(Mike's headshot taken by: Iwona Biedermann)
“When I read Mike Puican’s Central Air, I can feel Chicago in my bones like hot sidewalks and gridded streets. [...] Wherever you are, open these pages to find a map back to a place where the wind is ruler of everything it touches, a place that ‘twists its way into our hearts." - Tyehimba Jess, author of Ohio
"Mike Puican’s homage to that most relentless of cities is nothing less than revelatory, and the poetic landscape will have to shift in appreciation.” - Patricia Smith, author of Incendiary Art
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About Central Air: Set in the urban Chicago landscape, Central Air explores the human challenge of living with strong desires, limited knowledge, and no saving direction. The voices in this mix of elegies and soft litanies negotiate lives within the strangeness and unpredictability of each moment. In every case, language is a swift prayer, ode, and lyric. Chicago is an intensely experienced, blue-collar homeplace where injustice is a given. The poems are stern, compressed, and unsentimental. But they are also empathic to human shortcomings and doubts, scored in unobtrusive consistency in both voice and language.
Puican’s focus on the city, its people and underbellied spaces, pays homage in the tradition of the great Chicago masters: Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Campbell McGrath. This contemporary Chicago son finds his own place with lyrical integrity.
About Mike Puican: MIKE PUICAN has published poems in Poetry, Bloomsbury Review, Crab Orchard Review, and New England Review, among others. His work has also been featured on WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR affiliate. Puican was a member of the 1996 Chicago Slam Team and holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Warren Wilson College. As a longtime board member of the Guild Literary Complex in Chicago, he has been deeply involved in supporting and promoting other Chicago writers. He also leads poetry workshops at St. Leonard’s House for formerly incarcerated men and at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
About Rosellen Brown: ROSELLEN BROWN is the author of the novels Lake on Fire, Civil Wars, Half a Heart, Tender Mercies, Before and After, and six other books. Her stories have appeared frequently in O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories and Best Short Stories of the Century. She now teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and lives in Mr. Obama's neighborhood, overlooking Lake Michigan.