Welcome to Wake


When a Yooper goes back home for a race across the Mackinac Bridge, he is confronted with childhood memories of jumping off bridges. His relationship to risk has changed, and now he wonders which side of the bridge he should call home.
What do Lady Gaga, the Pittsburgh Steelers, fair use, gender roles and Marxism have in common? More than you might think. Essay by Greg Barnhisel.


Jennifer Sperry Steinorth

gray of sun-beaten clapboard

and eye of slinking cat ...

Kathleen McGookey

for a change, like that small blue frog, which, if licked, kills whatever licked it. ...

By James Tolan

Waukegan Harbor with its view of Zion
nuclear plant and coast littered
with dead alewives ...


The next morning we got out early to ride the length of nearby Presque Isle State Park. Pennsylvania has only a 46-mile stretch of frontage on Lake Erie, and part of it is the 7½-mile-long Presque Isle Peninsula, which contains a dozen soft sand beaches, multiple bays that host some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the world, and Perry’s Monument, a 101-foot-tall cement and stone obelisk commemorating Admiral Perry’s victory in the Battle of Lake Erie in 1812. Perry built many of his ships using timber form the Erie area, then sailed them west on Lake Erie to Bass Island, near Toledo, Ohio, where he engaged and defeated the British warships. In 1812 the peninsula was about a mile farther west than it is now: a process called longshore drift — the continual action of prevalent westerly winds sweeping across the peninsula — picks up sand and moves it east, thereby moving the peninsula’s tip east at a rate of a half-mile every hundred years.


by Jessica Roeder
                            1. In the apartment, Edna was without her baby. But she was a little crazy then, and sometimes she led herself to believe the baby wasn’t gone. She could cradle an imagined infant the way she’d once cradled her sisters. The eyes were dark blue, the lashes and brows blond, and the top of the nose had an inward dip like Daniel’s. The fingernails were thin and would not protect the fingers, and yet they had white rims and half-moons at the cuticles. They grew and would have to be clipped. The fine swirl of hair would need to be washed. It was a matter of proportion. She reminded herself of these things.
By Randall Silvis
We lived in the country in a small yellow house, with large yards in the front and back, woods on all sides, our closest neighbors a half mile away and as eager to be left alone as we were. The exterior of the house was in need of painting and there was only one chair in the living room but we seldom had visitors then and one chair was all we needed when we sat holding one another in the evening while listening to music. We had a big, frisky and sometimes obtrusively affectionate Irish Setter named Berrigan, who on hot summer afternoons when we sunbathed behind the house never failed to warn of the approach of a meter reader or salesman, and who with his resonant growl would keep the intruder at bay until we could pull on our clothes and prepare ourselves for the world again.


Wake is a journal focused on work that evokes the broad culture of the Great Lakes. We publish a variety of articles on Great Lakes subjects. Please read our mission statement and submission guidelines for details, and check back often as we continue to add content.

Opinions expressed in the content are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Grand Valley State University or its representatives.

Wake is a publication of Grand Valley State University.