Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Norbert Blei  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1935 in Chicago, Illinois

Died: 2013 in Sister Bay, Wisconsin

-- Norbert Blei on WorldCat --

E-Mail: --

Illinois Connection

Blei was born in an ethnic (primarily Czechoslovakian) neighborhood of western Chicago, Illinois known as Little Village, in the 26th & Pulaski area. An only child, Blei and his parents moved to the near-western Chicago suburb of Cicero when he was in grade school.

Biographical and Professional Information

Norbert Blei began his career teaching high school English and subsequently worked at City News Bureau as a reporter. Blei left Chicago and moved to Door County in 1969, where he has lived and worked as a writer for over 40 years. For four decades, he worked in a converted chicken coop in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin. He was also the editor/publisher of a small literay press (devoted to helping writers get their first books in print--and also supporting 'veteran' little magazine, small press writers who may have drifted into obscurity). The name of his press was CROSS+ROADS PRESS, founded in 1997.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Hour of the Sunshine Now
ISBN: 0931704006

Story Pr. 1978

Second Novel
ISBN: 0913204099

December Pr. 1978

Door Way
ISBN: 0933180225

Ellis Press. 1981

Dust Jacket notes: "Blei weaves a tapestry of lives and landscape, past and present, earth and water, nature and man, celebrating the unique heritage of Door County, Wisconsin. He suggests the precariousness of this balance, in Door County and wherever the natural environment is threatened by forces without and within. At a time of concern over endangered species, Door Way expresses concern for endangered spaces, for the spirit of the landscape and tis people...."

Adventures in an American's Literature
ISBN: 0933180411

Ellis Pr. 1982

Book by Blei, Norbert

Door to Door
ISBN: 093318073X

Ellis Pr. 1985

Book by Blei, Norbert

Door Steps
ISBN: 0933180446

Spoon River Poetry Pr. 1983

Publisher's Note: "In five seasonal essays and a daybook of 365 entries, Blei records the passing of days and seasons in Door County, in his life, in our lives. A delicate balance between the rugged Door terrain and the author's inner landscape, the entries of Door Steps range from objective, almost naturalistic observations to pure poetry. The seasonal essays, especially "Christmas Eve in Door," are already Door County classics. Illustrations from the sketchbooks of Door County artist Charles Peterson perfectly complement Blei's prose in this, the second book of his Door trilogy."

The Ghost of Sandburg's Phizzog
ISBN: 093318087X

Ellison Enterprises. 1986

literature, stories, Chicago

ISBN: 0944024009

Ellis Pr. 1994

This book captures the reality of living in Berwyn and Cicero and celebrates the lives of the working-class members of society sometimes so easily overlooked and forgotten. It also explains why these individuals wanted to keep their small, close-knit communities from becoming like the old "changing" neighborhoods in the city of Chicago (which many of them fled). A tribute to the real "working class." It's a must for anyone who wants to delve into the lives of the butcher, baker and other entrepreneurs of a very special era in America's history. It will give you a much deeper appreciation of their struggles and fight to preserve what they built and loved.

Meditations on a Small Lake
ISBN: 0933180993

Ellis Pr. 1987

Chronicles of a Rural Journalist in America
ISBN: 0962614033

Samizdat Press. 1990

Blei, Norbet

Chi Town
ISBN: 0810120402

Northwestern University Press. 2003

The final work of the acclaimed Chicago Trilogy, this collection of nonfiction tales reveals Sandburg's "city of the big shoulders," concrete and neon uptown and downtown State Street, Michigan Avenue the river, the lake the matter-of-factness and poetry of Chicago people-from Mike Royko describing his neighborhood to the observations of newspaper vendors, from Studs Terkel interviewing jazz great Dave Brubeck to dinner with Petros in Greek Town. Written with a keen eye, Blei's stories evoke a vanished Chicago, a city of gritty and colorful neighborhoods and their gritty and colorful characters. It is, as he writes, a "love letter to a city that has meant so much to me."

Chi Townis the story of Norbert Blei's love affair with a city that shaped both his life and work. Along the route of this walking tour of the Windy City, you'll dine with Petros in Greek Town, see Studs Terkel in action at WFMT interviewing Dave Brubeck, listen to Mike Royko describe his own neighborhood, share the thoughts of Chicago sportswriter Jerome Holtzman, and meet newspaper vendors, trash collectors, bankers and more.