Every year, regional writers spend time with my students. Last semester, Julie Gard, Linda Grover, Lucie Amundsen, Terrance Griep, Michael Fedo and Roy Booth made the trip. This year, Katya Gordon will be visiting on April 22. Maybe you can join us?
Above are photos of one of the author visits by Paying Thao, journalist for the UMD Bark and student in Introduction to Writing Studies.
When partially digested nourishment is involuntarily ejected through the mouth, one of the first reactions is to wonder what caused it to happen. Was rancid meat recently consumed? Is there a norovirus going around?
Sometimes excessive alcohol is to blame and there isn’t a lot of detective work necessary. When that isn’t the case, however, the cause of a sudden retching can be difficult to track.
I have some recent experience as a vomit detective, following an incident that preceded the Christmas holiday. After a full month on the case, I can confidently state that the evidence points toward the culprit being either a cookie, a bowl of chili, or really just about anything else I encountered around that time.
That’s right, I’m getting ready to wrap up my investigation and file it as a cold case.
What’s worse is that information gathered in my latest probe has called into question a case from 2015. I might have wrongfully convicted a local fast-food chain restaurant of food poisoning.
In the past year — from January through December 2019 — the PDD Calendar published 7,937 Duluth-area events. Each one was edited by a human being before the “publish” button was pushed.
It’s a tremendous amount of work to keep up with all the submissions from the more than 1,000 organizations that have sent us info about their concerts, plays, improv nights and snowshoe hikes. That’s why once a month we set our dignity aside and remind readers how much we appreciate their financial support.
Last week we highlighted the five most-read pieces from the fourth year of Perfect Duluth Day’s “Saturday Essay” series. This week we ignore the numbers and look back at a few select essays of similar quality that might have been missed by non-compulsive followers.
In the past four years PDD has published 185 essays showcasing the work of 29 different writers, and we’re always looking to expand that roster. Anyone who has an original piece of literary excellence that seems to fit (or appropriately defy) the established format should email paul @ perfectduluthday.com to get involved.
And now, links to a few select gems from season four …
I have invited Michael Fedo to talk to my classes several times. He is in some ways an old-fashioned freelancer, following the story where the market will take him. He is, in some ways, an old fashioned humorist.
Annually, the College of St. Scholastica sells books, records, and other media — in part, it looks like, to clear shelves of material that does not circulate, and in part, I think, to offload donations.
I managed to snag a few items worth thinking about. The first was a biography of St. Lutgarde by Thomas Merton.
Thank you, distinguished citizens, for conferring upon me this office of Snow-Fort City Mayor. It is no small honor to assume my half-imaginary duties in this pop-up, collaborative, city-planning art fantasy at the edge of Lake Superior. “City” is an aspirational term for this arrangement of snow walls and monuments in Duluth’s Leif Erickson Park. Snow-Fort City’s true location lies somewhere within our skulls — like all cities. My Facebook post initiating construction was shared more than a hundred times in just a few hours, and it attracted the Duluth News-Tribune and KBJR-6/CBS-3, which tells me the vision of the snow-fort city is the real object. Almost none of the post-sharers, newspaper readers, or TV viewers made it down to the actual Snow-Fort City. They are content to view it with their eyes closed, in its most pure form: the Platonic one.
It literally came to me in a vision, like the origin of so many great cities. In a way, like Duluth itself. I remember the words of George Nettleton’s wife from 1856, when her husband’s mind swam with dreams of Duluth-as-future-city: “I thought he had a pretty long head to see that there was going to be a city here sometime when there was then nothing” (Duluth: An Illustrated History of the Zenith City by Glenn N. Sandvik).
I have moved a lot of times. Like, a witness-protection number of times. By the end of my freshman year of high school I had moved across the country eight times — twice in that one school year alone. I whipsawed between various small communities in Maine and Alaska, spending the preponderance of my time in Alaska.
But 1988, my sophomore year, was a real cake-taker. I lived in three different cities, and attended two separate high schools in two states. I moved from Juneau, Alaska to Kennelwick, Maine in early November. Kennelwick is not a real place, by the way — just in case I inadvertently reanimate anyone else’s decades-old trauma.
Changing schools in November is like showing up for a surprise birthday party at the same time as the birthday girl. It doesn’t matter why you’re there, or how awesome you are, you’ve arrived with such impossibly shit timing that literally no one is happy to see you. To whit: The school year was well underway and the brutality of the initial social sorting process was fading, but the blood was still drying. The cliques had already galvanized, defensively, prepared for the inevitable breakups and infighting bloodshed typical of a closed, captive society. High school is like the Thunderdome, only with less clothes made out of human skin.
In the past year — from December 2018 through November 2019 — the PDD Calendar published 8,022 Duluth-area events. Each one was edited by a human being before the “publish” button was pushed.
It’s a tremendous amount of work to keep up with all the submissions from the more than 1,000 organizations that have sent us info about their concerts, plays, book sales and lutefisk dinners. That’s why once a month we set our dignity aside and remind readers how much we appreciate their financial support.
On Nov. 25 the Duluth News Tribune published an opinion article, ostensibly about over-population, by a writer flagged by the Anti Defamation League for white nationalist comments, and for appearing on a notoriously anti-semitic website.