May 2010


Humble Honest Men

by Bob Dye, Class of 1951 A dozen years in the writing, Bob Dye's first novel, Humble Honest Men (Watermark Publishing, May 2009) tells the story of Hawaiian native Kapala Dolan who moves to Kinsale, Ireland, and becomes embroiled in the historical controversy surrounding the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania and her mysterious cargo. Humble Honest Men is a tale of two cultures based on the fascinating similarities between Hawaii and Ireland. Dye's late wife, Tessa, suggested writing a novel to help pass the time in sleepy Kinsale, where their family has a home. Bob is a celebrated writer-historian in Honolulu, his current residence. He is also the author of Merchant Prince of the Sandalwood Mountains: Afong and the Chinese in Hawaii (University of Hawai'i Press). A frequent contributor to Honolulu Magazine, he also edited three volumes of Hawai'i Chronicles (University of Hawai'i Press) and wrote an occasional political column for The Honolulu Advertiser newspaper. Bob Dye died in February in Hawaii. His death was widely reported there.
Up the Rouge! (audio book) and other titles

by Joel Thurtell, Class of 1967 The Library of Michigan in December 2009 named Up the Rouge! (BeLight, May 2009) a Michigan Notable Book for 2010. Thurtell is the author; photos are by Patricia Beck. Thurtell has now produced an audio-book of Rouge that's interspersed with actual sounds recorded during a five-day canoe paddle on the River he took in 2005. Sounds include the roar of blast furnaces on Zug Island, scolding of redwing blackbirds, and gunfire from the Detroit Police Department's shooting range. ("We learned later that bullets were indeed being shot towards the river," said Thurtell.) The 4-CD, 5-hour audio set can be ordered from and Thurtell will also soon release Shoestring Reporter: How I Got to Be a Big City Reporter without Going to J School, and How You Can Do It, Too, based on his long career as a reporter with the Detroit Free Press. But first, look for two more books by Thurtell recently re-released through Hardalee Press, which he founded. Plug Nickel is a collection of essays based on the restoration of his wooden sailboat. Seydou's Christmas Tree is a true story from Thurtell's Peace Corps days in Togo, West Africa, when he and his wife learned an important lesson about Christmas from a young Muslim friend. Both books are available from and other Internet book retailers. "Besides all this, I'm fine-tuning a sequel to Up the Rouge!" he said.
Losing Kei

by Suzanne (Borsum) Kamata, Class of 1987 Losing Kei tells the story of Jill Parker, an American landscape painter living in Japan, a "fish out of water" who makes ends meet as a lowly bar hostess. When she falls in love with Yusuke, a savvy and sensitive gallery owner, she begins to feel she might finally be accepted in her strange and beautiful adopted culture. But among the myriad subtleties so easily overlooked by a foreigner, she discovers that in Japan, being the first-born denotes far more than order of birth. Yusuke is the chonan, an eldest son, responsible for the extended family's well-being and the upholding of tradition. Sparks fly when this contemporary American-born woman is likewise expected to assume the role of servile Japanese wife and live under the watchful eye of Okaasan, Yusuke's mother, the mother-in-law from hell. Even the long-anticipated birth of a son, Kei, fails to assuage their difficulties. Divorce is certainly an option. But in Japan a foreigner doesn't necessarily have rights to custody and Jill must choose between personal freedom and abandoning her child. Kamata is also the author of Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering, a collection of essays that explore cross-cultural families. Read more about Kamata and her writing at
Truth in Shadows

by Maggie Catchick, Class of 1991 Truth in Shadows [Orchard Beach Press, May 2009] is a collection of personal poems that explore the dual lives we all lead as we battle for balance between our public lives and our private truths. Maggie is a high school French and English teacher in Cheboygan, Michigan. Her poetry has also appeared in White Crow, Bear River Review, and Northern Stars magazines and has been honored by the Sky Blue Waters Poetry League and at the Gildner Gallery's juried theme exhibitions. Originally from East Grand Rapids, she received a Master's degree in the Humanities from Central Michigan University. Truth is illustrated by Chicago-born, northern Michigan transplant Barbara Jeanne Hoff.
Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open

by Diane Seuss Diane Seuss' poems grow out of the fertile soil of southwest Michigan, bursting any and all stereotypes of the Midwest and turning loose characters worthy of Faulkner in their obsession, their suffering, their dramas of love and sex and death. The first section of Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open (University of Massachusetts Press, 2010) pays homage to the poet's roots in a place where the world hands you nothing and promises less, so you are left to invent yourself or disappear. From there these poems both recount and embody repeated acts of defiant self-creation in the face of despair, loss, and shame, and always in the shadow of annihilation. With darkly raucous humor and wrenching pathos, Seuss burrows furiously into liminal places of no dimension - state lines, lakes' edges, the space "between the 'm' and the 'e' in the word amen." Writes Seuss, "We receive beauty as a nail receives/the hammer blow." This is the poetry that comes only after the white dress has been blown open - the poetry of necessity, where a wild imagination is the only hope. Winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry, Diane Seuss is writer-in-residence at Kalamazoo College. Her first poetry collection, It Blows You Hollow, was published in 1998 by New Issues Press. Her poems have been published in several anthologies and in many literary magazines, including Poetry, New Orleans Review, North American Review, and The Georgia Review.

Back to Front Page

Add Your Comment

Please give us your name (required) and class year if applicable

Email (required but not shared)

Please enter the letters and/or numbers appearing below