Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bowling for Christmas and Other Tales from the Road by Mark Dvorak

Here's more about folksinger Mark Dvorak, who plays at many venues in the Chicago area, including libraries. He also writes poetry and essays. When he played at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library in September, he brought along copies of Bowling for Christmas and Other Tales from the Road. He sold them along with his CDs after the concert.

I got my copy weeks later by mail, when I had several other books to finish. When I caught up, I settled in and read the entertaining personal essays and poems over several days. They are much like Dvorak between songs in concert - pleasantly conversational. He speaks thoughtfully and with humor. He also tells good stories that illustrate the life of a full time folksinger who will go wherever he is hired. Most of the stories took place close to home, but he also made trips to Nebraska, West Virginia, and Finland.

Because a listener expressed interest in Dvorak's rendition of Lead Belly's "The Bourgeois Blues," Dvorak sent us a personally burned copies of his special tribute concert to the folk legend. The text from that concert is also in Bowling for Christmas and is called "Chasing the Great Lead Belly."

The essay that lends its title to the collection is the next to the last piece. In it, Dvorak tells about the people he met at a holiday concert in a nursing home. It bears rereading during the upcoming holidays.

Dvorak, Mark. Bowling for Christmas and Other Tales from the Road. Denim Press, 2013. 120p. ISBN 9781619276819.

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