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It's been a great month of literature in northern Illinois. We featured an interview with Ron Modell, founder of the NIU Jazz Ensemble, about his memoir, Loved Bein' Here With You. We also heard from Katie Andraski, who mined her experience as a publicist in the Christian publishing industry for her novel, The River Caught Sunlight. And Rockford poet Jesus Correa rattled some listeners with his edgy new book, Iced Cream.Our series wrapped up Monday, Feb. 23, with Vintage Attraction, Charles Blackstone's novel about love, wine and marriage. The story is about a professor, Peter Hapworth, who falls for a TV wine expert named Isabelle Conway. We follow their whirlwind courtship from the bars and restaurants of Chicago, to the Kohler Wine and Food Experience in Wisconsin, to the loft condo that's a sieve of distractions, giving little peace for the newly weds. Finally, on the Greek Island of Santorini, wine becomes a symbol of their efforts to save their marriage.If you talk about these books or authors on social media, we encourage you to use #WNIJReadWithMe.

Poems To Read Aloud (When Kids Aren't Around)

Performance artist. Visual artist. World's Best Dishwasher.

These are just a few of the things Jesus Correa lists on his website. He also ran for Mayor of Rockford, getting nearly 400 votes in 2009.

More recently, Correa released a book of poetry after a successful Kickstarter campaign. The collection, Iced Cream, is published by Zombie Logic, a firm that bills itself as "The most dangerous small press in America."

While not exactly dangerous, Correa's poems fit the publisher's profile of "dadaist, surrealist, Outsider, and Outlaw poetry." Here are the opening stanzas of a poem called "go":

go away fly...i don't want to kill you...i just want it to stop...the buzzing above my head...and it irritates certain nerves... i can feel them...beneath my skull...on top of my brain...right where the fly is buzzing...some primal tingle...and the fly sensing my agitation...buzzes louder...circles harder. and so i eat peanuts. i shove them there in my mouth, the mouth that does not move to make words, because there is no one here to hear them. guttural grunts, i make those, i go urgh, and ugh, i make those sorts of noises. i cough, and i sneeze, and i clear my throat, guttural noises, nothing akin to logic, or syntax. no nouns or verbs, just the oh, and the uhm, and the wheezes, and the chewing of peanuts, and the buzzing of flies.

The above poem is a good example of Correa's writing style which, despite being surreal, is plain spoken. If you like reading poetry aloud, in full voice, you'll appreciate the lean lines. It's the kind of writing you'd expect from someone who's used to reading in public; Correa performs monthly as comedian and storyteller.

If you do read Correa's poems aloud, you might want to make sure children are out of earshot; many of the poems in Iced Cream contain adult language.

"I just put this out there," Correa says, "and if it makes people uncomfortable, it's just kinda what happens."

Morning Edition interview (Feb. 16, 2015).

In an interview with WNIJ, Correa reveals the artist who most inspired him -- one that might surprise you. That's part of the conversation you'll hear in the link above.

Correa is also a singer-songwriter who performs in two bands, an outlaw country and western outfit called King of the Demons, and a one-man electronic band called "los osos voladores." Here's one of his recent recordings:

Jesus Correa performs his song "Paint Your Lips Red."

Credit Dan Klefstad
Jesus Correa, author of `Iced Cream.'

Next Monday, Feb. 23, the 2015 Winter Book Series concludes with Vintage Attraction, a novel by Charles Blackstone. Listen during Morning Edition at 6:52 and 8:52, and then come back here for more information -- including an author excerpt.

Good morning, Early Riser! Since 1997 I've been waking WNIJ listeners with the latest news, weather, and program information with the goal of seamlessly weaving this content into NPR's Morning Edition.
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