Ghetto Medic continues to receive praise!

“Bill Hennick is an unsung hero in the history of Baltimore and in the battle against racism and segregation in the South . . . [A] remarkable story . . . vividly told.”

—Lee Gutkind, Author and Editor, Creative Nonfiction Magazine

“If H. L. Mencken were here he would say, ‘go out immediately and buy a copy of Ghetto Medic,’ for nobody knew more than Mencken about story telling, language refinement, or the city of Baltimore . . . This book is an absorbing tale, beautifully written.”

—Dennis Smith, author of the bestseller Report From Engine Co. 82

“Simply a great American story. It’s not about race. It’s about humanity.”

—Mark Cottman, Artist and Poet

These are just a few of the praises being sung for Rachel Hennick’s Ghetto Medic. BrickHouse Books has been proud and honored to experience this work’s success, and you can learn more about  Hennick and her captivating story by clicking the image below!

Baltimore Sun Ad Mark Cottman copy



10th annual CityLit Festival schedule posted

Every April, CityLit Project and Pratt Library have presented world famous writers; critically acclaimed poets; Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners; the region’s very best literary artists; and hundreds of journals, organizations, and self-published authors in the Literary Marketplace.

The CityLit project serves to enhance support and enthusiasm among diverse audiences as well as young people for the literary arts in the Baltimore area. Through public events, collaboration, publishing, and workshops CityLit opens opportunities as well as discussion.

This year’s special guest is fiction author George Saunders, and other headliners include Dick Allen and Stanley Plumly for poetry as well as Jamal Joseph for nonfiction.

10th Annual CityLit Festival

Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
April 13, 2013
10am – 5pm

Questions: or 410.274.5691

CityLit Project and Creative Alliance Present a CityLit WriteShop

Smile! Your Mind is a Candid Camera (Literary Nonfiction)

If all art is a reflection on the human condition, then literary nonfiction, especially personal essays and memoir writing, are a paramount art. Our stories can illuminate truths about our community, our cultures, and mankind. For this personal essay writing course, we’ll discuss what’s happened in our lives and what we’ve witnessed, and how that affects our stories. Literary journal editor and well-published literary nonfiction author, Dario DiBattista, will foster these conversations and lead the course.

The course will run from 7 to 9 p.m. March 21, March 28, April 4, and April 11.

To register, click here!


Creative Alliance at The Patterson
3134 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224
For information, call CityLit Project at 410-274-5691.

Nancy Norris-Kniffin review of Ride a Bright and Shining Pony

Elisabeth Steven’s latest novel, Ride a Bright and Shining Pony, is a tour de force on all levels—cultural,  psychological, and philosophical.  An accomplished artist and poet, Stevens enhances her book’s themes with original etchings and metaphoric language.

The plot revolves around the historical march in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963, when women and men of all colors joined together peacefully to advocate for jobs and justice.  The dream of brotherhood, however, was turned to nightmare in Stevens’ novel when individual blacks and whites shot each other, and a mob marched to the local police station, where two innocent blacks had been jailed.

In that mob was Cynthia, the white protagonist and first-person narrator, who came to Washington less for the march toward racial equality than her personal march toward marriage with her lover, Lester, a liberal Southerner reporting for a Washington newspaper.  His hypocrisy is exposed when he believes that his best (black) friend is flirting with Cynthia and his best (white) friend has been murdered by a black.

Cynthia’s movement toward maturity is measured in small steps as she tries to understand her prior marriage, current affair, and relationships in general between the races.  She comes to realize that even when—and however—love and trust are lost, there remains hope, embodied in the lullaby which Lester sang to her and which provides lines for the novel’s title.

The etchings that preface the novel and divide its two parts are rich with classical allusion, fairytale-like grotesquerie, and the complex psychology of anger terrified and depressed by its own force.

Steven’s novel portrays not only an historic moment in American history, but also the ancient conflict of good and evil, as expressed by Cynthia’s insight about moral challenges:  “The old patterns to be discarded were more than reactionary laws and narrow-mindedness.  They encompassed a cruel, murky malevolence, an obdurate stain infecting blacks and whites alike.”

Nancy Norris-Kniffin, director emerita of the Johns Hopkins University MLA Program, received her BA in English from Wellesley College and PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania.  Topics for her courses include the American short story, Faulkner’s fiction, evil in literature, Southern women writers, and modern Irish literature. She also teaches in two non-credit programs at Hopkins: Odyssey and the Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning (formerly Evergreen Society).

Leon H. Gildin review of Yiddish Genesis

When I was asked by the editor of Prof. Richard J. Fein’s collection of essays, Yiddish Genesis, to review the work, I was hesitant to do so in that the editor would not tell me anything about the material. Since it was written by a professor I felt that I did not have the scholastic background to judge writing that might be beyond my comprehension. Nevertheless, when the work was received it did not take me long to decide that I was competent to review it because it became obvious that Prof. Fein was a man who wanted to live the life that I had lived.

If the truth be known I did become literally frightened after reading the Preface. If the rest of the essays were going to be in the incomprehensible language of the Preface I would be in trouble. Permit me to quote: “Whatever the conceptions and chimeras that rove here, I ride them to travel more deeply into Yiddish and Genesis.” The Preface then ends with the following sentence: “To adapt the Chagallian image, I eye the horse that eyes me in my village of memory and reading.” That’s tough stuff to understand.

In my opinion this collection of essays should have been published separately. I find little connection between them other than the fact that they are bound together in one book. The Yiddish portion of the book deals with two basic issues. The first is the author’s regret that he came to Yiddish so late in life. Having been brought up in a Yiddish speaking home and having lived and enjoyed a Yiddish secular life, I understand Professor Fein’s regret. From a reader’s point of view, however, the same regret is expressed in almost every essay and while it may have been relevant at the time the essay was written, it does become a bit repetitive.

The second issue which is gone into in depth is the question of translations, more particularly the translation of Yiddish poetry. I understand Prof. Fein’s emotional attachment to the issue having done poetry translation for many years as a matter of personal achievement and having had many of them published. The essay, “The Companion-Translator,” correctly states: “The task of translators is to capture, in their language, what the poem possess in the original.” Prof. Fein has done just that in the few examples of his translations that appear in the essays. There is, however, a very serious omission. Prof. Fein writes at great length about the works of H. Leivick and cites a translated portion of one of Leivick’s poems that happens to be in free verse. I am sure that it will make Prof. Fein jealous to learn that from the earliest days of my life up to today, my oldest friend is Leivik’s son and I spent many a supper at Leivick’s home (speaking Yiddish, of course). I am more than familiar with Leivick’s body of work and it is fair to say that ninety five percent of it is in rhyme. So now we come to the real issue of translation that Prof. Fein does not deal with. If the original is in rhyme then the translation should be in rhyme. The rhyme, in many instances, dictates the meter. If the translator ignores these elements then his work is nothing more than a poem, in English, on the same subject as the Yiddish poem that he attempted to translate.

And now we go to Genesis. The reason I feel there is no connection between the two sets of essays is the fact that, although there exists a translation of the TANAKH, The Five Books of Moses by Yehoash, a truly monumental work, and although Prof. Fein chooses a line here or there in English and shows how it appears in translation, the connection is, at best, tenuous. His essays on Genesis are learned and if published separately would be just as learned and just as unrelated to Yiddish and to the translation of poetry.

Yiddish Genesis is a scholarly work and, as I said in the first paragraph of this review I am not a scholar.

Leon H. Gildin is a retired lawyer who was active in the Yiddish secular world of New York and now resides in Arizona. He is the author of the following books: You Can’t Do Business (Or Most Anything Else) Without Yiddish, Hippocrene Books, New York, 2000; The Polski Affair, Diamond River Books, Canada, winner of the 2010 International Book Awards for historical fiction, 2009; and the sequel, The Family Affair, Diamond River Books, Canada, 2011.

The Arts Fuse reviews of Yiddish Genesis and B’KLYN

“The brief, jewel-like essays of Richard J. Fein’s Yiddish Genesis touch on the Jewish short story, translation, poetry, and the Old Testament. The collection, spanning 1968 to 2010, signals the two dominant sources of inspiration for Fein’s work as a poet-translator: the Yiddish language and the Book of Genesis. The title is nearly an oxymoron, as Genesis is origins and creation, while Fein’s beloved Yiddish is shadowed everywhere by death, destruction and disappearance.”

So begins Susan de Sola Rodstein’s recent review of Yiddish Genesis in The Arts Fuse.

Of Fein’s book B’KLYN, she states that “the wonder of this volume is the capacity of Fein’s work to contain a palimpsest of encounters and a lifetime of reading and re-readings. He gives us the gift of a truth that must be lived to be known: that things do not happen only once but resonate in many directions through time.”

For the full reviews, click here.