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Local Book Notes: Lemony Snicket & The Coffin Haulers

1. Lemony Snicket Does Poetry.

"The September 2013 issue of Poetry magazine features a portfolio of 20 poems selected and annotated by children's author Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) and illustrated by Caldecott Award-winning artist Chris Raschka.

"The portfolio, entitled Poetry Not Written for Children That Children Might Nevertheless Enjoy, is, according to Snicket, a collection of poems 'all strange in some way, because all great literature is strange, the way all good slides are slippery.' Snicket's portfolio was born out of what might have otherwise been an unfortunate event.

Some time ago I found myself locked in the basement of the Poetry Foundation building . . . The basement is crammed with the efforts of poets living and dead, famed and forgotten, terrific and terrible . . . By the time it was safe for me to emerge, blinking, onto the streets of Chicago, I had gathered together the poems you now find here.
"Lemony Snicket is best known for A Series of Unfortunate Events. The second in his new series, All the Wrong Questions, is forthcoming in October 2013 and is called When Did You See Her Last?

"Handler first wrote for Poetry in January 2011.

"Poetry magazine and the Chicago Humanities Festival present Daniel Handler on Friday, November 1, at 6 p.m. at Francis W. Parker School.

"The September issue of Poetry also includes poems by W.S. Di Piero, Eliza Griswold and Maureen N. McLane; a notebook from Kay Ryan; and a review of Jonathan Galassi from Frederick Seidel."

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2. Inspiration.

"Poets meet muse at the September installment of our monthly bilingual poetry series, Palabra Pura, curated by Irasema Gonzalez and featuring poets Diana Pando and Xánath Caraza.

"'Inspiration' takes place Wednesday, September 18 at 7:30 p.m. at La Bruquena restaurant, 2726 W. Division. The program will be spoken in English and Spanish. Admission is free.

"The dynamic between artist and inspiration is at times a lovely dance and at others a bitter duel. Join us as we discover how two poets responded when Federico Garcia Lorca's version of duende, "that mysterious power that everyone feels but no philosopher can explain," extended a hand for a dance on the page."

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3. The Coffin Haulers.

"A crisp, October evening in 1974: As an attractive Polish immigrant walks the deserted streets of Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, she's filled with hope about her future. In a few hours she's found murdered in a gangway. It's a crime the police pursue without much interest, but for private detective Joey Boloccini it represents a chance to break the monotony of his fledgling career and achieve the success that's eluded him.

"At the heart of the mystery is the Pilsudski family - Anton, Mamie, Walter and Marek - known as The Coffin Haulers for the humiliating, low-paying job they perform. Yet no one is aware, especially the police, of how wealthy they are. The Pilsudskis have a family secret: It's not hauling coffins that bring in money, but what's inside them."

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4. Which Books Did Rahm Emanuel Supposedly Read This Summer?

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on September 4, 2013


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