Amy Hassinger

Writer. Teacher. Manuscript Consultant.

Patricia Hruby Powell's LOVING VS. VIRGINIA

This year is the 50th anniversary of a landmark court case that set a federal precedent against miscegenation laws. The case was brought by a couple from Virginia, Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Loving, of African-American and Native-American descent.

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There’s a genre of memoir commonly called the spiritual memoir. One of the most famous examples would be Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain, but there are many, many others: Kathleen Norris’ Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda, Faith Adiele’s Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun, or Roger Kamenetz’s The Jew in the Lotus, to name just a few.

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Janice Harrington's “Picture of the Poet and Horace H. Pippin Before the Perigee”

Last month, I had the great pleasure of attending an Evening of Jazz and Poetry, put on by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities. The gathering was a celebration of the release of poet Janice Harrington’s latest collection, entitled Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin

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Karen Gettert Shoemaker's THE MEANING OF NAMES

Last week, I mentioned the writer Karen Gettert Shoemaker, who talks about “writing from the body” as a way of deeply imagining characters, places, and stories. I thought I’d offer you an excerpt today from Shoemaker’s latest novel, The Meaning of Names

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Shari Wagner's "These Rocks"

The writer and teacher Karen Gettert Shoemaker often talks about the physicality of writing, what she calls “writing from the body.” And we must do that when we imagine, in order to make our characters, scenes, places believable—we have to find ways to embody them on the page.

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Daniel Borzutsky's "Lake Michigan Merges Into the Bay of Valparaiso, Chile"

Poet Daniel Borzutzky, Chilean-American and Chicago citizen, won this year’s National Book Award for his collection The Performance of Becoming Human. One of the poems from this collection, “Lake Michigan Merges into the Bay of Valparaiso, Chile,” came as a response to revelations of abuses at a Chicago Police Department-run detention center called Homan Square. 

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