Ken Meisel, is a psychotherapist and author of eight books of poetry. With tender, grave empathy, Our Common Souls: New & Selected Poems of Detroit traces the conflicted searches for hope, sense of connection to place, and material and social problems embedded in the landscape of his deindustrialized city.
Jeff Vande Zande has published four novels including American Poet, which won a Michigan Notable Book Award from the Library of Michigan. His story collections are Emergency Stopping, Threatened Species, and The Neighborhood Division. He is also a film maker, teaches at Delta College, and has a blog at www.authorjeffvandezande.blogspot.com.
Links to the books of tonight’s readers (click the cover illustrations):
Of this compilation, Meisel writes, “…you’ll find me holding out a tender, if grave empathy for the denizens and the grand buildings and the overall, variable reputation of Detroit that, while always so very large in historical grandeur, fails, somehow, to be held up in protection, tenderness, significance and priority by those who have historically held power to do so. Many of the poems – culled from seven books dating from 2002 through 2018 – are heart-burned elegies for the destroyed, disenfranchised, de-industrialized individuals caught up in the crazed socio-cultural psychology that gripped Detroit by the shirt collar (through racism, through political greed and hubris and a hyper-masculine ethos) and then, leveled it. Some of these poems are grave and severe, some more emotive lamentations, some are spliced with slang to get the message across and some of the poems are just prayerful incantations meant to assuage the pain and heal the wounds so prevalent here…Empty landscapes, forgotten factories, burned hotels, mattress communities, torched houses and bulldozed churches…
Jeff Vande Zande’s latest story collection travels down the shady lanes of the American neighborhood. From kids egging windows to lost joggers and insomniacs to basement prisoners and Orwellian gated communities, these stories grow ever more surreal, holding a darkened mirror up to that which we are—and may become.