Monthly Archives: April 2009

Nelson Algren at 100

April 2, 2009
By
Nelson Algren at 100

Marking Nelson Algren’s 100th b-day, the Chicago Reader is running a-never-before-published short story by the famous writer, titled Entrapment, and featured on the cover of their current issue. The story is part of a larger collection of Algren’s unpublished work which previously resided in the archives at Ohio State University and is now available from NYC publishers Seven Stories Press (there will also be a reading from the book at Steppenwolf on Monday). But despite his latest work being published in New York the most enthusiastic audience for Algren’s writing is right here in Chicago—Algren’s home for many years and the source of inspiration for much of his work. The most prominent example in his oeuvre is Algren’s prose poem, Chicago: City on the Make—published by the press in a newly annotated 50th Anniversary Edition in 2001—which is today widely regarded as the definitive literary portrait of the city. Providing a gritty juxtaposition to other paeans to “the city of the big shoulders” like Carl Sandberg’s famous poem, as a review New York Herald Tribune once noted: Chicago: City on the Make “is both a social document and a love poem, a script in which a lover explains his city’s . . .

Read more »

“Great Shots of Tough Times”

April 2, 2009
By
“Great Shots of Tough Times”

In the past few weeks, several projects have arisen to photographically document the recession. Just today, for example, the New York Times launched Picturing the Recession, through which the paper is encouraging readers around the world to submit photos that use “creative ways of documenting the changes around you.” And last month, Slate asked readers to “Shoot the Recession,” in part because “economic times produce indelible images. The Great Depression calls to mind grainy news photos of bank runs and soup kitchens, and the harrowing portraits taken by Walker Evans.” Of course, it also calls to mind the iconic works of Dorothea Lange, whose photographs for the New Deal’s Farm Security Administration have become the defining images of that time. Collecting never-before-published photos and captions from Lange’s fieldwork in California, the Pacific Northwest, and North Carolina during 1939, Anne Whiston Spirn’s Daring to Look presents images that had languished in archives since Lange was dismissed from the Farm Security Administration at the end of that year. Unflinchingly portraying the last century’s major economic crisis, these photos set a high standard for all of those now documenting the current recession. As Lange herself said, this is a crucial standard to meet: . . .

Read more »

Press Release: Hickey, The Invisible Dragon

April 2, 2009
By
Press Release: Hickey, The Invisible Dragon

In 1993, Dave Hickey published a sharply opinionated book on art called The Invisible Dragon. It was a small volume, but the response was outsized—and, in many cases, outraged. While artists flocked to it, drawn by its forceful call for attention to beauty, huge numbers of more theoretically oriented professional critics absolutely savaged it, calling Hickey everything from naïve to reactionary. Sixteen years later, Hickey’s back—and time hasn’t dulled his edge. With this new edition of The Invisible Dragon, Hickey has both revised and dramatically expanded his controversial book, addressing his critics and supporters both, while simultaneously placing the book—and the reactions it provoked—firmly in the context of larger cultural battles of the time. Bringing the works of Warhol, Raphael, Caravaggio, and Mapplethorpe to bear on the current situation of contemporary art, museum culture, and art criticism, Hickey argues powerfully for a renewed attention to the inherently democratic—and thus essential—concept of beauty. Writing with a liveliness and excitement rarely seen in serious criticism, Hickey invests The Invisible Dragon with the passion and drama that lie at the heart of great art. Read the press release. . . .

Read more »

Press Release: Burgoyne and Marckwardt, The Defense of Jisr Al-Doreaa

April 2, 2009
By
Press Release: Burgoyne and Marckwardt, The Defense of Jisr Al-Doreaa

Ever since the U.S. military invaded Iraq in 2003, the nightly news has offered accounts of troops fighting a lethal and adaptive insurgency, where the divisions between enemy and ally are ambiguous at best, and where working with the local population is essential for day-to-day survival. But what does this mean for soldiers on the ground? And how can troops facing deployment quickly adapt to such a hostile environment? From the lessons they learned during multiple tours of duty in Iraq, two American veterans of the war have written a tactical primer based on the military classic The Defence of Duffer’s Drift. Over the course of six dreams, a young officer deployed for the first time in Iraq fights the same battle again and again, learning each time—the hard way—which misconceptions he needs to discard and which lessons he must learn to defeat a dangerous enemy and achieve a lasting victory. Accompanied by the Boer War-era novella that inspired it, The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa offers an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to understand how the United States plans to win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read the press release. . . .

Read more »

Celebrating National Poetry Month

April 1, 2009
By
Celebrating National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month and on the first day of celebration, we wanted to highlight some of the fine poetic offerings Chicago is publishing this month. With three new volumes in our esteemed Phoenix Poets series, a new edition of a classic collection, and new titles in criticism, UCP has everything you need for a successful, and stimulating, poetry month! With Hollywood & God, Robert Polito delivers a virtuosic performance, filled with crossings back and forth from cinematic chiaroscuro to a kind of unsettling desperation and disturbing—even lurid—hallucination. From the Baltimore Catechism to the great noir films of the last century to today’s Elvis impersonators and Paris Hilton (an impersonator of a different sort), Polito tracks the snares, abrasions, and hijinks of personal identities in our society of the spectacle, a place where who we say we are, and who (we think) we think we are fade in and out of consciousness, like flickers of light dancing tantalizingly on the silver screen. Mixing lyric and essay, collage and narrative, memoir and invention, Hollywood & God is an audacious book, as contemporary as it is historical, as sly and witty as it is devastatingly serious. Read a poem from the . . .

Read more »

Press Release: Mann, Breakfast with Thom Gunn

April 1, 2009
By
Press Release: Mann, Breakfast with Thom Gunn

Randall Mann’s Breakfast with Thom Gunn is a work both direct and unsettling. Haunted by the afterlife of Thom Gunn (1929-2004), one of the most beloved gay literary icons of the twentieth century, the poems are moored in Florida and California, but the backdrop is “pitiless,” the trees “thin and bloodless,” the words “like the icy water” of the San Francisco Bay. Mann, fiercely intelligent, open yet elusive, draws on the “graceful erosion” of both landscape and the body, on the beauty that lies in unbeauty. With audacity, anxiety, and unbridled desire, this gifted lyric poet grapples with dilemmas of the gay self embroiled in—and aroused by—a glittering, unforgiving subculture. Breakfast with Thom Gunn is at once formal and free, forging a sublime integrity in the fire of wit, intensity, and betrayal. Read the press release. . . .

Read more »

Search for books and authors