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Imagine! Poetry Reading Series

Wednesday, July 30
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at The Reader's Loft

Imagine! Poetry Reading Series

IMAGINE! 
POETRY READING SERIES

Welcome All! Open to the Public. 
Open Mic will follow the featured readings.

It's the Ladies of Reinvention!!! 
FEATURED POETS:
Annette L. Grunseth & Tori Grant Welhouse

MUSIC & REFRESHMENTS: Wine, water, coffee, and light finger food will also be served. Please Note: The Reader’s Loft is home to two cats. 

Annette L. Grunseth: A poet and mostly-retired freelance writer. After a long career in healthcare marketing and public relations, she has settled into writing poetry inspired by catchy words and phrases encountered on a daily basis -- overheard snippets of conversation, life experiences or news items that “bug her.”  Her poems have appeared in Peninsula Pulse, Wisconsin Academy Review,  Midwest Prairie Review, Free Verse, The Door Voice, and Fox Cry Review. Her work has also appeared in the anthology Poetry of Cold and the chapbook Between the Sheets. She was also a featured poet on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Higher Ground” with Jonathan Overby. 

Karla Huston: The author of full collection of poems A Theory of Lipstick, Main Street Rag Publications 2013, as well as seven chapbooks of poetry, most recently, Outside of a Dog, dancing girl press: 2013.  Her poems, reviews and interviews have been published widely, including in the 2012 Pushcart Best of the Small Presses anthology.  Winner of many awards, she teaches at The Mill: A Place for Writers in Appleton, Wisconsin, and serves on the board of directors for The Mill, The Foot of the Lake Poetry Collective, The Council for Wisconsin Writers and also serves on the author’s committee for the Fox Cities Book Festival. 

Tori Grant Welhouse: A writer, poet, teacher and still-working professional woman, living in rural Wisconsin, in the woods overlooking a small, still pond. After a painful termination, she has refocused on poetry, recently releasing a new poetry chapbook called Canned, by Finishing Line Press. The collection blows up the experience, personally and universally, exploring all variations of the word. She received her MFA from Antioch University in London; her poetry has also appeared in Literary Mama, The Greensboro Review, anderbo.com, Melusine, Verse Wisconsin, Broad!, Glassworks and is forthcoming in Split Rock Review. Read more at www.houseofthetomato.com. 

Any questions please contact Amy Mazzariello, The Reader’s Loft, amy@readersloft.com.

Dale M. Kushner

Thursday, July 31
6:30 pm at The Reader's Loft

Dale M. Kushner

The Reader's Loft is proud to welcome
Dale M. Kushner, author of

The Conditions of Love

“I felt an enormous sadness shoot through my chest, and my eyes burned with tears. It frightened me how much I loved him; I wanted to call him back from wherever he was going, but in a rush of knowledge I realized my daddy was a tricky, dangerous man, and I could never trust his love.”

The Conditions of Love traces the journey of a girl from childhood to adulthood as she reckons with her parents’ abandonment, her need to break from society’s limitations, and her overwhelming desire for spiritual and erotic love. In 1953, ten-year-old Eunice lives in the backwaters of Wisconsin with her outrageously narcissistic mother, a manicurist and movie star worshiper. Abandoned by her father as an infant, Eunice worries that she will become a misfit like her mother. Rescued from a freak storm by the shaman-like Rose, Eunice’s odyssey continues with a stay in a hermit’s shack and ends with a passionate love affair with an older man. At once fable and realistic story, The Conditions of Love is a book about emotional and physical survival.

The Conditions of Love traces the journey of a girl from childhood to adulthood as she reckons with her need to break from society’s limitations and learns to reconcile with her fate and transcend the past.

“Can this wise, funny, quirky, poignant novel really be Dale Kushner’s debut? She got everything just right—characters who you will never forget and a palpable yearning for love that you will feel in your gut. Bravo!“
-Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle and The Obituary Writer

Dale M. Kushner grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey on a street that was once a peach orchard—Elberta Road. She has been a long time-investigator of the intersection between poetry and spiritual life. In the early 1990’s, as a visiting writer to the former Yugoslavia, she attended an international conference on The End of Utopia and The New World Order. This experience kindled her awareness of the collective value of literature, and writers as the voice of national conscience. Her poetry and fiction have been influenced by  Carl Jung, and the power of myths and archetypal images at work in the world.

Ms. Kushner is the founder and director of The Writer’s Place, a literary center in Madison, Wisconsin. She is a recipient of a Wisconsin Arts Board Grant in the Literary Arts and has been honored by a fellowship to the Wurlitzer Foundation, The Ragdale Foundation, and the Fetzer Institute as a participant of their first writers’ conference on compassion and forgiveness. Her work has been widely published in literary journals including IMAGE, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Salmagundi, Witness, Fifth Wednesday and elsewhere. Her most recent poetry collection More Alive Than Lions Roaring was a finalist for the May Swenson Poetry Award at Utah State Press, The Prairie Schooner Book Competition, the Agha Shahid Ali Prize at University of Utah Press and The Tupelo Prize. Her story “When You Open the Door, Where Are You?” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is on the core faculty of The Assisi Institute, a Jungian think-tank in Brattleboro, Vermont and will assume the position of Poetry Editor for The Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling September 2013.

She lives with her husband in Madison, Wisconsin. The Conditions of Love is her first novel.


Patricia Skalka

Friday, August 8
6:30 pm at The Reader's Loft

Patricia Skalka

An Evening with Patricia Skilka

Death Stalks Door County pits a troubled former Chicago cop against a clever killer in a smart, hard-edge detective story of greed, revenge and lost love.

Six deaths mar the holiday mood as summer vacationers enjoy Wisconsin’s beautiful Door County peninsula. Murders, or bizarre accidents? Newly hired park ranger Dave Cubiak, a former Chicago homicide detective, assumes the worst but refuses to get involved. Grief-stricken and guilt-ridden over the loss of his wife and daughter, he’s had enough of death.

Forced to confront the past, the morose Cubiak moves beyond his own heartache and starts investigating, even as a popular festival draws more people into possible danger. In a desperate search for clues, Cubiak uncovers a tangled web of greed, betrayal, bitter rivalries, and lost love beneath the peninsula’s travel-brochure veneer. Befriended by several locals but unsure whom to trust or to suspect of murder, the one-time cop tracks a clever killer.

Set against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty, Death Stalks Door County introduces a new crime series, “The Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries.”

Death Stalks Door County marks the fiction debut of award-winning, Chicago writer Patricia Skalka. A lifelong reader and writer, she turned to fiction following a successful career in nonfiction. Her many credits include: Staff Writer for Reader’s Digest, magazine editor, freelancer, ghost writer, writing instructor and book reviewer.

Patricia has outlined four more books for her crime series, The Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries.

“Who would have guessed that so many dark secrets and sinister deeds lurk beneath the surface of Door County’s idyllic communities? A very satisfying read, and the arrival of a fresh, talented voice.”
— Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River

June Melbey shares My Family and Other Hazards: A Memoir

Tuesday, August 12
6pm at The Reader's Loft

June Melbey shares My Family and Other Hazards: A Memoir

* June Melby will join "A Reader's Loft Book Club" circle for this discussion.  You are always welcome to attend any and all Reader's Loft Book Club gatherings, whether or not the chosen book has been read by you!

Publisher's comments:

A funny, heartwarming memoir about saying goodbye to your childhood home, in this case a quirky, one-of-a-kind, family-run miniature golf course in the woods of Wisconsin.

When June Melby was ten years old, her parents decided on a whim to buy the miniature golf course in the small Wisconsin town where they vacationed every summer. Without any business experience or outside employees, the family sets out to open Tom Thumb Miniature Golf to the public. Naturally, there are bumps along the way. In "My Family and Other Hazards," Melby recreates all the squabbling, confusion, and ultimately triumph, of one family's quest to build something together, and brings to life the joys of one of America's favorite pastimes. In sharp, funny prose, we get the hazards that taunted players at each hole, and the dedication and hard work that went into each one's creation. All the familiar delights of summer are here--snowcones and popcorn and long days spent with people you love.

Melby's relationship with the course is love-hate from the beginning, given the summer's freedom it robs her of, but when her parents decide to sell the course years later, her panicked reaction surprises even her. Now an adult living in Hollywood, having flown the Midwest long ago, she flies back to the course to help run it before the sale goes through, wondering if she should try to stop it. As the clock ticks, she reflects on what the course meant to her both as a child and an adult, the simpler era that it represents, and the particular pains of losing your childhood home, even years after you've left it.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir

Tuesday, September 9
6pm at The Reader's Loft

The Glass Castle: A Memoir

A Reader's Loft Book Club Discussion
Publisher's Comments:

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town--and the family--Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story.

Charlie Quimby

Thursday, September 11
6:30 pm at The Reader's Loft

Charlie Quimby

Charlie Quimby presents his IndieBound sensation,

Monument Road

Publisher's Comments:

Stark, beautiful landscapes attract all kinds. Artists and gawkers. Love birds and the lonely. Believers and scientists. Seekers and losers. Many have taken this road past estrangement and loss to healing and hope. Though not all have returned, they can still help him answer whether his life is over after all.

Monument Road is set at the beginning of the housing crash on the fringes of a boom and bust town in Western Colorado. Land values are starting to drop and properties bought in a speculative time are fraying around the edges. Leonard's relationship to the family homestead has always been uneasy because of the way it came to him, and after his wife dies, he sees the Reverse Dollar ranch as simply an asset to help him discharge his debts—if only there were buyers.

A real estate broker appears too late with an unconventional proposal that could benefit Leonard. He's already worked out his plan to the end. Let the bill collectors finish up the paperwork.

He's always lived with a fierce independence that won him more respect than friends. Relationships were always Inetta's department. But out here in this harsh place, something beyond social niceties binds people. Call it history. Call it shared pain. Everybody sometime has driven Monument Road.


Julie Buckels & James M. Jackson

Saturday, September 13
1:00 PM at The Reader's Loft

Julie Buckels & James M. Jackson

Join us for an afternoon of readings.

Julie Buckles was born in the driftless region of Wisconsin to a dairy farmer and a nurse. She studied history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. Buckles has worked as a reporter and freelance writer and teaches journalism as an adjunct professor at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. She is a regular contributor to Lake Superior Magazine and WPR's Wisconsin Life. 

 Paddling to Winter: A Couple's Wilderness Journey from Lake Superior to Northern Canada is a memoir that tells the story of how Julie and her husband, Charly Ray built a wood and canvas canoe, exchanged marriage vows, and paddled away from their front yard, planning to travel 2,700 miles to the Arctic Ocean and winter over in a tiny cabin. Told in Julie's page-turning style, their story is full of humor and humility, rapids and relationships, love and life. It's an adventure about a couple's wilderness journey from Lake Superior to the Canadian north.

Jame M. Jackson is the author of the Seamus McCree mysteries, Bad Policy (March 2013) and Cabin Fever (coming April 2014), published by Barking Rain Press. Bad Policy  won the Evan Marshall Fiction Makeover Contest. James splits his time between the Upper Peninsula of Michigan woods and Georgia’s low country, and has published an acclaimed book on contract bridge, One Trick at a Time: How to Start Winning Bridge (Master Point Press 2012).

Bad Policy - When private financial investigator Seamus McCree returns to Cincinnati after a routine business trip, he discovers that his home has become a crime scene for a brutal murder. The victim in his basement is an acquaintance from a previous corporate investigation-and endured bullets to both of his ankles, knees and elbows before the final shot to his forehead put him out of his misery. No one has seen an "IRA six pack" victim since the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. Now the primary "person of interest" in the murder, Seamus must use his talent for logic and hard work to prove his innocence. Soon he uncovers a trail that leads back to his Boston roots-and a poisonous family feud dating from the divorce of Boston's Irish mafia and the Provisional IRA in the 1970s. Driven by the chilling realization that there was more behind the death of his policeman father than he ever knew, Seamus ignores warnings from the police, friends and enemies and continues to dig for the truth. As the body count climbs, all trails seem to lead back to him, and Seamus is forced to go underground to find out who is framing him - and why - before he becomes the next victim.

James P. Lenfestey presents "Seeking the Cave"

Thursday, October 9
6:30 pm at The Reader's Loft

James P. Lenfestey presents "Seeking the Cave"

Seeking the Cave
by James P. Lenfestey

Publisher's comments:
When award-winning poet and essayist James P. Lenfestey stumbled upon Han-shan’s Cold Mountain poems in 1974, he found more than just literature, he found the medicine his spirit desperately needed. So thirty years later, when he decides to depart from his career in advertising and journalism to travel across the world to find the location of the legendary Cold Mountain cave, he embarks upon an inner journey as well.
 
Exploring the history of Chinese poetry and religion as he goes—from the enormous chanting hall of ten thousand Buddhas in Bailin Temple to the birthplace of Confucius—Lenfestey’s road-trip across China is a pilgrimage through language and landscape. His journey reveals his desire for calm reflection along with his unbridled curiosity and passion for knowledge. In the end he discovers not only the cave he seeks, but also the transformative power of poetry, the best tool we have for expressing the “incomprehensible joy” of our brief and precious lives.
 
Interspersed with poems by the author and Han-shan, Seeking the Cave is a journey suffused with humor and deep honesty that will appeal to lovers of poetry and travel writing alike. 

James P. Lenfestey is an award-winning academic, advertising executive, and journalist. He has published five books of poetry and a collection of essays. He currently chairs the Literary Witnesses poetry series and lives in Minneapolis.

Manuscript Found in Accra

Tuesday, October 14
6:00 pm at The Reader's Loft

Manuscript Found in Accra

A Reader's Loft Book Club Discussion

Publisher's Comments:

The great wisdom of life is that we can be masters of the things that try to enslave us.

“There is nothing wrong with anxiety. Although we cannot control God’s time, it is part of the human condition to want to receive the thing we are waiting for as quickly as possible. Or to drive away whatever is causing fear. Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it — just as we have learned to live with storms."

1099. Jerusalem awaits the invasion of the crusaders who have surrounded the city’s gates. There, inside the ancient city’s walls, women and men of every age and faith have gathered to hear the wisdom of a mysterious man known only as the Copt.

As the wise man speaks of loyalty, fear, bravery and solitude, of love, sex, beauty and elegance, his words offer truth and guidance, and reveal the human values that have endured throughout time — then as now, his words reveal who we are, what we fear and what we hope for the future.

Orphan Doors

Tuesday, November 11
6:00 pm at The Reader's Loft

Orphan Doors

A Reader's Loft Book Club Discussion

Publisher's Comments:

When Bea Seidl was a young girl growing up in the Fox River Valley in northeastern Wisconsin, she was abruptly chaperoned in a fancy new dress to a new life. Before she could hardly make sense of what was happening, she was the newest resident of St. Joseph's Orphanage in Green Bay, where stern nuns, rigid regimens, and scant tenderness defined her days. She emerged from eight years there hard of heart and spirit but soon embarked on a life journey to rediscover the meaning of family in ways she did not imagine possible.

Orphan Doors is Seidl's inspiring, poignant memoir of survival and personal strength that is certain to resonate with anyone who believes in the resiliency of the human heart. Both deeply felt and delightfully humorous, her firsthand account of an abusive home and abandonment charts her beginnings in a dysfunctional family to her own attempts as an adult to forge a family of her own, a desire at times met with tragedy and ultimately with profound joy. In 1942, Seidl was given over to St. Joseph's Orphanage, with no explanation as to why her mother Glenda lost custody of her and her siblings. Most traumatic for the author was the loss of her older sister, who had long served as her protector in their chaotic household. At the punitive hands of Sister Edythe and other sisters at the orphanage, young Beatrice was given little comfort, immersing herself in schoolwork. However, she eventually found a rewarding life for herself in her beautiful and tender husband, Ken. It was not too long before fate intervened and a young, widowed Beatrice had to find a new path to a fulfilling, family life- and even a way back to the Catholic Church as a gratifying vocation.

As Seidl rises above dark days and emotional isolation, Orphan Doors offers an uplifting story of hope, happiness, and a good dose of plain silliness. It's a heartfelt testament to love, reconnection, and the healing power of laughter.

The Art Forger

Tuesday, December 9
6:00 pm at The Reader's Loft

The Art Forger

A Reader's Loft Book Club Discussion

Publisher's Comments:

On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth today over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.

Claire makes her living reproducing famous works of art for a popular online retailer. Desperate to improve her situation, she lets herself be lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting — one of the Degas masterpieces stolen from the Gardner Museum — in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when the long-missing Degas painting — the one that had been hanging for one hundred years at the Gardner — is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.

Claire’s search for the truth about the painting’s origins leads her into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life. B. A. Shapiro’s razor-sharp writing and rich plot twists make The Art Forger an absorbing literary thriller that treats us to three centuries of forgers, art thieves, and obsessive collectors. It’s a dazzling novel about seeing — and not seeing — the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.

                             

 

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