The 6th Annual Chicago Book Expo


The 6th annual Chicago Book Expo
Sunday, October 1, noon-5pm
Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash

This fun event features 83 exhibitors and 21 free events, and this year includes the first Chicago Architecture Book Festival.
It’s a great opportunity for students to network with local publishers and nonprofit groups, and also to attend interesting events and workshops. The Expo is free and open to all, and will include free refreshments.
Speakers include Pamela Bannos discussing her new biography of street photography Vivian Maier, Eve Ewing and Nate Marshall, Third World Press founder Haki Madhubuti, National Book Award nominee Nancy MacLean, Jac Jemc, and many more.
The full schedule is available at

On the Mysterious Discovery and Publication of René Magritte: Selected Writings by Kathleen Rooney & Eric Plattner

by Albora Memushi
contributor to the the Underground

René François Ghislain Magritte, commonly known as René Magritte, is a renowned Belgian painter born in 1898. “The artist, the man, the aspiring noirist, the fire-breathing theorist”—in his own words.

On November the 2nd in DePaul’s Arts and Letters Hall, Kathleen Rooney and Eric Plattner hosted a reading of their co-edited book, René Magritte: Selected Writings (University of Minnesota Press and Alma Books, 2016).

The room filled with students and faculty, eager to hear and learn. Outside, the sky turned gray, and raindrops clattered on the windows. The Cubs will win tonight was the chatter that sparked around the room; many wore their Cubs jerseys. The Cubs are bound to make history  was the hope in many Chicagoans hearts.

This book project of Rene Magritte began about two years ago—at last the finished product is in hand and it is a marvelous work of art.

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press and a founding member of Poems While You Wait. She teaches English and Creative Writing at DePaul University and is the author of eight books of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, including the novel O, Democracy! and the novel in poems Robinson Alone. Her latest novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (St. Martin’s), will be published in January 2017.

Eric Plattner is an adjunct professor of writing, rhetoric and discourse at DePaul University.  A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, he has translated the works of Nelly Sachs, Ernst Toller, Georg Trakl and etc. He is a founding member of Chicago Collective, Poems While You Wait and a consulting editor at the Community Literacy Journal.

Rooney read an epigraph from a letter from poet Guy Rosey, with whom Magritte corresponded. “You are far from being the occasional writer you claim to be, but you are, in my eyes and in the eyes of many others, a poet who sheds an unforgettable light on himself and his painting.”

Plattner followed with another writing of Magritte, “Nausea Takes Me.” In this piece, Magritte speaks about the way that he perceives his paintings. He speaks about the fact that he places objects in places where we never would be able to encounter them. In the end, Magritte defends his style with one simple statement: “Neither modest nor proud, I’ve done what I thought I had to do.”

Rooney and Plattner shared other works of Magritte such as: “You,” “The Condemned Man,” “On Titles,” and “Magic Lines.”

For the final piece, Rooney and Plattner joined their voices as they read an aphorism by Magritte. “There are no idiots, there is only idiocy. Idiocy consists in believing you understand what you do not understand.  It’s demonstrated among other things, by the impossible pompous boring twaddle written about painting.”

 A round of applause filled the crowded room. For the rest of the event the crowd asked their questions.

Rooney stated that it took about two years to complete the book. The only typewritten copy of the book was translated by Jo Levy, but there were no printed books available. So, after a lot of emailing back and forth with different individuals, they finally found out that the book was supposed to come out in 1987, but the publishing company had folded. At last, the one copy that still survived was finally OCR-ed from France to Rooney. Thus, Rooney and Plattner got to work and started the journey of shaping and creating the manuscript into a publishable book.

A cool fact that I found out in regards to Magritte is that we share the same birthday month—he was born a day before me and 95 years ahead of my time. I enjoyed this particular reading, primarily because I’ve always been a Magritte fan (although I never knew that he was a poet and writer), but also because the work that Rooney and Plattner have done is exemplary and of the utmost importance, especially for fans or admirers of poetry, art and prose.

This event was possible due to Department of English Literary Studies Speaker Series. The Department will provide more readings throughout the academic year. Stay tuned for other events.

Sunday Salon Chicago

Stay warm with prose and poetry at
Sunday Salon Chicago

Sunday, November 20
7:00 P.M.
The Riverview Tavern
1958 Roscoe Ave.

The Readers:


Mary Hawley is a poet, novelist, and occasional translator. Her poetry collection Double Tongues was published by Tia Chucha Press. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies including Notre Dame Review, qarrtsiluni, Mudlark, and The Bloomsbury Review, and she was the co-translator of the bilingual poetry anthology Astillas de luz/Shards of Light (Tia Chucha Press). She is currently seeking an agent for her first novel, The Sparkle Experiment.


Maggie Kast’s first novel, A Free, Unsullied Land, was published by Fomite Press  in 2015. She is the author of The Crack between the Worlds: a dancer’s memoir of loss, faith and family, published by Wipf and Stock. She received an M.F.A. in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has published fiction in The Sun, Nimrod, Carve, Paper Street, Rosebud and others. Two stories have received Pushcart nominations. A chapter of her memoir, published in ACM/Another Chicago Magazine, won a Literary Award from the Illinois Arts Council. Her essays have appeared in America, Image, Writer’s Chronicle, Fiction Writers Review and elsewhere.


Mike Puican has had poems in Poetry, Michigan Quarterly Review, Bloomsbury Review, and New England Review, among others. His essays and reviews have appeared in TriQuarterly, Kenyon Review, Brevity, and MAKE Magazine. He won the 2004 Tia Chucha Press Chapbook Contest for his chapbook, 30 Seconds. Mike was a member of the 1996 Chicago Slam Team and for the past ten years has been president of the board of the Guild Literary Complex in Chicago.


Christine Sneed is the author of the novels Paris, He Said and Little Known Facts, and the story collections Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry and The Virginity of Famous Men, which was published in September 2016. Her stories or essays have been included in The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, New Stories from the Midwest, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Ploughshares, New England Review, and a number of other periodicals. Christine is the faculty director of Northwestern University’s MA/MFA program in creative writing; she is also on the fiction faculty of the Regis University low-residency MFA program.

A Celebration of the Short Story

by Albora Memushi
contributor to the Underground

On Thursday, October 13th, in Room 115 of the Richardson Library, students and professors prepared to begin A Celebration of the Short Story. Cupcakes, fruits, and sodas were displayed to the right of the room. As some ate a quick bite, others mingled with writers Christine Sneed and Kristin FitzPatrick or discussed the events of their day. The seats filled quickly, and some individuals had to stand up along the wall. The writers took their seats and the event began promptly at six in the evening.

The moderator gave a quick welcome and introduced both authors.

Christine Sneed teaches creative writing for the MFA programs at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. The Virginity of Famous Men is her fourth book. Other books include Little Known Facts, Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry, and Paris, He Said.

Kristin FitzPatrick is a DePaul alum and teaches at DePaul’s School for New Learning. Her debut book, My Pulse Is An Earthquake, is a collection of short stories that was published in 2015. Kristin was primarily a film student at DePaul, prior to switching her major to English.

FitzPatrick read “A New Kukla” from My Pulse Is An Earthquake. After a round of applause, Sneed introduced her new story collection The Virginity of Famous Men and read “Roger Weber Would Like To Stay.”

Another round of applause followed and the moderator invited the audience to ask their questions.

When asked about the ways teaching informs their writing, Sneed jumped in with a smile: “Teaching has made me a better writer.” FitzPatrick said, “Teaching and writing complement each other for me. I see myself as a student in my own class.”

Among other things, Sneed and FitzPatrick discussed the different ways their writing is influenced by film and Hollywood. Said Sneed, “Having unmediated experiences is often hard to come by. Having a chance to write fiction, or nonfiction or a poem, you enter a part of your brain that is informed by fantasies.”

Being an English major, I adored this event. I always look forward to such events to learn and explore the different possibilities that are available for English majors. Within an hour we were introduced to two new wonderful books and we learned some of the ins and outs of being a writer.

Kristin FitzPatrick and Christine Sneed were most kind as they shared their own experiences in the publishing world with the audience and joyfully gave us advice on how to be persistent in creating our paths as writers.