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Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996.

Minneapolis poet Jennifer Willoughby wins Lindquist & Vennum Prize

Jennifer Willoughby

Jennifer Willoughby

Jennifer Willoughby earned her bachelor's degree from St. Catherine's University in St. Paul and her MFA in poetry from the University of Minnesota. For 15 years, she has worked as an advertising copywriter, writing poetry on the side. She has published poems in The Believer, the Boston Review, and the Indiana Review, as well as other places.

Her poetry manuscript, "Beautiful Zero," has been named winner of the Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry, chosen from more than 150 submissions from poets across the Midwest. The Lindquist & Vennum Prize, offered by Milkweed Editions, carries a $10,000 honorarium and a publishing contract.  Milkweed will publish Willoughby's book in November.

The judge for this year's competition was Santa Fe poet Dana Levin, who had this to say about Willoughby's book:

"You were born the weirdo that you are,” writes Jennifer Willoughby in her very alive first collection, "Beautiful Zero." With its sense of affection and straight talk, such a pronouncement sets the tone for these poems, whose speakers tumble and swerve as they urgently try to inhabit and describe the contours of being strange and alive in our electrified now. There’s a hint of dread, apprehension, to the speakers’ searches for connection and understanding, but the book’s primary argument seems to be for beauty, joy, surprise, release: “The world doesn’t want to see you / on your knees for more than a minute / when it could be inspecting a music / box that knew how to fly,” Willoughby writes in “Do Not Be Broken By This Day,” a poem whose title acts as command and charm.

Goodbye to Minneapolis Central Library's bookstore

Libraries have long been all things to all people, to the best of their ability--they lend books, records, CDs, DVDs, artwork, e-books. There are meeting rooms, a piano room, places to hold readings and public events. But starting in June--no more bookstore.

Central Library on the Nicollet Mall of Minneapolis has long had a bookstore, where it sold donated books it didn't need, books removed from the collection, and other items. It was run by volunteers, the Friends of the Hennepin County Library, and money received went back into programs and books.

But the library bookstore is closing at the end of the month, for the usual reasons: Costs were increasing, and revenue was declining. There are better, more efficient ways to fund-raise.

So the library's loss is your gain: Between now and May 30, the store's last day, you can stagger home with bagloads of books, each bag just $2. And if the library has been a favorite place for you to donate your used books, leave a comment with suggestions if you know of any good new places.

Here are the store's (limited) hours:  

Sat, May 16 10am – 3pm
Thurs, May 21, 10am – 7pm
Sat, May 23, 10am – 3pm
Thurs, May 28, 10am – 7pm
Sat, May 30, 10am – 3pm

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