Dances with summer lightning 

The flashes in the night sky are imaginations heating up, sparks of inspiration setting off into the unknown with only a backpack of vocabulary, a syntactical map (sometimes ignored for a trek off the beaten path) and a few tools of the trade: a Mac or a PC for the postmodernists, a ball point or good old No. 2 pencil for the back-country roughnecks out there. Images and characters sprout like flora and fauna in notebooks, on bar napkins, in the margins of a novel or the vast expanse of a Word file. MT’s Summer Fiction 2001 has harvested submissions from more than 100 area writers to glean the excellent stories and poems on these pages. The impressive entries this year (as always) took our judges on a long march of difficult decision-making, but here at last are the results.

The judges

Sifting through this year’s crop were four metro-Detroit professional writers with extensive backgrounds in poetry, prose fiction and playwriting, each representing a different approach to invention and craft.

Ron Allen, poet, playwright, teacher and seminarian, is the author of two books of poetry. His most recently produced plays are Dreaming the Reality Room Yellow and Eye Mouth Graffiti Body Shop.

Lynn Crawford’s latest novel, Simply Separate People, is due this fall from Black Square Editions. Her critical writings appear in Art in America and Book Forum magazines.

Poet, prose writer and playwright Carla Harryman is the author of 11 books, including the recent experimental novels, The Words: After Carl Sandburg’s Rootabaga Stories and Jean-Paul Sartre and Gardener of Stars, the latter due this fall from Atelos.

Glen Mannisto is a poet and art critic whose articles appear regularly in New Art Examiner and the Metro Times. His books of poetry include We Knew It and Head (forthcoming in 2002).

The artists

The painting shown at left is from an ongoing series focusing on tornadoes by Detroit artist Gilda Snowden, who teaches painting at the Center for Creative Studies. Her solo exhibition at the Saginaw Art Museum opens in May 2002 and her collaborations with William Boswell’s translations of Lorca’s Romancero Gitano will be shown at the Cass Cafe in December 2002.

The mixed-media piece, “Lucky Numbers,” also on this page is by Detroit painter Matthew Hanna. His recent works were featured as one-half of the opening show at Grey Gallery in downtown Detroit.

Special prize

The association between MT’s Summer Fiction Issue and the Walloon Writers’ Retreat (at Michigania on Walloon Lake) continues this year with the award of a guest enrollment for the fall session to one of our selected writers. This year’s red-carpet treatment goes to prose writer Shelley Keller, whose story (“Across the Moat”) appears exclusively online. She will take part in the third annual weekend of workshops, panel discussions and readings with authors Joyce Maynard, Michael Moore, Terry Wooten et al.

Our parting advice

Remember, if a bolt of inspiration hits you, just keep saying "it's only a vision, it's only a vision" and you'll be OK.

Read all of this this year's imaginative stories and poems ... by returning to the Summer Fiction 2001 home page.

George Tysh is the Metro Times arts editor. E-mail him at

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