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Literature Posts

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.

(Former) local author Michael Fedo, Well-Reviewed

Former Duluthian Michael Fedo’s new book is reviewed on the arts and literature website Open Letters Review:

For all readers interested in the workaday writing life, it’s fascinating to follow Fedo through his many adventures, from writing an authorized biography of Garrison Keillor vehemently opposed by its subject to interviewing Cloris Leachman about starring in a play about Grandma Moses (which flopped).

I enjoy this book well enough, it inspired my Spring syllabus for Writing Studies majors.

Gary Boelhower is the 2018-’20 Duluth Poet Laureate

Poet, author and College of St. Scholastica professor emeritus Gary Boelhower has been selected as the 2018-’20 Duluth Poet Laureate. For the two-year post, Boelhower will organize five community events and participate in an inaugural reading and crowning ceremony on Dec. 2 at Peace Church. He will receive a $3,000 honorarium for his efforts.

The Duluth Poet Laureate Project was founded in 2005 and is overseen by a 10-person committee. Past Duluth Poet Laureates include Bart Sutter, Sheila Packa, Jim Johnson (twice), Deborah Cooper and Ellie Schoenfeld. The project is co-sponsored by donations from local organizations such as the Friends of the Duluth Public Library, the Arrowhead Reading Council, the English departments at UMD and St. Scholastica, Lake Superior College, Minnesota Public Radio, Lake Superior Writers and others.

Split Rock Review, Fall 2018

From Split Rock Review

A new issue of local literary magazine Split Rock Review has been released. Visit splitrockreview.org to check it out.

Five-star Customer Review of Richardson Brothers Duluth-based Amazon Kindle Book

Thought you should know about this. We published a novella on Kindle a while back and this review just appeared. The novella is Menno Zwonk: Amish Outlaw, which we excerpted in the Transistor over the course of several years:

This hyperfantastic shitstorm of a story will make about as much sense as anything in 2018 without the frightening public policy implications. Filled like an overflowing park garbage can on Memorial Day weekend with biologic catastrophes, double and triple crossing henchmen, some forgivable juvenalia, ungodly sea mutants, Duluth references, and hope in the form of ecoterrorist lesbians, the Meatco minions can’t possibly know who really works for who as experiments become kill triggers plowing through law enforcement and launching giant lamprey. Can’t wait for Book Two.