Most Recent Posts

International Women’s Day: Poems & Art

March 8th, 2019 | Poetry | No Comments

Pooja Campbell

Poems and art to help us celebrate and consider International Women’s Day, 2019. Please click on the poets’ and artist’s names to see more of their work.

Risa Denenberg

Whirlwind @ Lesbos

We met in Istanbul
where your

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Music for Music: Becca Stevens

March 6th, 2019 | Music | No Comments

Becca Stevens, photo credit Harald Krichel CC BY-SA 3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Becca Stevens: Visionary As Team Player

By Dan Ursini ©2018

Becca Stevens is a gifted songwriter and arranger, singer and instrumentalist, intent on investigating the full amplitude of

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Life in the Box: TV Warning Labels

February 28th, 2019 | Television | No Comments

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time worrying about lies spread on television, radio, cable and online media. This morning I had a grand idea: let’s put warning labels on programs and news feeds to give consumers a way

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Life’s Matters: Strands of Controversy

February 25th, 2019 | EIL Blog | No Comments

In my previous column, I discussed hair types, our common humanity, and the futility of attempting to compartmentalize the black hair experience. Here, I explore the stereotypes and the dangers of conformity. When hair gets tangled in biases and prejudices,

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Julie Shelton Snyder

February 21st, 2019 | Artist Watch | No Comments

bed desert
, woodcut, 9″ x 11″, 2018

fuji-san from space
, woodcut, 10-1/2″ x 8″, 2018

fuji-san is a girl
, silkscreen monoprint, 30″ x 22″, 2018

kawaguchiko 1
, woodcut, 10″ x 17″, 2018

kawaguchiko 2
, woodcut, …

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Sandra Marchetti

February 20th, 2019 | Poetry | No Comments

Being a Cub Fan

How many
of my life
have I spent
with hands
hoping for one
to go out.



          for the left-handed pitcher

He pointed
to me
and said:
a veteran
who might

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Life in the Box: Flagging Our Concerns

February 18th, 2019 | Television | No Comments

As we enter the third year of being terrorized by our Orange-faced President, it occurred to me that I go through stages of alarm, sort of like the years following the September 11th terrorist attack. Maybe we should think

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Because It’s Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2019 | Poetry | No Comments

Bo Bartlett, History Lesson

High School Poem

Because it’s Valentine’s Day
My teacher says we ought to read some poems
So she hangs them up all over the school.

In the hallway, a poem about trembling field mice,
A nightingale …

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Heart to Heart: Love Poems

February 13th, 2019 | Poetry | No Comments
escapeintolife Ione R 7

escapeintolife ione r 1
Ione Rucquoi, Bete Noir

It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Please enjoy these unconventional love poems, and look for another valentine to appear here tomorrow. Find more unusual love poems at the end of this mini-anthology via the links to our past

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Via Basel: My 60th Birthday Letter From Chris

February 10th, 2019 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Scott Kahn

On February 10th 2006 Chris penned a letter to me on the occasion of my 60th birthday, four days later (on Valentine’s Day). Because of its length (6 pages) and depth, after briefly perusing it I

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“A love story of sorts”

February 8th, 2019 | Book Reviews | No Comments

Struck: A Husband’s Memoir of Trauma and Triumph

by Douglas Segal

Prospect Park Books, 2018

reviewed by Seana Graham


In October of 2012, actress Susan Segal was driving home on L.A.’s Hollywood Boulevard after picking up her daughter

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Jessy Randall & Briget Heidmous: ARTARIANICA

February 6th, 2019 | Collaboration | No Comments




ARTARIANICA is the collaborative effort of Jessy Randall and Briget Heidmous. Jessy writes words. Briget draws.

Briget, born 1989, is an artist and creative entrepreneur. Her website is:

Jessy, born 1969, has had poems

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Life’s Matters: Affairs of the Hair

January 26th, 2019 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Hair is the most prominent adornment of the human body. Hair, or the lack thereof, is a hallmark of our shared humanity. We take our hair for granted even as we fuss over it. We spend a lot of time,

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Maggie Taylor

January 17th, 2019 | Artist Watch, Photography | No Comments

A World of Her Own, archival inkjet print, dimensions variable, 2018

Before Breakfast, archival inkjet print, dimensions variable, 2017

Dream Pool, archival inkjet print, dimensions variable, 2018

Later, archival inkjet print, dimensions variable, 2017

Ship of

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Music for Music for Art: Vera Klement

January 14th, 2019 | Art Essays | No Comments


To start the year off with a surprise, Dan Ursini, who usually tells us about musicians he finds at YouTube in his Music for Music column, reports today on the visual artist Vera Klement.



Vera Klement’s Woodcuts

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Accidental Critic: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

December 28th, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
by Kathleen Rooney
St. Martin’s Press, 2017

Reviewed by Kim Kishbaugh

Lillian Boxfish is 84 years old (well, truthfully, 85, but what’s a little fib among casual acquaintances?) and facing New Year’s Eve in her

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Elise Ritter

December 20th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

Eternally Yours
, watercolor and acrylics, 2016

Blue Heavens Trio
, alcohol inks and acrylics, 2018

Communion of Saints
, acrylics, 2012

Stained Glass Saints
, watercolors and acrylics, 2013

Messengers of Light
, alcohol inks and acrylics, 2018


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Theatre Review: The Waverly Gallery

December 18th, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

The Waverly Gallery
By Kenneth Lonergan

Directed by Lila Neugebauer
Broadway: Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th Street, New York, NY
December 14, 2018

Reviewed by Scott Klavan

Hyperbole makes for lazy criticism, but it’s not extreme to say that

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Toon Musings: Beastmen of Yuletide

December 14th, 2018 | Artist Blog | No Comments

Well, I see by my current iTunes playlist that it’s that time of year again: that enchanting time when a demigod strides the land, casting a seasoned eye on the children of our hapless race, carefully weighing whether they’ve behaved

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Book Review: Night Court

December 12th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Night Court
by Erica Goss

Glass Lyre Press, 2017
Winner of the 2016 Lyrebird Prize

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk, EIL Poetry Editor

Gosh, I love poetry. I have been loving these poems by Erica Goss for some time now, and

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Book Review: My Girl’s Green Jacket

December 10th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

My Girl’s Green Jacket
by Mary Meriam
Headmistress Press, 2018

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk, EIL Poetry Editor

When I read Mary Meriam’s poems in My Girl’s Green Jacket, I am tempted to think, This is someone who lives her

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Via Basel: Her Last Gift

December 6th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

The day was perfect, sunny with a chill in the air. The wind had slowed down to a gentle breeze and the waves were manageable. “The Neptune,” a comfortable boat we rented, was chugging along at a good clip in

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Pushcart Nominations in 2018

December 5th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Matheus Lopes, Manifesto

We congratulate our Pushcart Prize nominees for 2018. Please click the various links to see more poems, features, and award features, and to see more art by Matheus Lopes here at EIL. These poems resonate now, together,

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Theatre Review: King Kong

December 2nd, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

King Kong
Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway, New York, NY

Directed by Drew McOnie

Reviewed by Scott Klavan
November  29, 2018

There’s something missing from the current musical of the classic monster movie King Kong, at the Broadway Theatre. Hard to

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Music for Music: Jacob Collier

November 23rd, 2018 | Music | No Comments

Music for Music: Jacob Being Jacob

By Dan Ursini ©2018

Last year, two songs from Jacob Collier’s debut album, In My Room, won Grammys. One was with an audacious cover of “The Flintstones” theme.

The other Grammy was for

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Angela Narciso Torres

November 21st, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Barbara Schneider

Warm Spell, February

For the first time in weeks the wind doesn’t cut like an insult.
My dog feels it too. I slacken her leash so she can dig her nose

in the wet underbrush, letting her sniff

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Life in the Box: Consider the Source

November 19th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

My post-election pledge to myself is to encourage my friends who share political views on Facebook to check their facts. It’s not as easy as it sounds. People who express strong feelings already think they have all the facts they

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Toon Musings: Stan the Man

November 17th, 2018 | Artist Blog | No Comments

It is with some sadness that I note the recent passing of Stan Lee, impresario extraordinaire. When I started reading comic books, I started out with DC—the home of Batman, Superman, the Flash, and Blackhawk. They were mostly bland, upright

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Accidental Critic: Citizen Illegal

November 16th, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

Citizen Illegal
By José Olivarez
Haymarket Books, 2018
BreakBeat Poets series

I’m a couple generations away from the immigrant experience. My grandparents on one side emigrated from Sweden in the early 1900s, met and married in this country. On the

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Lebohang Kganye

November 15th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Photography | No Comments

You couldn’t stop the rain in time, inkjet print on cotton rag paper, 2018

(Inspired by Athol Fugard’s The Train Driver)

The nameless ones in the graves
, inkjet print on cotton rag paper, 2018

(Inspired by Athol …

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Music for Music: R+R=Now

November 3rd, 2018 | Music | No Comments

Marco Migani aka Inserrirefloppino collage art 

Collagically Speaking, They Have Arrived

By Dan Ursini © 2018

Collagically Speaking, the title of the first album by R+R=NOW, nicely sums up the music of this band.

The word “collagically” evokes the

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Día de los Muertos

November 2nd, 2018 | Book Reviews, Uncategorized | No Comments

Ghostographs: an Album by Maria Romasco Moore

Rose Metal Press, 2018

reviewed by Seana Graham

I was initially a little disappointed that Ghostographs wasn’t released quite in time for me to review for Halloween, but now that I’ve read

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Toon Musings: Peanuts and Me

November 1st, 2018 | Artist Blog | No Comments

When a young person gets the urge to draw stuff, quite often they will pick an already established work and copy the shit out of it. My particular muse, as a pre-adolescent, was Charles Schulz’s Peanuts. I had

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Rob Carney: Cats & A Witch

October 31st, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Anne Siems

You Are Here→

I will never, despite the spinning,
fly off the Earth.

It’s just not possible.
The grip that holds it all together—

all the oceans and coffee cups,
wheat fields and butter knives,

porches and

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Via Basel: Sanctuary, Two Poems

October 26th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

Mary Daniel Hobson

Sanctuary, Two Poems

Webster’s Dictionary defines sanctuary as “a place where someone or something is protected or given shelter.” It can also mean a room in a church, synagogue, etc., where religious services are held. For me

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Lunacy: Poems on the Moon

October 24th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Natasha Newton

Erica Goss

Hunter’s Moon

We’re bones in October,
toys for the wind
whose fists pound children

to the ground,
bell the pleated skirt
I wear in fifth grade,

blasting my ears with
a desert people’s
sharp syllables.


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Jeanie Tomanek

October 18th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

, acrylic on paper, 15″ x 12″, 2018

One Good Reason
, oil, 30″ x 30″, 2018

Paper Doll
, oil, 40″ x 30″, 2017

Stars in Her Crown
, oil, 40″ x 30″, 2018

, oil, 20″ …

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Jeannine Hall Gailey on the Moon

October 17th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Remedios Varo

The Night I Get Diagnosed with MS Under a Blood Moon
A coyote appears on the road. This is not a metaphor.
There are scavengers. Smoke hangs in the air
and the red face of the moon is

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Book Review: Wives’ Tales

October 10th, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

Wives’ Tales
by Marjorie Maddox
The Seven Kitchens Press, 2017
Editor’s Series 3.03

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk, EIL Poetry Editor

In fairy tales, as in life, there is always so much I don’t understand. Ah, that is probably the point—interpretation,

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It’s CatOber!

October 3rd, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Mattijn Franssen

It’s CatOber again at Escape Into Life. Look for the (subtle and not-so-subtle, present and missing) cats in these poems & photos….

Virginia Smith Rice 

Frequency (If There’s a Face There Should Be an I)

Tonight is

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Best of the Net Nominations 2018

September 26th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Tanya Johnston, [re]-surfacing

Best of the Net Nominations 2018

for work published between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018

Please join us in congratulating Escape Into Life’s nominees for Best of the Net. Click the links to revisit these

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Life in the Box: Optimistic Fall

September 24th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

September songs are always in a minor key. They are about Summer Ending and Winter Pending. They are about wishing summer would last longer. That’s just wrong!

Fall is its own world of changing colors and winds that blow warm

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Can You Hear Us NOW?

September 21st, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

What She Was Saying: Stories

by Marjorie Maddox

Fomite, 2017

reviewed by Seana Graham

I’ve read several short story anthologies lately, and have found myself wondering at times about the best way to read them. Does it matter what

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Gail Nadeau

September 20th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Collage | No Comments

No Moon in the Eastern Sky

She’s Disappearing

The Soft White Dress and Bouquet

The White Dove

Almost Midnight

Drawing A

Velvet Dress for Olivia

Note: The artist’s original collages are 16″ x 20″; they can be printed archival …

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Virginia Smith Rice

September 19th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Julia Zanes

Grief Inflammation

A room filled with what has been
disowned :  names, a disfigured religion or two,
a host of paper waifs that slip between rails
and stick underfoot until there is nowhere

left to stand. Nowhere, I

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Accidental Critic: Moonglow

September 14th, 2018 | Book Reviews, EIL Blog | No Comments

Michael Chabon’s “Moonglow” bills itself as a novel—the label is right there on the cover. But it’s much more than that as well. It’s equally a quiet, funny, sentimental and probing memoir—or perhaps “memoir”—so much so that the reader might

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Jamie Martinez

September 14th, 2018 | Artist Watch | No Comments



Silver Passage to the Underworld


Artist Statement 

My process involves constructing, deconstructing and fragmenting images, data, and information geometrically into triangulated segments. My recent paintings, work and projects investigate the relationship, communication, and documentation of the exchange

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Theatre Review: THE TRUE

September 12th, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

The True by Sharr White
Directed by Scott Elliott
Produced by The New Group
Off Broadway @ The Pershing Square Signature Center

Reviewed by Scott Klavan, Preview, Saturday matinee, September 8, 2018

With his recent play The Other Place,

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Via Basel: From Baghdad to Chicago

September 11th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

From Baghdad to Chicago: Memoir and Reflections of an Iraqi American Physician
by Asad A. Bakir
Archway Publishing, 2018

A commentary by Basel Al-Aswad

When my friend Asad told me several months ago that his memoir has finally been

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THE EMPTY SPACE 50 Years Later

September 7th, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

A theater essay by Scott Klavan

The Empty Space, by the British director Peter Brook, was published in 1968, to both admiration and discomfort. Derived from a series of lectures begun in ’65, its description of the state of

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Labor Day 2018

September 3rd, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Roberto Peluce

Rob Carney

When I Went to Work as a Snow-Globe Designer,

I didn’t do it for the usual reasons.
I did it to get some practice in

before building my house at the bottom of the ocean.

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Music for Music: Khruangbin

August 24th, 2018 | Music | No Comments

Khruangbin: Tight Pocket, Global Reach

By Dan Ursini ©2018

Khruangbin is a rock guitar-bass-drums trio which at the very least is creating the first serious updates in surf/exotica music since Dick Dale’s 1962 cover of “Misirlou,” which so memorably opened

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Anniversary of the Eclipse

August 21st, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Alejandro Colungo

Mather Schneider

Eclipse, August 21, 2017

I drive to Hermosillo solo
through the midsummer inferno       it’s the day of the eclipse
like a preposterous sentience behind the sun and sky
will slide open a peephole
to look down

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David Ehrlich

August 16th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Photography | No Comments

Not-for-Beginners Yoga

Please Please Please Please Please

Portrait (With Pinned Ear)

Singing for My Supper

Dog-Gone Happy

Darn Squirrel

I Could Use a Big Hug

They Will Not Make Me Smile

Note: The captions are the editor’s own.


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Some Short Sharp Shocks

August 11th, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

A Bright and Pleading Dagger

by Nicole Rivas

Rose Metal Press, 2018

reviewed by Seana Graham


For the last twelve years, the wonderful Rose Metal Press, which specializes in hybrid genres, has sponsored a contest for flash fiction

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An Edinburgh Education

August 4th, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie 

by Muriel Spark 

Lippencott, 1962. Harper Perennial, 1994 

reviewed by Seana Graham 


The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, for those who don’t know it, is a short novel which has

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During the Dog Days…

July 25th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Elke Vogelsang

During the dog days of July this year, I saw a lot of dogs walking with their humans in the early morning hours along the beach at Twin Lakes State Park in California. We all walked along in

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Life’s Matters: Celebration

July 24th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

In my previous posts, “Social Tolerance is Unacceptable,” “Do Tolerance Laws Change Society?” and “A World of Social Acceptance,” I explored social tolerance, how laws in my previous posts can promote intolerance, and moving

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Life in the Box: Defying Denial

July 23rd, 2018 | Television | No Comments

If there’s one thing the 12 steps (for addiction relief) teaches: denial is the enemy. Embrace reality—no matter how harsh—and you have taken a step towards wholeness.

Denial in America? It’s epidemic now. Real people, in powerful positions, are denying,

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Mark Pugh

July 19th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

Autoportraitism, oil on panel, 36″ x 60″, 2017

Boy at the Edge of the World
, oil on panel, 30″ x 48″, 2018

Celestial Navigation
, oil on panel, 36″ x 48″, 2017

Gathering Apples (the way she remembers

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Music for Music: Brazilian Girls

July 13th, 2018 | Music | No Comments


Music for Music: Time Is On Their Side

by Dan Ursini © 2018

The Brazilian Girls are a brave, fun band—longtime dance/jazz/poptronica practitioners blessed with nonpareil artistic stamina. They have just released their first album in ten years, Let’s

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Dog Days 2018: Year of the Dog

July 11th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Kate Bassett

Yvonne Zipter  

On Berteau Avenue

Lines so deep in his face they are small ravines.
A few yellowed teeth ride the wave of his jaw,
as he tells me about his trip with his father
to a greyhound

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Rob Carney on Fireworks

July 4th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Fred Tomaselli

Rob Carney

Political Science

One summer the people of Kalispell had too much paint. Driving into town, I saw a car slap-dashed with yellow—must have been two-hundred cartoon lemons—and a homemade signboard bolted on the roof: “Dale’s Sales

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Music for Music: Articles Instead of Reviews

June 29th, 2018 | Music | No Comments


Igor & Marina, Jazzmen

Why I Write Articles Instead of Reviews of YouTube Music 

By Dan Ursini © 2018

All the statistics I have seen about YouTube music have two things in common: they involve a very large number,

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Life in the Box: What to Do?

June 27th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

With the world turning upside down and all, I have been clinging to a little prayer, a small branch that keeps me from falling into the great abyss: “let me do what is mine to do, and let me release

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Via Basel: Interview with Kyra Woods, Part 2

June 25th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 2 Comments

As a reminder to EIL readers this is 2nd part of my interview with Kyra Woods on May 25th, 2018, at the downtown offices of the Chicago Chapter of the Sierra Club. Please refer to Part 1 in link below

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Life’s Matters: A World of Social Acceptance

June 25th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

In her previous two posts, Social Tolerance is Unacceptable and Do Tolerance Laws Change Society?  Billie Wade explored social tolerance and how laws can promote intolerance. Here, in Part 3 of this four-part series, she looks at possibilities for moving

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Scott Klavan: Hamlet Parody

June 23rd, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

Domencio Gnoli


The Danish Prince Association (DPA) has protested against the portrayal of their members in the classic play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. At a press conference in Copenhagen on Wed., Fjord Clogsen, head

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Book Review: Santa Cruz Noir

June 22nd, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

Santa Cruz Noir
Edited by Susie Bright

Akashic Books, 2018

It’s officially summer! I started my summer reading with Santa Cruz Noir, a collection of new noir stories, all set in Santa Cruz. I’m headed there later this summer

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Manal Deeb

June 21st, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments
Granada by Manal Deeb

Faithful by Manal Deeb

Faithful, acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 36″, 2016

Flash by Manal Deeb
, acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″, 2015

Fix Me Deeper by Manal Deeb
Fix Me Deeper
, mixed media on canvas, 24″ x 20″, 2015

Golden Beauty by Manal Deeb
Golden Beauty
, mixed media on canvas, 24″ x 20″, …

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Father’s Day 2018

June 17th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Dean Pasch, The Freudian Cabinet

Paulette Beete  

Instructions for a Poem with Grief

Write an elegy:

Transmute should have been into fact.

Admit only there was a slight unraveling.

If you are feathered with need or hunger become another

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Paulette Beete: Finding Her Father

June 13th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Shai Kremer

Falling Still

My father who is 70 never tells me
I love you when I say it

as a good-bye: I love you then
silence. I imagine my words hurtling

from my mouth, a spray
of bullets aimed

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Via Basel: Interview with Kyra Woods, Sierra Club

June 11th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

The offices of the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club, headquartered in Chicago on the 15th floor of 70 East Lake Street, are ordinarily a beehive of activity with workers and volunteers all over the place. But on Friday morning,

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Book Review: A Bag of Hands

June 6th, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

A Bag of Hands
Mather Schneider
Rattle, Studio City, CA, 2018
Rattle Chapbook Prize Selection
Runner-Up in 2017 Rattle Chapbook Prize

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk, EIL Poetry Editor

I love the sheer honesty of Mather Schneider’s poems. He’s a poet

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Book Review: Girlie Calendar

May 30th, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

Girlie Calendar
by Mary Meriam
Headmistress Press, 2014
The Lillian Trilogy, Book 3

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk, EIL Poetry Editor

Really, you could open this Girlie Calendar to any page, and it would be the perfect date. Today, a

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Toon Musings: I am a Grinch

May 29th, 2018 | Artist Blog | No Comments

Let me explain. I was reading an article about one writer’s disillusionment with one of his heroes, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Diaz. Apparently, Mr. Diaz has, despite his enlightened writing on toxic masculinity, been found to have engaged in it

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Scott Klavan: Angels in America

May 22nd, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

Heather Horton

Angels in America
By Tony Kushner 

Directed by Marianne Elliott
Broadway—Neil Simon Theatre
Part I: Millennium Approaches– 5/8/18; Part II: Perestroika- 5/20/18

Reviewed by Scott Klavan

Angels in America by Tony Kushner is the best new American

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Carola Schapals

May 17th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

House to Protect a Dream
, oil on canvas, 120 cm x 160 cm, 2018

Norwegian Green
, oil on canvas, 100 cm x 150 cm, 2018

Sink Down the Green
, oil on canvas, 140 cm x 170 cm, …

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Susan Slaviero: Mother & Father

May 16th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Rafal Olbinski

The Year of Fires and Floods

Think of natural disasters as domestic, something
smaller than in those movies where the beautiful
blonde scientist escapes a tsunami in a well-timed
helicopter with a wisecracking pilot—a love interest

to keep

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Mother’s Day 2018

May 9th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Geoff Mitchell, Drop

Rachel Dacus


Mother, you found me fresh
and fondled my small face, ears, and toes.
A foundling yourself, you opened
your blanket to let me into a soft space
where I grew, sometimes sheltered from the

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Life’s Matters: Do Tolerance Laws Change Society?

May 7th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

In my last post, I discussed the drawbacks and inadequacies of social tolerance, “Social Tolerance is Unacceptable.”  The article provoked some questions by my editor, Nancy Heather Brown.

Now, in response to her questions, I seek to expand on the

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Marjorie Maddox

May 2nd, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Alexander McKenzie

I Swim at the Y

Ten blocks from the lake, the building—
near-empty—stands: brick survivor. The other
swimmers are pumping out basements, sucking up
liquid that sucked up albums and cards
stacked too-low on shelves below
the water

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Jessy Randall: The Lollyball Problem

April 30th, 2018 | Fiction | No Comments

The Lollyball Problem by Jessy Randall 

Snith liked his so much, I thought I’d try the woman’s version, with the nose. I’d walked in on Snith with his once, and the look on his face was like nothing I’d ever

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Like a Talisman

April 27th, 2018 | Book Reviews, Drawings | No Comments

Monster Portraits 

by Del Samatar and Sofia Samatar

Rose Metal Press, 2018

reviewed by Seana Graham 


I don’t know about where you live, but here in Santa Cruz, monsters seem to be trending. A young acquaintance of

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Via Basel: Passions, Part 3

April 26th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

Via Basel: Passions, Part 3: Outdoors and Environment

My 3rd passion, related to the well being of our planet Earth, is perhaps the most important and consequential of all. If the arts and literature were about beauty and aesthetics, and

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Toon Musings: Retirement Plan

April 24th, 2018 | Artist Blog | No Comments

In the mid-eighties, the awful realization that I had entered my late twenties overtook me. It was at this time that I once again took up the reading of comic books, after a hiatus of about twelve years. Make of

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Adrien Broom

April 19th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Photography | No Comments

351 Farmington Ave. (Mark Twain House, Hartford, Connecticut)

Susy’s Room (Mark Twain House)

The Parlor (Mark Twain House)

The Stairwell (Mark Twain House)

The Library (Mark Twain House)

The Library II (Mark Twain House)

The Nursery (Mark Twain House)


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Rachel Dacus

April 18th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Redd Walitzki

Talking Back to Emily Dickinson

She’s such a sass with her Essential Oils –
are wrung –
and her big-sister devilry,

the way she tells me love is the noose
every neck must slip.

I talk back to

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Life in the Box: Ha Ha

April 16th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

I got to laughing so hard I was snorting yesterday. I will tell you why, but first you gotta know the set-up.

I started out looking for a fight. My thoughts were tumbling around in friggin’ partial sentences and declaratives

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Ars Poetica: Poems on Poetry 2018

April 11th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Jill Ricci

Susanna Lang

Ars Poetica

My memory is loose, our dry cleaner says, emerging from the racks
     of shirts wrapped in plastic.

It is the morning after a heavy rain and I have to agree, I have

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Together, Something New

April 7th, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

The Renaissance Club

by Rachel Dacus

Fiery Seas, 2018

reviewed by Seana Graham  

May Gold is a college adjunct who, thanks to the generosity of her older and more established boyfriend Darren, finds herself in the company of the

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Music for Music: Balawan

April 6th, 2018 | Music | No Comments

Music for Music: Balawan, Jazz, and Gamelan

By Dan Ursini © 2018

It’s not easy, but a stringed instrument like an electric guitar can be played one-handed. It’s called tapping and it involves hammering the fretting fingers hard enough to

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Christine Klocek-Lim

April 4th, 2018 | Poetry | 1 Comment
EscapeintoLife_ Aakash_Nihalani

EscapeintoLife_ Aakash_Nihalani
Aakash Nihalani

How a moth flies into a poem

Inevitably she is driving
when it happens—
a poem moves inside her like moth wings.
The horn coughs as she struggles
to shape words on the steering wheel,
flutters her pencil’s

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Accidental Critic: Puppets and Poems

April 1st, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

I’ve been a fan of puppetry and a patron of puppet theatre for years, and I like almost any kind of puppetry, from hand-held dolls and shadow puppets to giant, larger-than-life puppets that dwarf the humans manipulating them.

This weekend

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Accidental Critic: The South Side

March 30th, 2018 | Book Reviews, EIL Blog | No Comments

Natalie Moore covers the South Side of Chicago as a reporter for Chicago’s public radio station, WBEZ-FM. It’s a very personal calling, as she grew up in the heart of the South Side herself. In her thought-provoking book The South

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Above the Dreamless Dead

March 27th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

Above the Dreamless Dead:
World War I in Poetry and Comics
Edited by Chris Duffy
First Second, New York, 2014
via Macmillan

Above the Dreamless Dead is a wonderful book that pairs poets of World War I with cartoonists

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Life’s Matters: Social Tolerance is Unacceptable

March 26th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

Social tolerance is an elusive apparition. Meant to foster amicable human relations, it can backfire and serve as a veneer over a burbling cesspool of loathing, distrust, and disregard of the “other.” The intentions behind tolerance often are undermined through

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Accidental Critic: Protest Art, Alive and Well

March 25th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Like hundreds of thousands of other people across the United States, I spent part of Saturday at one of the many #MarchForOurLives gun control rallies held across the United States. I was both moved and awed by the power and

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Pooja Campbell

March 15th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

But You and I Are Really One, oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″, 2016

Consciousness, oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″, 2017

, oil on canvas, 24″ x 48″, 2017

Even Better Than the Real Thing
, …

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Life in the Box: Look, They Said

March 12th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

Look, it’s like this, the word “look” is trending in American interview vocabulary this year. If I had a nickel for each time I’ve heard that word at the beginning of a statement this week, I’d have at least enough

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Accidental Critic: Fellow Travelers

March 6th, 2018 | Book Reviews, EIL Blog | No Comments

You think you were my first love
You think you were my first love
But you’re wrong
You were the only one
Who’s come and gone
— “I Know Very Well How I Got My Name,” by Morrissey

Guest review

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Via Basel: Passions, Part 2: Mindfulness/Meditation

March 5th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

It was my most unforgettable dance as I waltzed with my daughter Mandy on her wedding night just short of 4 years ago to the music of Hal David and Burt Bacharach’s “What the World Needs Now is Love” as

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Wolf Kahn

February 15th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

Provence Blue
, oil on canvas, 52″ x 60″, 2017

Blue to Yellow Through Green
, oil on canvas, 52″ x 52″, 2016

High Pink Sky
, oil on canvas, 52″ x 52″, 2016

A Glimpse of Blue
, oil …

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Parted from Love

February 14th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Eric Finzi

Karrie Waarala


For two glitter-gold nights in New York,
we were magic. During intermission at the Met,
a held breath between the wings of Turandot,
you even told me I was beautiful and meant

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Toon Musings: Undead Strips

February 13th, 2018 | Artist Blog | No Comments

Max und Moritz – Eine Bubengeschichte in sieben Streichen (A Story of Seven Boyish Pranks) was published in 1865. It was a darkly comic tale of two mischievous lads and the pranks they play on various adults resulting in (spoilers!)

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Music for Music: Angelina Jordan

February 12th, 2018 | Music | 1 Comment

Another Kind of Ageless: Singer Angelina Jordan

By Dan Ursini © 2018

The sweetest strength of YouTube is its capacity to present distinctively talented people who are impossible to categorize, much less market. Were it not for YouTube we might

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Vector by Yvonne Zipter

February 10th, 2018 | Fiction | No Comments


historical fiction by Yvonne Zipter, an excerpt from the novel Infraction 

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1875


Not for the first time, Marya reflected that the men at the gatherings her Aunt Lidia held to find a husband for her

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A Marriage of True Minds

February 9th, 2018 | Book Reviews | 3 Comments

Lab Girl

by Hope Jahren

Knopf, 2016, Vintage, 2017

reviewed by Seana Graham

This acclaimed memoir by geobiologist Hope Jahren has many interlacing strands. On one level it is the story of how a girl growing up in small

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Scott Klavan: Fire & Air

February 2nd, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

Fire & Air, by Terrence McNally
Directed by John Doyle
Classic Stage Company, 136 E. 13th St., New York, NY

Reviewed by Scott Klavan
January 26, 2018

Fire & Air photo credits: Joan Marcus

Fire & Air,

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Via Basel: Passions, Part 1: Art & Literature

January 30th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Aixa Oliveras, Through Darkness Comes Light

Following a few weeks of deliberate idleness (in writing only) here I am posting my New Year’s resolutions and commitments. To do so in a public manner serves two purposes. One is to hold

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Life in the Box: Venus Marches On

January 29th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

Okay, so America was founded on oppression of minorities. Remember killing off the Native Americans with diseases (intentionally) and guns and making them move west, then starving them by killing all their food sources (buffalo, etc.) and shoving them into

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Life in the Box: Propaganda Television

January 27th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

Bipartisanism used to be a goal in politics. It meant that both parties compromised with each other to solve problems. They used to agree on the problems, just not how to fix them. And the parties used to agree that

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Life in the Box: Wolffish Insights

January 25th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

I’m getting so many aha moments reading Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury:  Inside the Trump White House that I wanted to share some.

First off, it’s refreshing to know that all the agony we liberals have felt this past

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Rachel Dacus: The Renaissance Club

January 23rd, 2018 | Fiction | No Comments

An excerpt from the novel The Renaissance Club
by Rachel Dacus (Fiery Seas Publishing, 2018)

A distant clang. The Swiss Guards were closing the outer doors and tourists were scurrying. Where was The Renaissance Club? In a panic, May dashed

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Yarrow Slaps

January 18th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

A Picture of Me, acrylic on wood panel, 18″ x 24″, 2017

Casino, acrylic on canvas, 40″ x 50″, 2017


Fanism, oil and acrylic on canvas, 50″ x 55″, 2017

Escapism #1
, acrylic on wood …

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Accidental Critic Meets Accidental Curator

January 14th, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

Actress Molly Regan walked on stage carrying an object that looked a bit like a small, sterling silver coffee pot and declared, “I know what this is. But it took me 50 years to ask.”

Thus began a 90-minute tale

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Toon Musings: The First ‘Do

January 9th, 2018 | Artist Blog | No Comments

We storytelling cartoonists like to put our characters in their own immersive settings; thus, like any writer of fiction, we are often engaged in world-building. In order to get that creation right, one often must research a wide variety of

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Toon Musing: Christmas Carols

January 4th, 2018 | Artist Blog | No Comments

When the winter solstice rolls around, those inclined to celebrate Christmas generally tuck in with one or another version of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. What determines a celebrant’s preferred version? Everyone has his of her own reasons, from

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Music for Music: Joe Policastro Trio, Part 3

December 30th, 2017 | Music | No Comments


Joe Policastro Trio: Musical Inevitability

By Dan Ursini c2017

Telling the truth through music is central to the Joe Policastro Trio. Discovering that truth involves a felt sense of inevitability about both the song and the particular instrument used

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Music for Music: Joe Policastro Trio, Part 2

December 30th, 2017 | Music | No Comments

Joe Policastro Trio: Replicating the Voice

By Dan Ursini c2017

The members of The Joe Policastro Trio take on ambitious arranging projects and they have fresh ideas about how they do it. In an email interview, guitarist Dave Miller said:

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