Fiction Weekly Spotlight #1
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It’s an honor to showcase poet Michael Dickel in the first ever Fiction Weekly Spotlight. I thank him for the faith he’s showing by participating and placing his good name in my hands. I also thank him for his wonderful work, not only as a writer and poet, but as a teacher and historian. He does more than entertain his readers. He uses his gift of writing and storytelling to document our world and the many different people and places in it.
He chooses to document our present condition and put in writing the lives of the people affected by it and how it effects the lives of others. His journalistic poetry and storytelling makes me aware that he is here with us, but somehow outside looking in, which brings me directly to his book:
“War Surrounds Us,” a poetry collection he wrote during the Israel-Hamas conflict in the summer of 2014. The poems evoke a resistance to the violence all around, and make acute observations of its effects on family and daily life – from the provocations before, through the disruptions of rockets falling on Jerusalem and devastating loss of human life during attacks on Gaza, and past the line of failed cease fires to an uneasy truce.
A Bit of Biography for Dr. Dickel
Michael Dickel grew up outside of Chicago, where he began writing young. His first recognition came as a co-winner of the Glen Ellyn Jr. High School Poetry Contest; early poems appeared in the Glenbard West literary magazine, Early Wine, of which he became one of the editorial triumvirate in his Junior Year. He moved to Minnesota before his Senior year, graduating high school in St. Louis Park and continuing for a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He continued to write during a decade of working in various youth work, counseling, and other psych-related jobs. He married and his first child was born also during that decade.He returned to graduate school, where he obtained a master’s degree in creative writing (with dual foci on poetry and fiction) and a doctorate in literature. His second daughter was born during his studies. He taught literature, creative writing, and composition (academic writing), and directed two writing centers in the next phase of his life, also divorcing. A little over ten years ago, he moved to Jerusalem, Israel, re-married, and had two more children. In Israel, Michael mostly writes, but also teaches English (mostly language, but also other courses, which have included media literacy, literature, academic writing, and creative writing).
While individual creative works started appearing in small presses from 1987, his first book didn’t come out until after he moved to Israel, The World Behind It, Chaos…(WV? eBook Press, Chicago, 2009). He self-published his second poetry book, Midwest / Mid-East (Lulu 2012). His third collection of poetry, War Surrounds Us (2015), and first collection of flash fiction, The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden (2016), came out from a micro press project with his friend and fellow poet, Gary Lundy—Is a Rose Press (Montana and Minnesota). His most recent poetry book is a chapbook, Breakfast at the End of Capitalism (Locofo Chaps, an imprint of Moria Poetry, Illinois). Along the way, his work has been translated into several languages, he is an active organizer with 100 Thousand Poets for Change, and has organized readings and literary events on three continents. Michael also has served as a literary editor—from the book review section of The Minnesota Daily in the 1990s, to online and print journals, to his current position as contributing editor of The BeZine.
Listen as Michael Recites “Nothing Remembers”
Hear the Dissonance by Michael Dickel
Read a review of “The World Behind it, Chaos” by The Open Press
Two Michael Dickel Books Free Online
Michael has two books online you can read for free. The first is an online chapbook titled “Then Strains to Follow” and the second a downloadable PDF titled “Breakfast at the End of Capitalism,” which I am enjoying very much at the moment and think you should be too.
“Writing well means never having to say, ‘I guess you had to be there.’ ”
— Jef Mallett
No matter, how much I want to place Dr. Dickel’s work into a box and neatly describe him as a Poet Journalist, the words of Edwin Arlington Robinson come to mind:
“Poetry has two outstanding characteristics. One is that it is undefinable. The other is that it is eventually unmistakable.” — Edwin Arlington Robinson, winner of the the First Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
From the dawn of communication, many have put verse to words, capturing our imagination by describing fictitious and fantastical worlds, incredulous cities, and impossible deeds of men and women born by gods. But, it’s few who dare to lay on page the efforts and actions of the modern man and outline for better or worse his plight or privilege.
I say few because out of the nearly 8 billion people living today, the number is quite insignificant. So, when writers like Michael Dickel write poetry and stories in a way that humanity can get a get a clear glimpse of itself, I believe we should seek out their words and read them until they become truly unmistakable.
What to expect in 2019:
Finishing Line Press has agreed to publish Nothing Remembers, a collection of poetry by Michael Dickel (editor / publisher of this blogZine). Coming in Summer 2019…
A Submission Call:
If you do more than enjoy great stories and poetry, you might like to submit to Michael Dickel’s Blogzine Meta/ Phor(e) /Play.
Here you can read the submission guidelines.