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Dance Boots

Posted byregana on 10 Sep 2010 | Tagged as: Event, Literary, Native American

The Dance BootsLinda LeGarde Grover’s new book of short stories, The Dance Boots, is the winner of the prestigious Flannery O’Connor Award for short fiction, awarded by the University of Georgia Press in its annual competition. The stories focus on an important Minnesota story: the painful legacy of boarding schools in an Ojibwe family.

Grover, a poet and member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa who teaches in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, uses aspects of her own family’s story to tell a larger truth. In an interview in today’s Pioneer Press, she told Mary Ann Grossman, “I have a lot of poetry about education. That doesn’t sound like a subject from which poetry flows, but education is where it all begins for me.” An early review of the book on Minnesota Reads notes, “Grover’s powerful descriptive writing is the book’s greatest asset.”

The book’s official publication date is September 15, and its coming-out party is at 7 pm next Friday at Birchbark Books, 2115 West 21st Street, Minneapolis.

National Poetry Slam, 2010, in St. Paul next week!

Posted byPamela McClanahan on 30 Jul 2010 | Tagged as: Literary

National Poetry Slam, 2010 (St. Paul, MN)


Many of the world’s best slam poets will be in St. Paul next week competing for the nation’s title, including the 2009 winners, Soap Boxing, St. Paul’s amazing slam team.

What is Slam Poetry? (From the National Poetry Slam 2010 website. To learn more, including volunteer opportunities, click here.)

What Slam Is

1. Poetry Slam is competitive spoken word performance poetry.

2. It puts a dual emphasis on both writing and performance.

3. Though rules vary from slam to slam, the basic rules are:

*Competing poets have 3 minutes (plus a 10 second grace period) to perform one poem of their own construction.

*They may not use props, costumes or musical accompaniment.

*Each poem/performance is then given a score (on a scale of 0.0 to 10.0) by five “judges” who are audience members randomly selected by the emcee at the beginning of the Slam.

*The high and low scores are dropped, giving the poet a score ranging between 0 and 30.

*Most Slams have two or three elimination rounds. The highest scoring poets at the end of the Slam win prizes.

What Slam Is Not

1. Slam is not a serious academic critique on literary skill. It is a game, a show, and a means for poets to share their work with an engaged audience.

2. Slam is not an insult filled hip hop battle. Slam is not rap. Though some poets use elements of hip hop in their writing, Slam is a literary art form, not music.

3. Slam is not poets making things up as they go along. Weeks, and sometimes months, are spent writing, memorizing and even choreographing a performance.

4. Slam is not a bunch of angry performers yelling about social issues. Slams bring an incredibly diverse array of demographics, voices, styles, topics and points of view.

Michael Perry at the Shakopee Library Tonight

Posted byMary Poggione on 19 Jul 2010 | Tagged as: Authors, Event, Literary, MHS press

Coop by Michael PerryAuthor and humorist Michael Perry will be speaking and signing books tonight at 7:00 at the Shakopee Library as part of the Club Book program.

Perry is the author of the best-selling memoirs Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time, Truck: A Love Story, and Coop: A Family, a Farm, and the Pursuit of One Good Egg, as well as the essay collection Off Main Street. Perry has written for Esquire, the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Backpacker, Orion, and and is a contributing editor to Men’s Health. He has performed and produced two live audience humor recordings (“I Got It From the Cows” and “Never Stand Behind a Sneezing Cow”), and he performs regularly with his band the Long Beds.

Check out Michael Perry’s fun website,, where he shares updates on his life and work and fascinating tips like, “You really can’t call yourself a farmer unless you’ve got at least one purple fingernail.”

Yasmeen Maxamuud at the Loft

Posted byMary Poggione on 19 May 2010 | Tagged as: African American, Event, Literary

Nomad Diaries book coverSomali-American writer Yasmeen Mavamuud will be at the Loft Literary Center in downtown Minneapolis this Saturday, May 22, at 3:00 to discuss her book Nomad Diaries.

Nomad Diaries chronicles the lives of Somali-Americans, the trials and tibulations, successes and joys, of builing a new lives for themselves in the United States.

For more information, check out the Nomad Diaries website or this review from the Star Tribune.

While the book is set in Minneapolis, Yasmeen Maxamuud actually lives in San Diego, so don’t miss this opportunity to meet her.

April Is National Poetry Month

Posted byMary Poggione on 31 Mar 2010 | Tagged as: Event, Literary

darkacre by Greg HewittKick off National Poetry Month at the Loft in downtown Minneapolis this Thursday at 7 p.m. St. Paul poet Greg Hewett will be reading from his new book, darkacre, published by Coffee House Press.

From Coffee House:

“Greg Hewett is the author of The Eros Conspiracy, To Collect the Flesh, and Red Suburb, which was an Indie Bound Poetry Top Ten selection, Publishing Triangle Award winner, and Minnesota Book Award finalist. He has received Fulbright fellowships to Denmark and Norway and has lived in Japan and France. A former HIV interviewer for the Centers for Disease Control, he is currently Associate Professor of English at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. “ 

Lightsey Darst of Minneapolis will read from her first collection of poetry, Find the Girl.

Find the Girl by Lightsey Darst Again, per Coffee House:

“From Snow White to the Yde Girl and Helen of Troy to JonBenét, this lurid and lyrical debut explores the transition from girlhood to womanhood and America’s almost pornographic fascination with missing and exploited children. Topical and timely, Darst’s poems draw from both the oldest tales and the current vein of child / young woman endangerment horror–recalling and responding to true-crime exposés, pulp detective fiction, classic fables, modern novels like The Lovely Bones, and TV shows like Law & Order.”

The King Legacy

Posted bypennefesm on 15 Jan 2010 | Tagged as: African American, History, Literary

phpMyjfF0Our friends at Beacon Press in Boston have partnered with the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. in a new publishing program, “The King Legacy,” which gives Beacon the sole right to print new editions of previously published King titles and to compile Dr. King’s writings, sermons, orations, lectures, and prayers into entirely new editions, including significant new introductions by leading scholars.

Beacon Press director Helene Atwan writes: “ I have been rereading and listening to Dr. King a lot of late (as you might imagine) and what surprises me most is how current his thinking is, how he seems to be speaking not from the 1950s or 60s but from the post 9/11 era, even from the Obama era. What he has to say to us in an age of globalization, in a so-called ‘post-racial’ age, is as valid and in some respects more urgent in a world where 25,000 children die in poverty every day; in a world where American soldiers are killing and dying in an unjust war; in a world where too many people are judged daily by the color of their skin, or the name they give their God, rather than the content of their character.”

Now available from Beacon Press are:

php8fMmcaStride Toward Freedom, Dr. King’s account of the Montgomery bus boycott, a book which should be read not only for its historic value but for what it teaches us about community activism. Like all of the books in the King Legacy, Stride has a new introduction (this one by acclaimed King scholar Clayborne Carson), which places the book in its historic perspective and describes how the book speaks to the twenty-first century.


php7D2P30Where Do We Go From Here, which was first published in paperback by Beacon Press in 1968 and includes a foreword by Coretta Scott King and new introduction by Dr. Vincent Harding, who was a close associate of Dr. King and is the author of many works about him.



To learn more about the King Legacy and Beacon Press, to order books, and to find additional resources on the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr., go here.

A Cozy Evening with a Good Book

Posted bypennefesm on 04 Jan 2010 | Tagged as: Authors, Awards, Literary, MHS press

You may be returning to work this chilly Minnesota morning after a long holiday break away. The start of a new year for those in the north ought to be moved to the Ides of March, so that we can ring in this fresh start without frostbite and windchills. But no matter. While February may be for lovers, we think January is for readers. What better way to come home from long work days this week than with plans to curl up with a bowl of hot soup and a good book?

phpOaeudOWe recommend two groundbreaking memoirs for the month, both award winning and heavily praised, and both focused on the people, their work, and a way of life in the communities of Sleepy Eye and Albert Lea in the state’s southern region. Nicole Helget’s The Summer of Ordinary Ways: A Memoir (Borealis Books) is a controversial but brilliantly written “lyrical story of growing up on a Minnesota farm in the 1980s, where her mother verges on insanity, her five unruly younger sisters get underfoot, and death is a familiar part of life . . . The amalgamation of reminiscences appears random until the final piece, in which Helget weaves an account of her child self with that of her adult self, providing context for the previous memories. Pregnant and married at 19, lonely and isolated, Helget tantalizes with a brief peek at her adulthood, but it’s enough, because the glimpses into her younger life so satisfyingly explain who she has become.”— (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

phpIJe8lqThe second is a tour de force, winner of the American Book Award and the Minnesota Book Award: Cheri Register’s Packinghouse Daughter: A Memoir (MHS Press). Register is a master at revealing the complexities of her past, as the daughter of a Wilson & Co. packinghouse worker in Albert Lea and the first generation of her family to attend college. Her journey reflects the inner conflict felt by a generation propelled into the middle class but who feel “caught between the blue color values of the communities we left behind and our new status as the ‘rich people’ we used to scoff at.” Register writes in the Prologue, after a scene with her father on her Christmas break home from the University of Chicago: “All I know for certain is that at this moment I realized I had truly left home. I would never have to take a job on the sliced bacon line, which was women’s work in the meatpacking industry, nor would I live in dread of a phone call telling me that my husband was on his way to the hospital in an ambulance, having been hit in the head with a carcass or wounded by an errant blade sharp enough to sever joints and slice through bone. But neither could I leave home behind me entirely. . .”

“Cheri Register, in her lovely, deeply moving memoir, has done more than resurrect a buried history of America’s laboring people; in this instance, the bitter 1959-60 Wilson & Co. packinghouse strike in Albert Lea, Minn. At a time in which the two major party candidates for President appealed to the ‘middle class,’ as though there were no other, Register gives rebirth to an old honored phrase in our daily vocabulary: working class.Yes, she is a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy), but to me and, I hope, scores of thousands of readers, she is a Ph.D. (Packinghouse Daughter). This is must reading, especially for the young who have so long been short-changed in the knowledge of labor history.” — Studs Terkel


Twin Cities Book Festival

Posted byAlison Aten on 05 Oct 2009 | Tagged as: Event, Fairs, Literary, MHS press

Twin Cities Book Festival/Rain Taxi siteVisit us at Rain Taxi’s Twin Cities Book Festival this Saturday October 10th, at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College. The day long literary festival will feature notable writers including Robert Olen Butler, Laurie Moore, Nicholson Baker and Ruth Reichl.

Recent MHS Press and Borealis Books featured on our blog will be available for purchase at a 30% discount. For more information, read the Star Tribune article about the event.

Adventures in E-books

Posted byAlison Aten on 18 Aug 2009 | Tagged as: Literary, MHS press, Technology

Pamela McClanahan, our director here at the Minnesota Historical Society Press, spoke with Star Tribune reporter Steve Alexander about the future of e-books and our foray into the e-book market. The MHS Press currently has 50 titles available as e-books, and we plan to have another 50 out by the end of the year. The e-books are currently available as Kindle editions or on the Sony Reader.

Creating Minnesota by Annette Atkins

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