Literature Posts

Split Rock Review, Issue 10

The new issue of Split Rock Review is out.

Writer Reads … in Ashland and on the Radio

Duluth authors Avesa Rockwell, Lucie Amundsen and other Duluthians I don’t know all read in the annual “Writer’s Read” event at Northland College on Jan. 26.

Avesa’s memoir, Children of the Earth, was selected by judges for its relevance to this year’s theme of “gut instinct.” Her story describes a disturbing incident from her adolescence in New Mexico and the tension between acquiring wisdom and maintaining innocence.

Don’t thank him; just write

If you fling a certain line at Air Force veteran Eric Chandler, expect a pleasant smile masking irritation. He might nod in recognition. And if that’s all you got, the conversation is over.

“Thank you for your service.”

“Who are you thanking?” he asked earlier this year when talking about the growing gap of understanding of the U.S. military experience with that of civilians.

“We’re all complicit,” Chandler says with a serious tone. He could go on for hours on this topic, he says. There’s a deal made in a constitutional republic: Citizens ask for protection with a standing army and some answer the call by enlisting. But it’s not a service contract, Chandler says. “It’s not like the cable guy.”

“It should feel more invested” all around, Chandler says. “Thank you for your service” rings as hollow as any other jingoistic notion of the military’s role in American society. When people don’t know what it is you do or have done, platitudes mean nothing, he says. People are less interested in “who is in the military” over just passing along jingoistic notions of it, he says.

North Country Girl in the Saturday Evening Post

Gay Haubner’s memoir about growing up in Duluth during the 1960s has been running as a weekly serial in The Saturday Evening Post since May 24, 2017. It’s at 36 chapters and counting, indexed on the page linked below.

North Country Girl in the Saturday Evening Post

Up North Lit

The Duluth area saw the launch of a new online literary journal in 2017. Up North Lit debuted in June with its Summer issue and has also published a Fall 2017 issue.

Local writer wins national audience

Jayson Iwen, associate professor of writing at UW–Superior, has landed a piece in Tikkun magazine. His story “Night Running,” was also a Glimmer Train “very short fiction” honorable mention.

Crystal Spring Gibbins and Holy Cow at Twin Cities Book Festival

On Saturday at the Twin Cities Book Festival, Gary Boelhower, Joan Henrik, Miriam Karmel and Crystal Gibbins celebrated the 40th anniversary of Duluth’s Holy Cow! Press.

The panel, moderated by Jim Perlman, was basically short readings followed by a book signing. It was great to see friends at this celebration of literary culture.

Sinclair Lewis’ Perfect Duluth Day

Excerpt of a letter from Sinclair Lewis to Marcella Powers, included in the book Minnesota Diaries:

What a day — the first in Duluth this year completely of the type known to meteorologists as a p.d., or “absolutely perfect day” — cool, the air sweet, sky ringing blue except for lovely lazy clouds, as idyllic and indolent as a Grecian glade, yet full of energy for people from Chicago … the lake a mirror of many kinds of blue and gray glass, some sleek, some delicately wrinkled …

Electronic magazines published in the Duluth-area

I’ve been thinking about the energy and quality writing that have gone into electronic magazines in our region. There are the two I have looked at lately — Split Rock Review and New Theory. What publications am I missing?

The truth about Shakespeare in Duluth

2016 has been full of 400th anniversary observations of Shakespeare’s 1616 death. Having first read Shakespeare in Duluth, I was thrilled to return for my hometown’s own First Folio celebrations, from the exhibit at the Tweed Museum to an early music concert. It was an honor to speak at St. Scholastica, where I was once part of the crew for Cymbeline, with librarian Todd White as the baddie Iachimo. At the Marshall School, I did the lighting for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, starring Maria Bamford (Titania) and Katie McGee (Puck) under the direction of Tim Blackburn. (Our Marshall librarian Louis Jenkins recently teamed up with Shakespearean actor Mark Rylance.)

ThineOwnSelfCaught up in the quatercentennial excitement, it’s easy to become fixated upon what Shakespeare supposedly thought, rather than how he thought — that is, what kind of education led him to think the way he did. I take as an example of this misguided fixation myself, 25 years ago. My 1991 yearbook profile includes the usual pimply portrait scribbled over by classmates’ farewells. For my motto, I selected a quotation from Hamlet: “To thine own self be true, and it shall follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

And I of course attributed those words to Shakespeare.

Unwittingly, I was doing what countless others had done before: quoting a dramatic passage out of its ironic context, and acting like Shakespeare said it himself, rather than a fictional character. Shakespeare’s words circulate far beyond their origins, whether in 17th century manuscripts, 18th century novels, 19th century poems, 20th century cinema, or 21st century politics.

What’s all the folio fuss?

First_Folio_lo_resDr. Krista Twu, associate professor of Medieval literature at UMD, and Matt Rosendahl, director of UMD’s Kathryn A. Martin Library, chat with Almanac North hosts Julie Zenner and Dennis Anderson about the rare copy of the Bard’s “First Folio.”

In Defense of Duluth Poets

Holy CowThe arts and culture review website Partisan namedrops Holy Cow! Press of Duluth in an article by Harvard English Professor Stephen Burt titled “In Defence of Minor Poets,” published today. The namedrop occurs without actually mentioning Holy Cow! by name, but instead referencing Duluth with a hyperlink to Consortium Book Sales & Distribution’s page about the Duluth publishing company.

Lucie Amundsen – Drifts

Awesome creative writing from local creative type Lucie Amundsen.
Check it out!


Drifts (from Portland Review)

It’s just past midnight and my 13-year-old is not back from her babysitting gig. Abbie’s a couple of hours late now and the parents’ cell rolls directly to voice mail. Likely it’s just drained of charge from the weather. It’s that cold. Days of Arctic fronts have animated our newscasters, who brandish their arms over the Minnesota map as they issue dire warnings. The air is more than raw, it’s dangerous. …

Nominations close Feb. 1 for Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards

Celebrating books about northeastern Minnesota published in 2013. Send one book plus $25 nomination fee to UMD Kathryn A. Martin Library. Winners will be announced May 22. 

26th annual NEMBA call for nominations

End National Poetry Month with a Bang, not a Whimper

Very proud to report that the Twin Ports sees the end of National Poetry Month out in grand fashion.

Friday, April 29th, 7pm| Jim Dan Hill Library UW-S: Reception & Booksigning by poet George Gott, Emeritus UW-S, for his new book The Willow Tree and Other Inclinations: Poems from the Lake

Saturday, April 30th, 7:30pm | Somers Lounge CSS: Spirit Lake Poetry Series reading by former national poet laureate, Ted Kooser. Don’t miss this living legend of Midwestern Verse!

Monday, May 2nd, 6:30pm| Teatro Zuccone: as part of Homegrown Music Festival, there will be an evening dedicated to a Homegrown Poetry Showcase

These are all sure to be great events – make as many as you can; look forward to seeing you there!