Archives for posts with tag: fathers and sons


“That night, after the movie, driving my father’s car along the country roads, I began to wonder how real the landscape truly was, and how much of a dream is a dream.” Don DeLillo, AMERICANA

Photo: Candida Godson


For many years, novelist William Hazelgrove has had the privilege of writing in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace at 339 N. Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park, Illinois, where he was writer in residence. The result — Rocket Man, a novel released by Koehler Books in May 2013. 

Considering Rocket Man‘s impressive reviews, Hazelton has done Hemingway proud.

“Rocket Man is a charming tale of fatherhood, family, and the American Dream.” Midwest Book Review

“The funniest serious novel since Richard Russo’s Straight Man, rich with the epic levity of John Irving and salted with the perversion of Updike.” Chicago Sun Times

NOTE ABOUT THE BOOK FROM WILLIAM HAZELTON: Rocket Man was written after I moved to the suburbs from the city. I looked around and found myself and others unable to keep up with what had become the American Dream…the big car, house, basically the overheated middle class life that had become the American nightmare. When I became the Rocket Man for my son’s scout troop I knew I had a motif to write this novel about a man isolated in a world rapidly spinning out of control. Rocket Man is a story of our time. A man about to lose his home, trying desperately to hang on to what really matters in life. In this way, Rocket Man is really about us. Find the book at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Elliott Hazelgrove is the best-selling author of Ripples, Tobacco Sticks and Mica Highways. His novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, selected for Book of the Month Club, received ALA Editors Choice Awards, and have been optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence, where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace. His latest novel Rocket Man was chosen Book of the Year by He has been the subject of interviews in NPR’s All Things Considered and features in the New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Richmond Times Dispatch, USA Today, and People. Learn more at

by Len Roberts

My five-year-old son rides the twelve-volt
   yellow car into the field
of wildflowers, beeps his horn
at the cat who zigzags madly
   before him,
switches on and off the low-density
   lights, turning around
just once to see I am still
It doesn’t matter, though, he won’t
   step on the brake,
won’t swerve around the first tier’s
   slope, instead goes
over it, out into the fields
   of straight spruce, where,
as he veers in and out of the rows,
it’s clear how much he is the driver
   my father was, speeding
to eighty miles an hour at the upstate
   New York winter curves,
the madman who whirled the Golden Eagle
   truck onto Lake George
ice in early April, drove it the entire
length trying to make a perfect figure 8.
The one who never once told me to slow down,
   to go straight,
who gave me two of his last four dollars
   an hour before he died,
blowing wheels of smoke into the yellow
   kitchen air, singing
with Tommy Edwards, Please Love Me Forever
into the idling engine of the night.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Len Roberts (1947-2007) was an American poet and teacher. His awards include a National Poetry Series award (1988), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Award for poetry (1991), two awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and two Fulbright Scholar awards. His many poetry collections include Black Wings (1989), The Trouble-Making Finch (1998), The Silent Singer (2001), and The Disappearing Trick (2007).