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MAKE – 2005

Though the editors of Make magazine cite Chicago literary patriarch Nelsen Algren as their inspiration, you don’t have to be a Chicagoan to be in Make’s debut issue. Though the editors of Make magazine cite Chicago literary patriarch Nelsen Algren as their inspiration, you don’t have to be a Chicagoan to be in Make’s debut issue. Interviewee Marvin Bell (the first Poet Laureate of Iowa) neither resides in nor writes about the “City on the Make.” But he says he loves it. In Aaron Michael Morales’s short story, “El Camino”, a couple of Latin Kings grudgingly run to the rescue of a mother who’s El Camino has caught fire, her baby still strapped inside. Sound like a contemporary Outsiders? It’s better; more honest, less sentimental. Frank Mort Jr.’s excerpt evokes the Outsiders as well, by reminiscing about the delineation between Greasers (cool) and Dupers (not cool). In Don DeGrazia’s indignant essay, “A Story I was Telling Downtown Audiences a Couple Years Ago,” he sifts through the complex web of racism in the city while witnessing a black friend’s cousin’s innocence trammeled by the legal system. DeGrazia gets racism from all sides: “Do I sound pissed? A black man tried to murder my girlfriend because she was white.” Hillman’s bruised poetry, “Hard knock streets, this city,” compliments Steffie Drewes poetry-as-pun. Her “As far as we go” twists clichés and idioms and buzz phrases, “The nineteen-eighties called it tickle-frown ebonics.” Nearly flawlessly edited, Make’s blend of fiction, essay, poetry, artwork and interviews reminded me of The Sun. Except Make is grittier, hungrier and Chicago enough to accept advertising. Makes this Chicagoan proud.
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