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My Homies: Michigan Literary Favorites

  • Aug 26, 2010
  • by
I love reaching across the globe when I read, and I think it is important to do so--reading the literature of other cultures develops our understanding as global citizens. But quite often, all I have to do is look around me, right here in my own neighborhood. There are great literary stars in my home state of Michigan, and I am proud to show off just a few here. Some of the authors on this list are Michigan natives, some still live in the state, some not, while others have called Michigan home for a time in their lives. Many of these authors have other fine books besides the ones listed. (See also the page "Kalamazoo & Beyond" in the literary ezine, The Smoking Poet, featuring local talent.)
1
American Salvage
By Bonnie Jo Campbell, a finalist for the National Book Award 2010. Collection of stories based in southwest Michigan.
2
Stitches: A Memoir
Graphic memoir by author-artist David Small, based on his childhood in Detroit. Nominated for National Book Award 2010.
See the full review, "A Stitched-Up Life".
3
Exiliana
Poetry by Mariela Griffor, founder of Marick Press. Poetry addresses her native Chili, being a revolutionary, later exiled after the father of her unborn child was shot.
See the full review, "Rising New and Renewed from Paradox".
4
The Events of October
Nonfiction by Gail Griffin, published September 2010 by Wayne State University Press. Addresses intimate partner violence and abusive relationships, based on the murder-suicide that took place at Kalamazoo College.
5
Women & Other Animals : Stories
Short story collection by Bonnie Jo Campbell. Theme of women surviving the cruelest circumstances and doing so with humor and courage.
See the full review, "Joining the Circus".
7
The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian
Novel by Michael Zadoorian of greater Detroit area.
8
True North
Novel by Jim Harrison. Writes about the Upper Peninsula, cost of timber and mining to family and area.
9
It Blows You Hollow (The New Issues Press Poetry
Poetry by Diane Seuss. Excellent introduction to Wolf Lake above.
See the full review, "Scars as Erogenous Zones".
10
As If We Were Prey
Story collection by Michael Delp. Teaches at Interlochen Center for the Arts.
11
After-Music
Poetry by Conrad Hilberry. Professor emeritus at Kalamazoo College. Published many poetry books, including collection with daughter, Jane Hilberry.
12
The Polar Express
Children's book by Chris Van Allsberg. Animated movie based on the book, with its incredible illustrations and moving storyline.
13
So Big
Novel by Edna Ferber. Won Pulitzer Prize in 1924, movie followed.
14
Waiting to Exhale
Novel by Terry McMillan. Popular African-American author whose books are often made into movies.
15
The Sex Wars
Novel by Marge Piercy. Prolific feminist author with 17 prose books, 17 poetry books. This novel addresses suffragette movement.
16
Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and
Essays by Mitch Albom. Based in Detroit, columnist for Detroit Free Press. This and other books made into movies. Lessons learned from an elderly and dying teacher.
17
The Coast of Chicago: Stories
Stories by Stuart Dybek, often known for his poetry. Homes in Kalamazoo and Chicago.
See the full review, "Word Maestro".
18
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Jane Kenyon is a popular Michigan poet.
19
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One of America's best known classic poets.
20
You Know Me Al - Ring Lardner
Sports writer Ring Lardner hails from tiny town Niles, Michigan, but his colorful and humorous sports writing initiated the genre nationwide.
22
The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke
Another classic poet from Michigan.
23
Angle of Ascent: New and Selected Poems
Poetry by African-American poet, essayist, educator Robert Hayden, Detroit.
24
When the Women Come Out to Dance: Stories
by Elmore Leonard. Not one of my personal favorites, but a very well known writer with many movies and shows based on his books.
25
Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People's Ears (Turtleback
West African folk tale turned into a beautiful children's picture book, by Verna Aardema.
26
You Don't Look Like Your Mother
Children's book by Aileen Lucia Fisher. Paintings of wildlife, tender story.
27
Real Life & Liars
Novel by Kristina Riggle. Four differing viewpoints.
28
Well Deserved
Novel by Michael Loyd Gray.
See the full review, "Slow and Easy Simmer".
29
Sleeping Woman (Carnegie Mellon Poetry)
Poetry by Herbert Scott. Founded New Issues Press. Taught at Western Michigan University.
See the full review, "Evidence of Earthly Living".
30
The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo
Novel by Darrin Doyle. Darkly comic tale.
31
Arrow Pointing North
Poetry by David Dodd Lee. Author of six books.
32
Parable of Hide and Seek
Poetry by Chad Sweeney. Currently teaching at Kalamazoo College.
33
How to Live on Bread and Music
Poetry by Jennifer Sweeney. Yes, Chad's wife, and the poetry apparently abounds in this family.
34
Dominant Hand
Poetry by Elizabeth Kerlikowske. Beloved poet of Kalamazoo, professor.

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About the list creator
Zinta Aistars ()
Ranked #136
I am a bilingual writer and editor; founder and editor-in-chief of the literary ezine, The Smoking Poet. Learn more about me on my Web site--I welcome visitors!
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