There is something slyly satisfying about being deep in a book and happening upon a literary allusion or a nod to another writer. You stop. You read it again. You feel so darn smart that you got it. And then you look around for someone to share it with.
I spent most of the weekend reading St. Paul author Jim Heynen's new novel, "The Fall of Alice K.," which will be published in the fall by Milkweed Editions. I was cruising along, taking in the story of the Iowa farm girl and her growing romance with a young Hmong man, when Bam! Did that say what I thought it said?
Alice and her boyfriend are planning to go for a drive--away from the small town where everyone knows them, where everyone (except the boyfriend) is Dutch, to a nearby community "where the mailboxes had names like Brekken, Holm, and Rezmerski."
I think when I got to that sentence, I yelled, "Hey!" and then had to go find my husband and read it to him.("You know, Bill Holm, and his wife, Marcy Brekken, and his best friend from grad school, John Calvin Rezmerski.") (He just nodded politely, as any good husband would.)
A few chapters on, there was another, even slyer allusion:
"Mr. Vic also had them read stories by an older guy who grew up around Dutch Center and wrote stories about farm boys. Little tiny stories that were about as long as a sneeze and that some people thought were funny. Mr. Vic said he was the 'Hemingway of farm life.' Ho hum. Alice didn't have much use for this guy's work. Too much animal cruelty. In one of his stories, his farm boys threw live cats from the top of a windmill with homemade parachutes on them."
You probably know who Heynen is really talking about here; the "farm boys" reference is a good hint. If you need to, click on the link to see. And then look around for someone to share it with. Yell, "Hey!" So delicious. Book pubs in September. Watch for it.
The annual Lambda Awards have been announced, and the University of Minnesota Press walks away a winner in the LGBT Studies cagetory. Lisa L. Moore's "Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes," examines how women artists havelong used images of flowers, gardens and landscapes to express their love for other women.
Other winners at the awards include Colm Toibin for "The Empty Family," winner in the gay fiction category, and Armistead Maupin and Kate Millet, recipients of the Pioneer Award. (Maupin will be in the Twin Cities next year for the Pen Pals lecture series.) (And here is our review of Toibin's book.)
A complete list of winners is online at http://www.lambdaliterary.org/
They're calling it a "slumber party with writing," and that sounds like an appealing slumber party to me.
The second annual Northern Sparks celebration--an overnight festival of music, writing and the arts--will take place beginning at 9 p.m. on Saturday (June 9) at Open Book, going until 5:30 a.m. Sunday, when you can finally collapse into sleep.
Storytellers, poets and other spoken-word performers--sponsored by Paper Darts literary journal and the Loft Literary Center--will entertain you. (Including poet Heid Erdrich and novelist Peter Bognanni). Stacks of blank journals await your prose (or poetry) (or feverish nightmarish drawings) (or whatever you like). A classroom at Open Book will be converted into a viewing room, where you can watch an endless loop of films about dreams and the night.
The Paper Darts folks will also be making an issue of the magazine on the spot, over night, and looking for contributions from you--flash fiction, journals,observations, poems, photographs, whatever your sleep-deprived brains come up with.
It'll be fun.
A long time ago, there was a sweet red lighthouse keeper's cottage at the end of Duluth's Park Point. It had a green roof, and windows with white shutters, if the colorized old postcard can be believed, and it looked like a great wild place to live.
There were log cabins on Park Point then, too, and, a trolley car to take you to them.
Downtown Duluth had grand old theaters (one called the Grand), with balconies and stained-glass windows and fabulous lobbies with ornate ceilings and chandeliers. The Grand was torn down in 1976, and now Duluthians walk past the soulless Holiday Mall and Parking Ramp. Ah, progress.
"Lost Duluth: Landmarks, Industries, Buildings and Homes, and the Neighborhoods in Which They Stood," by Tony Dierckins and Maryanne Norton, is a softcover compendium of Duluth's past. Not every building, of course, and not every house, but a good selection that went up or down between 1856 and 1939. (The reasons for those years are made clear in the introduction.)
Dierckins is a long-time writer and publisher in Duluth; his publishing house, recently renamed Zenith City to reflect its commitment to local history, has already put out books about the Aerial Bridge, and collections of columns by beloved newspaper man Jim Heffernan, and other extremely Duluth-centric books.
Like his other books, "Lost Duluth" is packed with photos and information. (Perhaps a wee bit too packed; my eye craved wider margins, and my hand craved a sturdier cover. But those are minor quibbles.) His co-author on this project, Maryanne Norton, is a longtime Duluth historian and librarian and the author of other books of Duluth history.
"Lost Duluth" will be launched at 7 p.m. May 1 at the Norway Hall in Duluth.
Dierckins will also sign books at 11 a.m. May 12 at the Barnes & Noble at HarMar Mall in Roseville.
Four Minnesota poets have been named recipients of this year's McKnight Award for poetry and spoken word, and a fifth writer will receive the McKnight Award for children's literature.
Poet Mark Doty, who served as poetry judge, selected Mark Conway of Avon, and Amy McCann, Jude Nutter and Matt Rasmussen of Minneapolis for the award, which brings each writer $25,000.
Justin Chanda, an editor at Simon and Schuster, chose Lauren Stringer of Minneapolis for the children's literature prize.
Conway is the author of several collections of poetry, including "Dreaming Man, Face Down," which won the 2009 American Poetry Journal Book Prize. His work has appeared in the Paris Review, Ploughshares, the Kenyon Review, and elsewhere.
McCann has published poetry in the Laurel Review, Third Coast, and elsewhere; she teaches at Northwestern College and has worked at Milkweed Editions.
Nutter was born in England and grew up in Germany; her poems have appeared in many journals, and her third collection, "I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman," won a Minnesota Book Award and was named poetry book of the year by ForeWord Review.
Rasmusson is a former Bush Fellow for Literature. His work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Water-Stone Review, and many other publications. He's a founding editor of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press.
Stringer is an artist, author and theatrical designer. She has illustrated many picture books, and both wrote and illustrated "Winter is the Warmest Season," a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.
Meanwhile,"The Opposite of Cold: The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition," by Aaron W. Hautala and Michael Nordskog, has been named winner of the David Stanley Gebhard Award, which is given biannually by the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.
|Books (32)||Books and resources (5)|
|Awards (8)||Behind the scenes (3)|
|Book news (193)||Galleries (1)|
|Minnesota authors (11)||Museums (1)|
|St. Paul Como Park (1)||Television (1)|
|Author events (130)||Best sellers (6)|
|Book reviews (6)||Book stores (37)|
|Local authors (113)||Readings (49)|
|Book awards (65)||Illustrators (7)|
|Workshops and conferences (29)||Libraries (26)|
|Local publishers (27)||Minnesota Book Awards (6)|
|World Book Night (3)||Club Book (4)|
|Pen Pals (1)||Talk of the Stacks (2)|
|E-books (1)||Coffee House Press (1)|
|Graywolf Press (3)||Louise Erdrich (2)|
|Milkweed Editions (1)||Poetry (7)|
|Robert Bly (1)|