Gene McCormick


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Welcome to the website of author Gene McCormick. A listing of his available books, with a brief synopsis, follows.


December 2016

A new novel by Gene McCormick

Obsessions of daily life including passion, mystery, and even a minute or two of off-center romance provide emotional heft to a highly nuanced, uniquely evocative exploitation of minutes and hours ticking by in a multi-layered, thought-provoking, genteel insanity. Obsessions is, on the surface, accessible to the brink of literal transparency but a walk in a forest preserve, being parked in a shopping mall in a thunderstorm, going fishing, rubbing on lotion prove not so routine. As Neil Gaiman has said “Things can mean more than they literally mean.”

Obsessions is a novel, a short story, a book-length narrative poem. 

Author Bio: This is Gene McCormick’s twenty-first book, a mix of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. He lives in Wayne, Illinois.

Obsessions by Gene McCormick

ISBN 978-0-9980732-0-0

111 pages. Softcover. $16.00

Available through:

Middle Island Press   PO Box 354   West Union, WV 26456



Big City Nighttime Stories

March, 2016

Much of the writing in Big City Nighttime Stories first appeared in Backstreet, Busted Dharma,

The Chaffin Journal, Clark Street Review, Cybersoleiljournal, Dead Snakes,

Diverse Voices Quarterly, The Homestead Review, The Iconoclast, Iodine Poetry Journal,

The Lounge People, Pegasus, The Potomac, The Rockford Review, Saturday Diner,'

Ship of Fools, Slant, Slipstream, Thorny Locust, Trajectory,

The Unrorean and Zombie Logic Review.

Published by Middle Island Press, West Union, WV


Eggshell Sidewalks


February, 2015

Working the mean streets through the big town’s inner-city. . .Heavy sky all day,

the sun stays down, there is no moon. Running the length of the city block lit

only by an occasional streetlight, a chain link wall creates a meaningless divide

between street people and tenement dwellers. A large dog barks on the tenement

side standing near a trash bin and burned-out car. Window shades are pulled to

the sill; graffiti marks walls, alley, the dumpster. Along the other side of the

fence, the sidewalk is slathered with black ice and snow slush covering broken

bottle glass. Concave pockets in the fence mark where the hapless are slammed

against chain links, mugged. A fire hydrant tilts at a twenty degree angle.

No sun, no moon, no matter. Sometimes footsteps are heard, sometimes not.

Published by MBS Press, Chicago


C’est la Vie: Paris: June, 2014

Gene McCormick’s latest collection of narrative poetry.

C'est la Vie is an illustrated journal in the form of a chapbook reflecting contemporary Paris, both through its people and sites.  

Published by Chicago City Press

La Vie en Rose: PARIS TODAY is Gene McCormick’s fourteenth book. His writing regularly appears in select literary journals, a number of his narrative poems have been converted to music, and his art is in commercial and private collections He lives in Wayne, Illinois.

Published by Chicago City Press

Hand-hewn poems of the America behind the headlines, away from the glitz and glamour, far
from the tall buildings and high finance. Mr. McCormick is the anti-Norman Rockwell, painting
not the ideal, but the dirty bricks and stone , the flat fires and lives, and the one for the road that
goes nowhere.—Phil Wagner, editor, The Iconoclast.



Lives Of Passion is Gene McCormick’s thirteenth book

Published in limited edition by

RWG Press
P.O. Box 858

Rockford, IL 61105


Gene McCormick’s collection of narrative poetry (poems as stories, stories as poems), An Ice Axe At Dusk, is published by March Street Press. The 81+ page collection consists of 57 new, or previously uncollected, vignettes of recognizable people—and sometimes objects—working through their daily lives.

Early reviews have been favorable. Says Alan Catlin, author of Near Death in the Afternoon on Becker Street: “Reading Gene McCormick's An Ice Ax at Dusk is like looking at paintings by Edward Hopper; the ones featuring shadows and light, empty rooms at different hours of the day, a sunset viewed over railway tracks and telephone wires, a well-lighted boardinghouse as seen from outside. Waiting, inside, are ordinary people, not necessarily living lives of quiet desperation, as just getting by. This is what good narrative poetry is all about and Gene McCormick is a modern master of the form.”

The book’s title was inspired by Franz Kafka’s quote: “A book must be an ice ax, to break the sea within us.”

An Ice Axe At Dusk

Signed copies can be ordered direct from the author:
($9 + $2 s/h)

Livin’ The Blues At Cranky Jack’s Bar & Grill has been published by MuscleHead Press, a Division of BoneWorld Publishing, Russell, NY. The 42-page collection contains new and previously published poems. According to Gene, “Livin' The Blues At Cranky Jack's Bar & Grill contains some of my earliest writing, reflecting the realities of life as it is lived on a daily basis but with a bit of an earthy edge.” The chapbook is in three segments, each making observations from a slightly different, maybe skewed, perspective.

"Gene McCormick's latest book, a literary virtual tour of a colorful town, chased my blues away. It was a treat to meet its denizens. The book actually read more like a novella than a narrative collection--a novella rich in breadth, depth and the nuance of language."

--Rex Sexton, author of X-Ray Eyes

Livin’ The Blues At Cranky Jack’s Bar & Grill can be ordered direct from the author for $10.00, cash or check, postage and handling included. Please specify if you want the book signed or inscribed. Send payment to Gene McCormick, PO Box 51, Wayne, IL 60184.


Gene McCormick’s narrative poetry collection, Naked Skeletons (ISBN 1-58998-915-5), has been published by Pudding House Publications, Columbus, Ohio. The 34-page chapbook contains twenty new, previously unpublished poems. According to the author, “The poems in Naked Skeletons are reality-based, heightened story-telling of daily life episodes of which we all have to work through, or are aware of. The poems are meant as stories, clear and accessible. There is no tricky wordplay; the messages are in the content.” Naked Skeletons can be ordered direct from the author for $10.00, cash or check, postage and handling included. Please specify if you want the book signed or inscribed. Send payment to Gene McCormick, PO Box 51, Wayne, IL 60184.
To pay by credit card, please order direct from Pudding House Publications, 81 Shadymere Lane, Columbus, OH 43213. Telephone 614-986-1881.There will be a postage and handling fee on books ordered from the publisher.

Tanya, Queen Of The Greasy Spoon, a collection of narrative poetic storytelling, is one of McCormick’s most recent books. Reviewer Richard Pulfer, writing in The Rockford Review, says “Tanya, Queen Of The Greasy Spoon is a dazzling, delectable and disturbing piece, all in one bite.”  Charles Portolano, author of All Eyes On US, says “McCormick’s writing is alluring, taking me places I’ve never been, seeing sights I’ve never seen, thinking thoughts new to my way of thinking.”  Tanya, Queen Of The Greasy Spoon ($14.95 paperback, ISBN 978-1-4327-4851-7, Outskirts Press) is available through online sources such as and can be ordered through bookstores.

Rain On The Sun is a collection of fictive narrative dramatizations: short stories and episodic poems centered around people at work and at play. The gamut of emotions and settings runs from beauty to surrender, murder, obsession, mystery, celebration, suicide, cheating, loyalties, reflection, fables, redemption, hustlers, lovers…and fate. Rain On The Sun ($14.95 paperback, ISBN 978-1-4327-2445-0) is available through online book sources such as and, and can be ordered through bookstores.

The Blue Collar Thoroughbred and The Eagle & The Plum, non-fiction books stressing racing life at mid-level, are both still in print and can be ordered through this site or through normal online sources such as Your local bookstore will be glad to special order any of the in-print titles by McCormick.

McCormick’s earlier titles can be found on or several of the used and antiquarian sites such as ABEbooks or Biblio, or by doing a Google search. Contact us at this site if you have difficulty tracking down a specific title.

Thank you for checking out the Gene McCormick Books website. Let us know how we can better serve you.


The Eagle & The Plum: The True Story of Racing's Toughest Horses (Paperback)

at Amazon Books

Read a review of this book.




The Blue Collar Thoroughbred: An Inside Account of the Real World of Racing (Paperback)




at Amazon Books




Read a review of this book.



Other books by Gene

Birds Defense to the Ruy Lopez by Gene H. McCormick and Andy Soltis (McFarland & Company, Inc., 1981). Hardcover.

The U.S. Chess Championship 1845-1985 by Gene H. McCormick and Grandmaster Andy Soltis (McFarland & Company, Inc., 1986). Hardcover.

United States Chess Championship, 1845-1996 by Andy Soltis and Gene H. McCormick (McFarland & Company, 1997). Hardcover.

United States Chess Championship, 1845-1996 by Andy Soltis and Gene H. McCormick (McFarland & Company, 2006). Softcover.

Uncompromising Chess: The Games of Viktor Kupreichik, by Gene McCormick (Chess Enterprises, Inc., 1986). Softcover.







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