

Finalists named for LGBT book awards

The Lambda Literary Foundation has announced the finalists for its literary prizes.

Books from major mainstream publishers and from academic presses, from both long-established and new LGBT publishers, as well as from emerging publish-on-demand technologies, make up the 119 finalists for the Lammys.

The awards, now in their 24th year, celebrate achievement in writing. Winners will be announced at a June 4 ceremony in New York at the CUNY Graduate Center.  

More than 90 booksellers, book reviewers, librarians, authors, previous Lammy winners and finalists volunteered hours of reading time, critical thinking and discussion to select the finalists.

“The Lambda Literary Awards would not be possible without the time, energy, and intelligence of our volunteer judges who put countless hours of reading into selecting our finalists,” said Lambda executive director Tony Valenzuela. “Because of their hard work, this day is a celebration of our finalists, whose outstanding books extend the fabric of our literature and enrich our community. Congratulations to these talented authors on their tremendous achievement.”

The finalists are:

Lesbian Debut Fiction

“The Girls Club,” by Sally Bellerose, Bywater Books; 
 “Megume and the Trees,” by Sarah Toshiko Hasu, Megami Press
; “My Sister Chaos,” by Lara Fergus, Spinifex Press
; “Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation,” by Christine Stark, Modern History Press; “
Zipper Mouth,” by Laurie Weeks, The Feminist Press at CUNY.

Lesbian General Fiction

“The Dirt Chronicles,” by Kristyn Dunnion, Arsenal Pulp Press; “The Necessity of Certain Behaviors,” by Shannon Cain, University of Pittsburgh Press; “Six Metres of Pavement,” by Farzana Doctor, Dundurn Press; “When She Woke,” by Hillary Jordan, Algonquin Books; “Wingshooters,” by Nina Revoyr, Akashic Books.

Lesbian Memoir/Biography

“How to Get a Girl Pregnant,” by Karleen Pendleton Jimenez, Tightrope Books; “Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet,” by Catherine Friend, Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books; “Small Fires: Essays,” by Julie Marie Wade, Sarabande; “Taking My Life,” by Jane Rule, Talonbooks; “When We Were Outlaws: A Memoir of Love & Revolution,” by Jeanne Córdova, Spinsters Ink.

Lesbian Mystery

“Dying to Live,” by Kim Baldwin & Xenia Alexiou, Bold Strokes; “Hostage Moon,” by AJ Quinn, Bold Strokes; “Rainey Nights: A Rainey Bell Thriller,” by R.E. Bradshaw, R.E. Bradshaw Books; “Retirement Plan,” by Martha Miller, Bold Strokes; “Trick of the Dark,” by Val McDermid, Bywater Books.

Lesbian Poetry

“15 Ways to Stay Alive,” by Daphne Gottlieb, Manic D Press; “Discipline,” by Dawn Lundy Martin, Nightboat Books; “Love Cake,” by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, TSAR Publications; “Milk and Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry,” edited by Julie R. Enszer, A Midsummer Night’s Press; “The Stranger Dissolves,” by Christina Hutchins, Sixteen Rivers Press.

Lesbian Romance

“For Me and My Gal,” by Robbi McCoy, Bella Books; “Ghosts of Winter,” by Rebecca S. Buck, Bold Strokes; “Rescue Me,” by Julie Cannon, Bold Strokes; “Storms,” by Gerri Hill, Bella Books; “Taken by Surprise,” by Kenna White, Bella Books.

Lesbian Erotica

“The Collectors,” by Lesley Gowan, Bold Strokes; “Lesbian Cops: Erotic Investigations,” edited by Sacchi Green, Cleis Press; “A Ride to Remember & Other Erotic Tales,” by Sacchi Green, Lethe Press; “Story of L,” by Debra Hyde, Ravenous Romance.

Gay Debut Fiction

“98 Wounds,” by Justin Chin, Manic D Press; “Dirty One,” by Michael Graves, Chelsea Station Editions; “Have You Seen Me,” by Katherine Scott Nelson, Chicago Center for Literature and Photography; “Mitko,” by Garth Greenwell, Miami University Press; “
Quarantine: Stories,” by Rahul Mehta, Harper Perennial.

Gay General Fiction

“The Empty Family,” by Colm Tóibín, Scribner; “The Great Night,” by Chris Adrian, Farrar, Straus & Giroux; “Leche,” by R. Zamora Linmark, Coffee House Press; “The Stranger’s Child,” by Alan Hollinghurst, Alfred A.Knopf; “The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov,” by Paul Russell, Cleis Press.

Gay Memoir/Biography

“Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo,” by Michael Schiavi, University of Wisconsin Press; “For the Ferryman: A Personal History,” by Charles Silverstein, Chelsea Station Editions; “Halsted Plays Himself,” by William E. Jones, Semiotext(e); “If You Knew Then What I Know Now,” by Ryan Van Meter, Sarabande Books; “The Jack Bank:  A Memoir of a South African Childhood,” by Glen Retief, St. Martin’s Press.

Gay Mystery

“The Affair of the Porcelain Dog,” by Jess Faraday, Bold Strokes; “Blue’s Bayou,” by David Lennon, Blue Spike Publishing; “Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries,” by Marshall Thornton, Torquere Press   ; “Malabarista,” by Garry Ryan, NeWest Press   ; “Red White Black and Blue,” by Richard Stevenson, MLR Press.

Gay Poetry

“Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems,” by David Trinidad, Turtle Point Press; “Double Shadow: Poems,” by Carl Phillips, Farrar, Straus & Giroux; “A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos, edited by David Trinidad, Nightboat Books; “Kintsugi,” by Thomas Meyer, Flood Editions; “The Other Poems,” by Paul Legault, Fence Books.

Gay Romance

“Every Time I Think of You,” by Jim Provenzano, CreateSpace/Myrmidude Press; “Settling the Score,” by Eden Winters, Torquere Press; “Something Like Summer,” by Jay Bell, Jay Bell Books; “Split,” by Mel Bossa, Bold Strokes; “Tinseltown,” by Barry Brennessel, MLR Press.

Gay Erotica

“All Together,” by Dirk Vanden, iloveyoudivine Alerotica; “Backwoods,” by Natty Soltesz, Rebel Satori Press; “Best Gay Erotica 2012, edited by Richard Labonte, Cleis Press; “George Platt Lynes: The Male Nudes, edited by Steven Haas, Rizzoli New York; “History’s Passions: Stories of Sex Before Stonewall, edited by Richard Labonte, Bold Strokes.

Transgender Fiction

“The Book of Broken Hymns,” by Rafe Posey, Flying Rabbit; “The Butterfly and the Flame,” by  Dana De Young, iUniverse; “I am J,” by Cris Beam, Little, Brown Books for Children; “Static,” by L.A. Witt, Amber Allure/Amber Quill Press; “Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, edited by Tristan Taormina, Cleis Press.

Transgender Nonfiction  

“Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex,” edited by Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith, AK Press; “Letters For My Brothers: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect, edited by Megan M. Rohrer and Zander Keig, Wilgefortis Press; “Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law,” by Dean Spade, South End Press; “Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past,” by Peter Boag, University of California Press; “Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels,” by Justin Vivian Bond, The Feminist Press at CUNY.

Bisexual Fiction

“Boyfriends With Girlfriends,” by Alex Sanchez, Simon & Schuster; “The Correspondence Artist,” by Barbara Browning, Two Dollar Radio; “Have You Seen Me,” by Katherine Scott Nelson, Chicago Center for Literature and Photography; “Triptych,” by J.M. Frey, Dragon Moon Press; “The Two Krishnas,” by Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla, Magnus Books.

Bisexual Nonfiction

“Big Sex Little Death: A Memoir,” by Susie Bright, Seal Press; “Bisexuality and Queer Theory: Intersections, Connections and Challenges, edited by Jonathan Alexander & Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Routledge; “The Horizontal Poet,” by Jan Steckel, Zeitgeist Press; “Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature,” edited by Qwo-Li Driskill, Daniel Heath Justice, Deborah Miranda, and Lisa Tatonetti, University of Arizona Press; “Surviving Steven: A True Story,” by Ven Rey, Ven Rey.

LGBT Anthology  

“Ambientes: New Queer Latino Writing,” edited by Lazaro Lima & Felice Picano, University of Wisconsin Press; “The Fire in Moonlight: Stories from the Radical Faeries,” edited by Mark Thompson, White Crane Books/Lethe Press; “Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader,” edited by Michael Hames-García and Ernesto Javier Martínez, Duke University Press; “Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme,” edited by Ivan E. Coyote & Zena Sharman, Arsenal Pulp Press;
”Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature,” edited by Qwo-Li Driskill, Daniel Heath Justice, Deborah Miranda, and Lisa Tatonetti, University of Arizona Press.

LGBT Children’s/Young Adult

“Gemini Bites,” by Patrick Ryan, Scholastic; “Huntress,” by Malinda Lo, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; “I am J,” by Cris Beam, Little, Brown Books for Children; “PINK,” by Lili Wilkinson, HarperCollins; “Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy,” by Bil Wright, Simon & Schuster.

LGBT Drama

“Letters to the End of the World,” by Anton Dudley, Playscripts, Inc.; “A Menopausal Gentleman: The Solo Performances of Peggy Shaw,” by Peggy Shaw, University of Michigan Press; “Secrets of the Trade,” by Jonathan Tolins, Samuel French, Inc.; “The Temperamentals,” by Jon Marans, Chelsea Station Editions; “The Zero Hour,” by Madeleine George, Samuel French, Inc.


LGBT Nonfiction

“Gay in America: Portraits by Scott Pasfield,” by Scott Pasfield, “Welcome Books
God vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality,” by Jay Michaelson, Beacon Press
The H.D. Book,” by Robert Duncan, University of California Press;
”A Queer History of the United States,” by Michael Bronski, Beacon Press;
”Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories,” by Wanda M. Corn and Tirza True Latimer, University of California Press.


“The German,” by Lee Thomas, Lethe Press. “Paradise Tales: and Other Stories,” by Geoff Ryman, Small Beer Press
Static,” by L.A. Witt, Amber Allure/Amber Quill Press; “Steam-powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories,” edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft, Torquere Press, “Triptych,” by J.M. Frey, Dragon Moon Press.

LGBT Studies

“Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex,” edited by Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith, AK Press; “Freedom with Violence: Race, Sexuality, and the US State,” by Chandan Reddy, Duke University Press;
”Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes,” by Lisa L. Moore, University of Minnesota Press;
”Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality,” by Margot Weiss, Duke University Press; “¡Venceremos?: The Erotics of Black Self-making in Cuba,” by Jafari S. Allen, Duke University Press.

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UW Press publishes ‘Windy City Queer’

In the summer of 2010, a call went out for submissions to an anthology of writing by queer Chicagoans. Now, a little over a year later, the University of Wisconsin Press has published “Windy City Queer: LGBTQ Dispatches from the Third Coast,” edited by Kathie Bergquist. It includes poetry and prose by more than 30 Chicago writers – from Carol Anshaw to Mark Zubro. (Disclosure: Gregg Shapiro’s poem “’78” appears in the book.)

I spoke with Bergquist about the anthology in September. 

Gregg Shapiro: How did “Windy City Queer” come about?

Kathie Bergquist: As a community, queer writers from Chicago have such a huge vibrant scene, with some really significant, impacting queer writers who live here. But it has never been recognized as a unique and distinctive literary culture. That always bothered me, and when something bothers me then I start to figure out what I can do about it.

Then, last summer, it came to my attention that there was an anthology based on queer writers from Portland. And I said, “Portland?” I have nothing against Portland – and (the book) won the Lambda (Literary) Award. But I said, “That’s it, this (Chicago) collection has to be done.” Conveniently it happened in the summer when I wasn’t teaching, and it also happened when I was trying to work on revisions for a novel I’ve been writing. What could be a better way to put off revising my novel than to suddenly take on this project? It was a product of both necessity and procrastination.

Do you think working in Chicago bookstores, such as Women & Children First and Unabridged, had an impact on you in terms of the LGBT Chicago literary scene?

Oh, yeah, a huge impact. Just in terms of familiarity with authors, abstract familiarity with their work and literal meeting of people, becoming friends and building relationships with so many writers in the Chicago area. I did an open call submission for this book, and through that I met a lot of great writers whose work I was completely unfamiliar with, but I could have practically filled a book just with the people I know personally. That came from being a book seller, a part of the community, because that’s when you meet and interface and interact with these other people.

Would it be fair to say that “Windy City Queer” combined with your previous book “A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago” show your affection for and connection to Chicago?

That’s very fair to say. … I really, really love Chicago. I moved here in 1988, when I was 19, and so I’ve spent more of my life in Chicago then I have in Minneapolis, my birthplace. Although I am a proud Viking, my first impulse would be to call myself a Chicagoan, if somebody asked. But that said, I have been having a long-term affair with Paris. I lived there for over a year, and I would go back there if the opportunity arose for me to make that my permanent home.

Who do you see as the target audience for the book?

What’s really great about this collection is the strength of the contributions, of the individual writers. There’s a really nice mix of well-established, award-winning literary voices, but also people you may have never heard of – new emerging talent. So I hope that people who like to discover and find out who the new people are to watch out for will pick it up. I hope people who are attracted to the big names will become introduced to these other writers as a result. Anybody who loves Chicago, who has any connection to the city, anybody who loves great stories and poetry, with a little bit of an edge, will like and enjoy this.


“Windy City Queer” editor Kathie Bergquist and five of the contributors – Sheree Greer, Allison Gruber, j. Adams Oaks, Gregg Shapiro and Mark Zubro – are taking part in a book launch/reading at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 11 at A Room of One’s Own, 307 W. Johnson, in Madison (608- 257-7888); and at 7 p.m., Nov. 12, at Outwords Books, 2710 N. Murray, Milwaukee (414-963-9089).