Eileen Pollack's "The Professor of Immortality" novel explores science, tech, grief, motherhood, whether we can truly know another person -- and the Unabomber's time in Ann Arbor
Fri, 10/04/2019 - 12:15pm by christopherporter
The Professor of Immortality by Eileen Pollack is preoccupied with how well people can know each other and how they deal with flaws and surprises in relationships when they care about the other person. The book raises questions about whether it is better to be together despite challenges and what the costs are either way. The ending seems to point strongly to an answer yet still lets the reader wrestle with this matter.
Beer captivates and divides a family in J. Ryan Stradal's new Midwestern saga, "The Lager Queen of Minnesota"
Fri, 09/20/2019 - 10:15am by christopherporter
Beer and pie remain constant for characters through rifts, tragedies, and changes in J. Ryan Stradal’s new book, The Lager Queen of Minnesota. The novel follows two sisters, Helen and Edith, as they come of age and make lives for themselves. Yet their paths diverge when Helen taps their father for all the money from the sale of the family farm, which divides the family. Edith becomes known for her pies, hops between service industry jobs, and endures several major losses, all while bottling her feelings about the uneven inheritance. Helen pores over chemistry and learns to make beer in college, and then she grows a large, successful brewery with the help of the farm proceeds. When Edith’s granddaughter, Diana, inadvertently enters the beer business, their paths head toward each other again.
Poet, Princeton lecturer, and former Zingerman's employee Michael Dickman accounts for days line by line in new collection
Fri, 09/13/2019 - 8:00am by christopherporter
Days go by in many sorts of ways: hectic, enjoyably, dragging, intensely, calmly, explosively, gratifyingly. They can take on not just one but a range of characteristics. I am convinced that poet Michael Dickman goes through his days attentively if his poems are any indication of how he lives.
Thu, 09/05/2019 - 11:00am by christopherporter
Rachel DeWoskin's Banshee is a novel about Samantha Baxter, a woman who faces a serious medical diagnosis and casts about for meaning while acting out in ways inconsistent with the life she has lived so far. She crosses lines in her job as a professor and her roles as wife and mother. Through it all, she recognizes the incongruencies of her actions, but she does not just plow ahead disrupting her middle-aged life; instead, she both makes her choices and contemplates how they unfold.
Tue, 09/03/2019 - 10:15am by christopherporter
What do you do?
Wed, 08/14/2019 - 11:00am by christopherporter
Through chapters alternating between characters’ perspectives, Michigan writer Caitlin Horrocks’ new novel, The Vexations, narrates the life of not just composer and pianist Erik Satie but also the lives of his sister and brother, Louise and Conrad, and the people in their lives. The siblings’ experiences diverge as they are raised with different family members and pursue their unique interests and desires. Hardship, pain, and loss mark their pursuits, yet, true to history and especially for Erik, they find success, too.
Mon, 08/12/2019 - 1:00pm by christopherporter
Valencia Robin’s new poetry collection, Ridiculous Light, spans time, space, and seasons -- from Milwaukee in the 1960s to Ann Arbor -- and offers moments of distinct observations. The speaker invites readers into specific recollections and, within them, shares not just what happened but vivid descriptions and sublime reflections on the natural world, people, identity, and experiences.
Thu, 08/01/2019 - 9:30am by christopherporter
This story was originally published on September 12, 2018.
GREY GRANT’S NEW OPERA PLAYS WITH THE FORM WHILE CHRONICLING THE JOURNEY AND TRANSFORMATION OF A TRANS-WOMAN
Tue, 07/23/2019 - 6:00am by christopherporter
Trees, folklore, Michigan places, Greek mythology, and the trans experience infuse the new opera Michigan Trees: A Guide to the Trees of Michigan and the Great Lakes Region, which is also the name of a guidebook that inspired it. This opera, written, composed, and produced by Grey Grant, depicts the journey of a trans-woman named Orna as she comes to terms with her identity.
What's Really Going On: Brooke Annibale brings her questioning progressive-pop to Ann Arbor for a free show at The Ark
Fri, 07/19/2019 - 3:30pm by christopherporter
Songs on Brooke Annibale’s new album, Hold to the Light, express desire for something that may or may not be there and then both yearn and hesitate to reveal those feelings. Throughout, lyrics question what is really going on and wrestle with admitting reality, voicing thoughts, and letting it all be. With synth, electronics, and both acoustic and electric guitars, Hold to the Light wonders about and wanders among the complexities and feelings between two people.