by Tom Vander Ven
Color illustrations by Cyndi Vander Ven and artists from the Mixel 1.0 community
paperback, 228 pages
In an eclectic collection of stories, plays, essays, and poems written over a number of years, Tom Vander Ven examines the various stages of life and the preoccupations particular to each. Vander Ven taught English at IU South Bend from 1967 to 2001, when he retired. Thus the collection draws on memories of work, love, and leisure alike, weaving them into a portrait of the author’s life along with the lives that touched and shaped it. In addition, the book is home to many color illustrations by Cyndi Vander Ven and other artists, adding a visual element by which readers share in the author’s journey through memories sometimes vivid and close, sometimes distant and ghostly.
From the Introduction by Joseph Chaney:
The title [Enter Ghost] is more than a reference to a literary convention, one that recalls, above all, the incipient event in Shakespeare’s Hamlet when the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears before the castle watchmen, Bernardo and Marcellus, and their compatriot Horatio, a skeptical scholar. In a collection that contains plays, but also stories, essays, and poems, Vander Ven shapes a unifying theme focused on a problem of time and memory, and of perception, that can be understood in ghostly terms. It is a haunted and haunting book, because it shows us the strangeness of our familiar lives – lives in which we ourselves sometimes move as ghosts through time.
About the author:
Tom Vander Ven taught American literature, creative writing, and the literature and history of the American Civil War at Indiana University South Bend until his retirement in 2001. He received an all-Indiana University Distinguished Teaching Award in 1985, and in 1991 he was named Indiana University South Bend’s Eldon Lundquist Faculty Fellow. Twelve of his plays have been produced regionally, and in 1999 he directed a revival of his 1985 historical play, Three Women: An Indiana Medley. Active for many years in the South Bend Civic Theatre, he directed The Night of the Iguana, Later Life, Shadowlands, and Seascape. His poems appear in the Michigan Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, South Dakota Review, Poetry Daily, and Beloit Poetry Journal. With Patrick Furlong he wrote A Campus Becoming: Lester M. Wolfson and Indiana University South Bend, 1964-1987 (Wolfson Press 2010).