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Hudson native pens third book, collection of short stories

by SOPHIE KRUSE | Reporter Published: August 13, 2014 12:00 AM
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A former Hudson resident is making her mark in the form of words.

Garnett Kilberg Cohen, a Hudson native and a Hudson High School graduate who has lived in Chicago for the past 20 years, will be releasing her third book, "Swarm to Glory," on Sept. 5.

Currently, she is a creative writing professor at Columbia College Chicago.

Cohen has been writing ever since she was a young girl, where she would make small newspapers for her neighborhood. She was inspired to write by her mother's parents, who were both writers.

"I liked Harriet the Spy," said Cohen of the books she read as a girl. "As I kid, I loved how observant she was."

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Now, her inspirations include Flannery O'Connor, Alice Munro and Joan Didion. Like Didion, Cohen began as a journalist, and wrote for the Hudson Times for two years.

"Swarm to Glory" is her third published collection of short stories, all which revolve around the theme of endings -- from the ends of life, relationships and even a haircut.

"One story is about a woman who has hair down below her knees and gets it cut," she said. "It's a big ending for her."

However, there's another theme that would be especially interesting to Hudsonites.

"Most of the stories take place in the Midwest. A few of them definitely take place in Ohio," said Cohen. "Especially, many of the stories from the children's perspective, because that's the land of my birth and the land of my memories."

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While most of the stories are inspired specifically as the stories background setting, a few have specific pieces of the area in them. One of the stories features a large church -- inspired by the Cathedral of Tomorrow located in Cuyahoga Falls. The Cathedral was home to Rex Humbard, a popular television evangelist.

"That story came partly because of knowing about that big church," said Cohen.

There are 11 stories in the collection, and all but two were previously published in literary magazines.

"Swarm to Glory' is the name from the first story in the collection," Cohen said. "It's metaphorical, it's not really literal, but it kind of means 'do you pull yourself together and rise to the situation when something ends or do you kind of fall apart.' I like things to play with language and be somewhat lyrical and not necessarily straightforward."

"Swarm to Glory," published by Wiseblood Books, is preceded by "Lost Women, Banished Souls," published by University of Missouri Press and "How We Move The Air," published by Mayapple Press. Both previous titles are also collections of short stories.

Cohen's work has received a variety of different accolades, including the Crazyhorse National Fiction Prize in 2004 and a notable essay citation from Best American Essays 2011. Cohen's stories have appeared in many different magazines, including The Literary Review, American Fiction and The Antioch Review.

She is currently working on a memoir and some non-fiction essays.

"Swarm to Glory" will be released Sept. 5, but can be ordered on www.wisebloodbooks.com.

Email: hudsonhubtimes


Phone: 330-541-9427

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