Jack Driscoll Book Party  |  Horizon Books
Saturday, February 18, 5:30-8:00 p

If you’ve ever met Jack Driscoll, you know that he is one of the kindest, most interesting people you could meet, possessing a sense of personal and artistic integrity that I’ve always marveled at. He has just published a new book of fiction (by our friends at Wayne State University press) that is garnering rave reviews nationwide, and he’s embarking on a big book tour to talk about The World Of A Few Minutes Ago.

Jack’s book party takes place this Saturday, February 18, 5:30-8:00 PM, at Horizon Books. This is the first major book tour Jack’s done in quite awhile– in fact, I don’t think he’s ever come into Traverse City to do a solo reading. This is a once-in-a-decade chance to meet and hear one of America’s great prose stylists. His book of short stories is beautiful. If you want to see Michigan and the Midwest up close, in all its humor and poignancy, get Jack’s book. He has written novels, short stories, and poems and won major awards for all of these. But this book, The World Of A Few Minutes Ago, has received some of his biggest reviews and endorsements. It’s the kind of book you carry around and read aloud from. Jack started his writing career as a poet and every sentence he writes matters, effortlessly.

I’ve known Jack since high school, when he was my first writing teacher at Interlochen Arts Academy (from which he recently retired after 30-plus years of teaching there). I still remember the lecture he gave about Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, or about a W.D. Snodgrass poem, or the introduction he made to us (our class of high school freshmen– freshmen!) with poet Gary Snyder, when Gary Snyder appeared in our class as a visiting writer. Jack’s teaching changed my life as a young writer, as well as the lives of hundreds of other poets, fiction writers, memoirists, editors– you name it. His former students have spread out across the U.S. and are working today. All of this was possible because of Jack’s brilliance as writer. He is also one of the best readers of his own work that you will hear.

I remember standing under the M-22 bridge with Jack on more nights than I can count, fishing for steelhead trout. I often didn’t know what I was doing back then, but he was patient– and a lot of fun. We’d wade out in the deep pools down by the river mouth, where the Platte River enters Lake Michigan, and fish until dawn and then drive back through the village of Honor, Michigan, and stop at Money’s restaurant for breakfast. It all seems like another time, and it is, pre-Facebook– we said little, no one knew where we were. It’s amazing how powerful silence can be. Jack’s readings– and I’ve heard them– are filled with dramatic moments when quiet, private people do surprising things at the last minute.

This book party is also a homecoming of sorts for Jack, as he and Lois Driscoll, his wife (presently a much-loved history teacher at Interlochen Arts Academy), took part in the “book brigade” when Horizon moved to their present location in 1993, which I’m told involved people passing books hand to hand across Front Street and into the new building. Come down Saturday night, February 18, to the store and welcome them back!

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