Literature Posts

Writers share time with students at UMD


 

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.

St. Lutgarde of Aywières at the CSS Book Sale

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.

Michael Fedo signs at Zenith Bookstore

I was lucky enough to run into Michael Fedo at Zenith Bookstore at the rescheduled Small Business Saturday on Dec. 7. How did you spend the rescheduled Small Business Saturday last weekend?

Wild, a spoken-word musical tribute to weasels, inspired by an encounter in Chester Park

A celebration of the weasel family (mustelids) inspired by an encounter I had with a least weasel in the deep woods portions of Chester Park Ravine, which led to a re-reading of Annie Dillard’s essay, “Living Like Weasels.”

PDD Quiz: Duluth in Literature

This edition of the PDD Quiz tests your knowledge of references to Duluth in literature. The 10-year-old PDD post “References to Duluth in Popular Literature” might prove useful should you want to cheat study.

The next PDD quiz will focus on September 2019 headlines; it will be published on Sept. 29. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Sept. 25.

Iwen wins prize

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that UW-Superior professor Jayson Iwen has won a $5,000 poetry prize.

Duluth author part of Jeopardy! clue

What is Lake Superior? According to the television game show Jeopardy! and host Alex Trebek, it’s the place where “the lives of 3 women centuries apart intertwine upon the shores” in Duluth author Danielle Sosin‘s The Long-Shining Waters. The answer/question was part of episode #8030, which aired Friday, July 5, on the CBS network.

Duluth Book Releases in 2019

Grasshopper Girl
Written by Teresa Peterson
llustrated by Jordan Rodgers
Black Bears and Blueberries Publishing

Rez Dog
Story by Heather Brink
Illustrations by Jordan Rodgers
Black Bears and Blueberries Publishing
(March)

The Forever Sky
Thomas Peacock
Minnesota Historical Society Press
(April 1)

Gallery of Defunct Duluth Literary and Arts ’Zines

In addition to the various (“legitimate,” if you will) literary and arts magazines and journals in the Duluth area, past and present, there is a long tradition of renegade ’zines circulated for short periods of time. What’s technically the difference between the two? Well, a magazine or journal tends to have a glossy cover and be governed by an institution or a nonprofit board of directors. A ’zine tends to be printed on a photocopier for limited circulation and produced by an individual or disorganized group.

You could move to Duluth and walk right into Chuck Klosterman’s office

Manhatten-based humorist Micah Osler drops the D-word six times in a May 11 piece in The New Yorker titled “Hi, It’s Your Mom, and I Have Some Advice for Your Job Search.”

The article is entirely from the voice of a mother on the phone, mostly offering employment advice based on hot tips like, “Dolores works up in Duluth, and she says that everywhere in Duluth is hiring.”

“Rule 15” by Ryan Vine

Duluth poet Ryan Vine reads “Rule 15,” from his 2018 book To Keep Him Hidden.

In its series The Slice, WDSE-TV presents short “slices of life” that capture the events and experiences that bring people together and speak to what it means to live up north.

Saturday Essays in Book Form

I have self-published a small book containing 15 essays. They comprise the lion’s share of the 17 essays which Perfect Duluth Day so kindly ran as part of the Saturday Essay series. It is available at Zenith Bookstore on Central Avenue in West Duluth next to Beaner’s Central.

Split Rock Review, Spring 2019

Issue #12 of Split Rock Review is available. My favorite piece is “Transfers” by Hava Zitlalik.

Mockingbird

I think I read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time as a Rochester John Marshall 10th grader sometime during the 1986-87 school year. My most prominent memory of the academic experience is writing five-paragraph essays about the book for three buddies who got higher grades on the assignment (all A-minuses) than I got (solid, respectable B). I also remember watching our teacher, the white, perpetually flustered Ms. Green, have no idea what to do when Scott, the only black kid in that sophomore English section, reacted with outrage after the first time she shakily uttered the word “nigger” while reading an excerpt aloud to us.

The book is seldom far from my conscious thoughts. Partially because it’s culturally omnipresent. It’s tough to have a college degree, love reading, work in education, watch public television, or just be alive and engaged in certain aspects of dominant Baby Boomer and Generation-X zeitgeist without seeing, hearing about, or discussing the book (or the movie version of it) fairly frequently. I’m also sure I would think about it fairly often even if it weren’t ubiquitous. I don’t recall much about my actual experience of reading it that first time. I do know I immediately revered the story and many of its characters. I still do. And I’ve consciously thought about it more than usual for the past year or so, after Duluth Public Schools (Independent School District 709) administrators announced the book would be removed from ninth-graders’ English reading list. A lot of people in Duluth and a lot of other places have had a lot things to say about that decision.

Sisyphus on a Skateboard: A Review of “To Keep Him Hidden”

I reviewed Ryan Vine’s book of poetry. It’s good! Check the review out here.