Laura Chester

Laura Chester has published many volumes of poetry, prose and non-fiction. Most recently, Holy Personal, looking for small private places of worship, was made available from Indiana University Press, and a selection of prose-poems, Sparks, was published by The Figures. Both books include extensive photographs by Donna DeMari. Station Hill Press released an updated version of Lupus Novice, an account of Chester's personal struggle and breakthrough with the auto-immune disease SLE, while Black Sparrow Press, published three of Chester's early books of fiction. Other novels include The Story of the Lake, Faber & Faber; and Kingdom Come, Creative Arts Book Company. Chester has edited four important literary anthologies, including Deep Down and The Unmade Bed. She is currently completing a fifth, Eros & Equus, a passion for the horse. Having grown up in Wisconsin, lived in Albuquerque, Paris, and Berkeley, she now travels between Patagonia, Arizona, and the Berkshires.
Marvel the Marvelous Cover Image
By Laura Chester, Gary Lippincott (Illustrator)
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ISBN: 9781595438416
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Published: Willow Creek Press - June 15th, 2008

In the far reaches of Northern Joya, most of the inhabitants wear skates, for without these sharp, silver blades it would be too slippery to traverse the shimmering ice fields. When the King and Queen find a frozen girl child in a snowbank, everyone stops and tries to thaw her out. A gigantic bonfire is lit, which brightens the night sky, but soon the ice fields of Joya are melting. A trickling stream becomes a rushing river, then suddenly, a deluge. Leaving the comforts of their dry, warm stable, Lee Rumsey and Little Marvel are swept away on a torrential adventure. Their dog friends, Garbonzo & Beanie, follow. Together this foursome explores the dank underworld of Joya as well as its most fragrant gardens. Throughout her journey to the Treasure House, Lee is compelled to follow the cries of her baby sister, but first she must help release Spigot Von Glume, and tame a tribe of terrible teasers. Finally, Marvel and Lee outwit an even more dangerous foe. This wild fantasy also deals with serious issues, like the emotional pull between family and friends. The characters grapple with loyalty and betrayal, with deep feelings of connection and the fear of losing love, but through the humorous, often playful antics of the characters, Leezie and Marvel overcome all obstacles, and their unique friendship wins out. Marvel the Marvelous is the second young adult novel written by Laura Chester. Hiding Glory, which appeared in 2007, from Willow Creek Press, also took place in the land of Joya.


Hiding Glory Cover Image
By Laura Chester, Gary A. Lippincott (Illustrator)
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ISBN: 9781595436160
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Published: Willow Creek Press - September 1st, 2007

First in a series of imaginative children's books this is the wild tale of a small blue horse named Glory (guardian of the morning glory vine) who takes Turner Flint off to the land of Joya, where she can forget her earthly worries, like her taunting older brother and what she should wear on the first day of school. The land of Joya is a dazzling place, ruled by a jolly Queen Mother and her counsel of pansies. Here low winding lanes that tunnel through greenery are in danger of being straightened, and water won't flow over glistening stones but is to be sent in underground pipes. Joya's creatures only want to celebrate, but now they must disrupt the greedy Kermudgins, a terrible tribe of tidy-uppers, who are marching through Joya, ripping out every flower and fern that isn't nice and neat. Turner, who doesn't consider herself very brave, must gather her courage to follow Glory into battle. Turner's love for Glory helps her to face the many challenges that young boys and girls have to cope with, including loss, sadness, fear and jealousy. She goes from being a timid child to a valiant heroine, and even finds herself nurturing the lovely golden mare, Lilia, who had at one time almost turned her green with envy. Despite her dread of frost and what it will do to Glory and his morning glory vine, Turner returns to her own warm bed and bookshelves, lined with her old horse collection. Happily surprised when she enters fifth grade, Turner finds a very unusual teacher, as well as a new best friend who can share her summer secrets. Together they wait for Glory's return, discovering his inner light instead. Gary Lippincott, the acclaimed fantasy artist, animates this love story between a younggirl and her dream horse, capturing every dramatic scene, from the rescue of Turner, to the fitful King inside Thorn Tower. Lippincott's drawings, together with Chester's prose, take us on a very exciting gallop, filled with fun and fright.


Heartbeat for Horses Cover Image
By Laura Chester (Editor), Donna DeMari (Photographer)
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ISBN: 9781595434432
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Published: Willow Creek Press - April 1st, 2007

Heartbeat for Horses is a collection of writing and photographs brought together in honor of horse crazy girls--those who might only live in the fantasy world of books and porcelain statues, who pin posters onto their walls and dream of jumping like National Velvet, or who actually compete in rodeos and horse shows in an attempt to win that blue ribbon. Writer/editor, Laura Chester, has selected a brilliant array of prose and poetry that is paired with the evocative photography of Donna DeMari. Included are world class writers such as Elyne Mitchell with her fabulous story, The Silver Brumby, about the wild horses of Australia, as well as Kate Seredy's tale, The Good Master, set in the countryside outside of Budapest. Eilis Dillon's Irish novel, The Island of Horses, accompanies poems and stories by many American writers, such as John Hawkes' Sweet William, told from the point of view of his aging thoroughbred. Also included are wonderful works by Lucy Grealy, Mark Spragg, Lyn Lifshin, Michael Korda, Kay Boyle, Will James, Maxine Kumin, and many others. Photographer Donna DeMari has captured the heartfelt connection between girls and their horses in her wonderful color photographs that are scattered throughout the text. DeMari and Chester together have created an equestrian dream, with selections and pictures that give us a glimpse into this special, secret world. Their collection is sure to inspire young riders and to touch the hearts of horse lovers everywhere. Anyone who is passionate about the beauty and appeal of horses will respond to this exceptional treat.


Eros & Equus: A Passion for the Horse Cover Image
By Laura Chester (Editor), Donna DeMari (Photographer)
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ISBN: 9781595433886
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Published: Willow Creek Press - April 1st, 2006

Anthology of prose and poetry from great writers such as Annie Proulx, John Hawkes, Maxine Kumin, Beryl Markham, Jane Smiley, Mikhail Lermentov, Tess Gallagher, Isak Dineson, Charles Bukowski, Annie Dillard, and more.


Kingdom Come Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780887393594
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Published: Creative Arts Book Company - October 1st, 2000

Joanna Hawkins uproots herself from her comfortable, but lackluster, life and goes west to take charge of her aunt's cattle ranch. She meets up with her teenage flame, Samuel Harrigan Sixkiller Mendoza, a loner driven by jealous rages. Joanna searches for her mother while struggling to become more of one to her own estranged children. A fast-paced, heart-rendering novel.


Holy Personal: Looking for Small Private Places of Worship Cover Image
By Laura Chester, Donna DeMari (Photographer), Thomas Moore (Foreword by)
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ISBN: 9780253338044
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Indiana University Press - September 1st, 2000

"Holy Personal" begins with the design and construction of the author's own private chapel and activities that compelled her to set forth on a pilgrimage to 28 other private places of worship--temples, chapels, stupas and shrines. DeMari's luminous photos reveal the personal and private nature of these unique places. 100 photos, 60 in color.


Lupus Novice: Toward Self Healing Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781581770209
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Barrytown Limited - August 1st, 1999

Story of the Lake Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780571198610
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Published: Faber & Faber - March 1st, 1995

At the turn of the century, Nogowogotoc Lake was considered the Newport of the Midwest, where some of the most affluent families from Milwaukee and Chicago spent their summers in luxurious "cottages" at the water's edge. The Story of the Lake weaves the tale of four of these families over the course of generations. With each decade another net of history, prejudice, love, and intrigue is cast over the surface of the lake, creating a more and more intricate pattern. Joseph Ulrich of Kreuser Beer and his rival, "Pork Packing Prince" Walter Schraeger, vie for the hand of Alicia Bosquet, the flamboyant newcomer to the lake. Isabella Wells, the reclusive heiress to Milwaukee's finest department store, becomes dangerously involved with Margaret Sanger's early crusade. When her sister, Helen, tries to protest the end of Prohibition, she finds it is a force too great to contend with in the beer loving city of Milwaukee. Strange incidents occur - a lake mansion is burned to the ground; Colin Hewitt, a young tannery heir, is discovered dead in the backseat of his half-submerged Mercedes. This often dark and disturbing American drama is full of gusts of lake air, filling the senses with a time and tradition that have mostly slipped away. A personal telling of family secrets as well as a reflection of the times, The Story of the Lake is the big, passionate family saga that finally gives the Midwest its due.


Bitches Ride Alone Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780876858479
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Published: Black Sparrow Press - January 1st, 1991

A collection of "serial stories" about the quest for love of a fortyish, divorced mother. The little first-person narratives convey the character's "inside" and "outside" worlds almost schizophrenically. In "I Told You I Was Sick," for example, the woman's Florida vacation with her son (outside) is played off against her attempts via daily postcards (inside) to cling to a fragile, nascent affair with a professor back in Minneapolis. Her insecurity in relationships, hatred of her need of men, and inability to perceive herself as lovable build in intensity through stories like "Killer Gorilla," "The Never Enough Club," and "His Sweater." Her emotions erupt in the obsessive destruction of a lover's apartment in "The Trap," and in the concluding piece, "The Final Simplicity of Love," she posits the possibility of loving without wanting anything in return. This is powerful stuff, often beautifully obscure, with undercurrents that constantly tug at the shoals of sanity. ((Reviewed Jan. 1, 1992))(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 1992, American Library Association.)A collection of "serial stories" about the quest for love of a fortyish, divorced mother. The little first-person narratives convey the character's "inside" and "outside" worlds almost schizophrenically. In "I Told You I Was Sick," for example, the woman's Florida vacation with her son (outside) is played off against her attempts via daily postcards (inside) to cling to a fragile, nascent affair with a professor back in Minneapolis. Her insecurity in relationships, hatred of her need of men, and inability to perceive herself as lovable build in intensity through stories like "Killer Gorilla," "The Never Enough Club," and "His Sweater." Her emotions erupt in the obsessive destruction of a lover's apartment in "The Trap," and in the concluding piece, "The Final Simplicity of Love," she posits the possibility of loving without wanting anything in return. This is powerful stuff, often beautifully obscure, with undercurrents that constantly tug at the shoals of sanity. ((Reviewed Jan. 1, 1992))(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 1992, American Library Association.)


The Stone Baby Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780876857755
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Published: Black Sparrow Press - December 1st, 1990

Julia is a beautiful, independently wealthy would-be painter, married with three children, who becomes sexually obsessed with an elusive neighbor. Her affair with him has extreme consequences, and through them all, three intimate women friends sustain her. What saves this tale from being a genre romance are Chester's ( In the Zone ) lyrical prose and insightful observations of emotions. A distinctive highlight is the wry acknowledgment of the enduring friendships that bind the women, all in their late 30s; and of how such issues as pregnancy and infertility, abortion and adoption demand resolution by each woman, with every option posing its own sets of limitations and inevitabilities. (Dec.)


Free Rein Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780930901547
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Published: Burning Deck - January 1st, 1988

In the Zone: New and Selected Writing Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780876857472
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Published: Black Sparrow Press - December 1st, 1988

My Pleasure Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780935724035
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Published: Figures - September 1st, 1980