Literature Posts

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!

Excerpt:

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!

Duluth references in Lucy

“Amanda drove and let Jenny doze in the front seat while Lucy slept in back.  They woke just south of Duluth.  They spent the night in a little town called Superior.  In the morning they stopped at the grocery store in Duluth to stock up for the week.”                   — (Chapter 17)

“The road they traveled from Duluth had stretched out ruler-straight for miles, cutting farm fields in half, as pastures fell away toward island lakes.  Dark clouds gathered in the western sky as they entered the great expanses of forest in Wisconsin.”                  –(Chapter 21)

from LUCY (A Novel) by Laurence Gonzales  (2010)

References to Duluth in Popular Literature

Ernest Hemmingway - The Torrents of SpringErnest Hemingway’s The Torrents of Spring
“The foreman was a short, iron-jawed man. He had once made a trip as far as Duluth. Duluth was far across the blue waters of the lake in the hills of Minnesota. A wonderful thing had happened to him there.”

F Scott Fitzgerald - The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
“A few days later he took him to Duluth and bought him a blue coat, six pair of white duck trousers, and a yachting cap.”

Dalton Trumbo LettersDalton Trumbo’s letter to Guy Endore
“I’ve seen their faces in a miners’ union hall in Duluth on a night when the wind off the lake blew the snow so killingly and so deep that cars couldn’t be used and everybody walked to the meeting.”

Willa Cather - The Song of the LarkWilla Cather’s The Song of the Lark
“I must go now. I had to give my lesson hour this morning to a Duluth woman who has come on to coach, and I must go and play ‘On Mighty Pens’ for her. Please tell Mr. Harsanyi that I think oratorio is a great chance for bluffers.”

Author? Author?

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As you may all know David Sedaris was in town last night promoting the soft-cover release of his latest book When You Are Engulfed in Flames. I had the honor of playing tunes for the waiting crowd which finally wound down at 1 a.m.. I don’t imagine there are any authors that stick around until every last book is signed but he sure did. I could have left early but I was hoping to have him record a promo for my radio show, which he did! I also recorded the show on my phone for those of you who didn’t make it out. It is in 5 parts and may be downloaded below.

Thanks again Mr. Sedaris and I apologize for the photo I snapped of you. It was taken before I found out they were not allowed.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

The Local Promo [unedited]