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- RECENT RELEASES -

Rocked by the Waters
ed. Hasse & Kildegaard
978-1-947237-26-1 / $19.95

Rocked by the Waters offers 136 poems by a diverse group of writers, all of them mothers, from Minnesota and across the country. Camille T. Dungy, Heid E. Erdrich, Brenda Hillman, Deborah Keenan, Leslie Adrienne Miller, and Connie Wanek are among the contributors. Editors Margaret Hasse and Athena Kildegaard have chosen poems that explore many aspects of motherhood––conception, birth, adoption, the joys and challenges of raising children, loss, and relationships with adult offspring. As the editors remark in their introduction, it’s “a labor of love, born of delights and upheavals, conceived to widen the way for more poems of motherhood.”

From the Flutes of Our Bones
Mary Moore Easter
978-1-947237-30-8 / $17

In her new collection, Mary Moore Easter opens the door on black worlds, adjusting her register to the mood and subject at hand. In some poems she reacts with fury to the American political system, while in others she reflects on the richness of her heritage and depicts episodes in a life punctuated by personal loss and sustained by the renewal of love. Whether the mood is pensive, exuberant, or outraged, Easter’s poems offer us glimpses of black culture burnished with a fresh eye, replacing time-worn stereotypes with lived experience, wit, and craft.

Now I Live Among Old Trees
Norita Dittberner-Jax
978-1-947237-28-5 / $17

In this, her sixth collection of poems, Norita Dittberner-Jax writes of coming to grips with her beloved husband’s last years with ALS and her own diagnosis of cancer. One dies and one lives. In the aftermath, an unfamiliar landscape of solitude. She addresses her absent spouse in many of the poems, talking directly to him, remembering a detail of gardening or table-setting, each quotidian experience a sorrow, but also a courageous sense of affirmation.

What Trees Know
Emilio DeGrazia
978-1-947237-27-8 / $17.00

The poems gathered in Emilio DeGrazia’s latest collection, What Trees Know, take for their subject not only what trees “know” but what they are, how we think about them, and how their quiet presence affects our lives. Such a focus may seem unpromising, but DeGrazia spins a diverse and remarkable array of verses from this common root, trunk, and leaf. Part of the appeal lies in the arboreal “stuff” involved, but no less important are the whimsy, penetration, and verbal dexterity with which DeGrazia plies his craft.

 

Tucker Lake Chronicle
Joan Crosby
978-1-947237-17-9 / $19.95 pb

Fifty years ago, Joan Crosby and her husband, Dick, moved from the Minneapolis suburbs to spend a winter on the outskirts of the BWCAW in a primitive one-room cabin without road access or modern conveniences. She baked pies in a Dutch oven while Dick kept the woodpile topped up. They heard the wolves howl and the loons call, and watched the seasons change. Visits to new-found friends at nearby lodges and wildlife adventures stirred up by their malamute, Nooky, punctuated days that were more often filled with household chores and pine-scented lakeside reveries.

Dear Descendent
Carol Masters
978-1-947237-21-6 / $17.00 pb

In Dear Descendent, Carol Masters draws upon her life as an activist and her love of the natural world to fashion thoughtful overlays and wry juxtapositions that can delight the senses or prick the conscience—often both. There are prison cells and fields of flowers; even her descriptions of the moon bring something new and evocative to its age-old countenance. A master of metaphor, Masters doesn’t shy away from an occasional grand (and whimsical) metaphysical statement. Topping it all off is a surreal and sometimes almost crazy freedom in the use of images.

Crackerjack Bands and Hometown Boosters
Joy Riggs
978-1-947237-22-3 / $19.95

During the early years of the twentieth century, community bands were as important to mid-sized towns as professional sports teams are to large cities today. Here Joy Riggs explores the life and achievements of one of the best—her great-grandfather, G. Oliver Riggs, who founded and directed bands in Crookston, Bemidji, and other Minnesota towns. It’s a story about civic pride, community participation, and the power of music to transform lives and connect people across generations.

Jon Hassler - Voice of the Heartland
Ed Block
978-1-947237-19-3 / $19.95

Jon Hassler was one of the most beloved writers to come out of Minnesota in the twentieth century. Here author Ed Block gives us the first book-length study of his life and work. Block recounts Hassler’s Catholic education and goes on to describe his career as a teacher. The remaining chapters focus on the novels and short stories Hassler crafted from these experiences. Novelist Larry Watson observes that this study “should go a long way toward bringing Hassler’s fiction the attention and respect it deserves.”

A Lifetime of Luck and Pluck
Bette Hammel
978-1-947237-15-5 / $16.95

At the age of 92, Bette Hammel looks back at a life rich with humorous incidents and meaningful encounters, capturing the flavor of the post-war advertising world and the excitement of modern architectural design. She discusses how meeting and marrying architect Richard Hammel changed her life, and touches on the strokes of luck that helped her inveigle her way into Grace Kelly’s wedding with the Prince of Monaco in 1956. Of equal interest are Bette’s adventures in the Betty Crocker kitchens, her weekend producing a TV ad on the North Dakota prairies, the pleasures and challenges of raising her daughter, Susan, becoming a grandmother, and sailing with friends along the Dalmatian Coast.

A People's History of the Seward Neighborhood
ed. Epstein, Matheny, Musser
978-1-947237-07-0 / $27.50

The Seward neighborhood in South Minneapolis has long been known for its liberal politics and community activism. It has been home to railroad porters and socialist agitators, state governors and hippy bicycle mechanics, state-of-the-art recording studios and dairy co-ops with links to the Scandinavian tradition. The essays collected here, written by Seward residents and often based on oral histories, tell the stories of the men and women who followed Dakota trails from Fort Snelling to the Falls of St. Anthony, attended the State Fair during the years it was held in Seward, worshipped at local churches of several faiths and denominations, worked in the local rail yards or at Minneapolis Moline, and swapped stories after work in the bars of the Hub of Hell.

Head of the Lakes
Anthony Bukoski
978-1-947237-06-3 / $19.95

Bukoski does for Superior’s East End what Raymond Carver did for the down-and-out of the Pacific Northwest or Pete Hamill did with the Irish in New York. He’s brought back to life Superior’s Polish Americans and the blue-collar community from its boom days in the post-World War II era to its decline and near disappearance in recent times.

Stars Above, Stars Below
Margaret Hasse
978-1-947237-05-6 / $17

This reissue of Stars Above, Stars Below, originally published in 1984, will reacquaint readers with the early work of Margaret Hasse, one of that remarkable generation of women poets who came of age in the 1970s. Readers approaching her work for the first time are in for a treat, while those who are familiar with her more recent books may recognize some of the same themes: delight in sensual experience, understanding of life’s fragility, appreciation for the largess of memory, and rapt engagement with the natural world, especially the prairies and lakes of the Midwest.

Crossing the Waters
Norita Dittberner-Jax
978-1-935666-98-1
/ $17

Norita Dittberner-Jax’s new collection, Crossing the Waters, chronicles the daily triumphs and setbacks, fears and recollections, that arose when her husband, Gene, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Her first response is a shock so deep / the dreaming shut down…” But the poet, adept at exploring the range of emotions from wistfulness and joy to panic and desperation, regains her bearings to capture details of the roller-coaster days and weeks following the diagnosis. Taken out of context, many of the poems could stand alone as reflections of lost love, memories of excursions shared, and praise for a fleeting moment of laughter or glancing sunlight. Yet other details return our attention repeatedly to our heartbreaking role as witnesses of a loved one’s decline.

Chimes
Michael Dennis Browne
978-1-947237-00-1 / $16

Michael Dennis Browne has gathered together short poems from every phase of his long career into chapters focusing on childhood, nature, private anxieties and irrationalities, extended family, and other themes variously spacious and personal. Some have the ring of nursery rhymes, others the melancholy lilt of an elegy, the blunt force of an occasional poem by Yeats, or the enigmatic resonance of a  passage from scripture.

little eternities
Sharon Chmielarz
978-1-935666-99-8
/ $16

The poet muses on history, memory, language, lost love, and the rain on the roof in this very personal collection. It's chock full of humor and subtle charm, eliciting comparisons to both the brilliant wordplay of Marianne Moore and the subtle metaphysics of Wisława Szymborska.  Humor abounds in poems such as “Size,” which describes the world inhabited by a woman who wears a size 0 dress, and a series of reflections about a Halloween pumpkin containing the line "Humans want their gods to look like them / and lead them through the dark."

 

Nature at Our Doorstep
Matt Schuth
978-1-935666-97-4 $19.95

Naturalist Matt Schuth grew up on a farm near Wabasha, Minnesota, and has worked in various capacities at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum since 1982. Here he draws upon a lifetime of experience in providing solid information about birds, trees, insects and other aspects of the natural world, enlivened by personal experience, homespun humor, myth and folklore, and deep respect for the rural past. Reading the book is like going on a walk with a friend who happens to be an expert observer of the natural world.Read a Star-Tribune piece about Matt here.

Between Us
Margaret Hasse
978-1-935666-91-2 / $17

The themes in Margaret Hasse’s new collection range from European travel to reconnecting with distant friends, from knitting to learning to ride a bike. Always thoughtful, un-labored, fresh, her images stir and occasionally provoke us to share affections and antipathies as they come to life on the printed page.

Chester Creek Ravine
Haiku
Bart Sutter
ISBN: 978-1-935666-75-2
84 pages, $16.00

The 150 haiku contained in this book—tiny poems with large implications—conjure those revelatory moments alongside Chester Creek, a stream that drops dramatically through the city of Duluth on its final run to Lake Superior. Sutter honors the haiku tradition by sticking close to the classical form, alluding to the seasons, and choosing subjects from the natural world, but his haiku are fully contemporary and include surprises, too, while his subtle use of rhyme helps rivet these impressions in the reader’s mind.

Simon's Night & Simon's Night Journal
John Hassler (journal edited by Joe Plut)
978-1-935666-53-0
6x9, 392 pp $19.95

In this Jon Hassler classic, Simon Shea, a retired professor of English at a small Minnesota college, has begun to forget things and also experiences a few dangerous lapses in judgment. He commits himself to a private rest home where his encounters with other residents are variously strange, comical, and frightening. This new edition is further enhanced by Joe Plut’s thoughtful introduction and the inclusion of Hassler’s own “Simon’s Night Journal,” which offers insights into the author’s thought processes during the novel’s long gestation period.

Green Stamps to Hot Pants
Growing Up in the 50s and 60s

Genny Zak Kieley
$19.95 (pb) 192 pp
ISBN 978-1-932472-73-8
Intermixing social research and personal nostalgia, Genny Kieley creates a portrait of a simpler era, of ice-cream socials and twice-a-day newspaper delivery, sock hops and doo-wop music, first loves, first heartbreaks, and afternoon parties fueled by 45s. Cars had fins and television had just arrived.

The Seven States of Minnesota
John Toren
ISBN 978-1-932472-51-7 $19.95 (pb)
Revised edition, June, 2010

In this collection of driving tours, complete with maps and photographs, Toren explores Minnesota's exotic landscapes, taking us from the roadless splendor of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area to the majestic bluffs of the Mississippi Valley, and from the gaping mines of the Mesabi Iron Range to the quiet allure of the aspen parklands and the Coteau des Prairie, with plenty of insights and observations on the state's geography, history, and culture along the way.

Wild Rice for All Seasons Cookbook
Beth Anderson
180 pages (pb) / $12.95
ISBN:978- 1-932472-26-6

This classic, now in its 14th printing, takes us beyond soup and holiday stuffing to an entire new universe of tasy dishes featuring Minnesota’s home-grown grain. More than 150,000 copies now in print.

Grow it! Eat It!
Linda Larson /Jessica Allen Johnson / Arlene Gardinier
144 pages / $16.95
1-932472-33-9


Linda Larson’s gardening book includes information about planting, harvesting and cooking a wide array of fruits and vegetables, with added sections on culinary and medicinal herbs and flowers. The volume is enhanced by brilliant photographs and lush pastel drawings of individual plants. Geared toward zones 3 and 4. Winner of the Ben Franklin Award / Best Gardening Book of 2005
   

Lucia Morning in Sweden
Ewa Rydaker
978-1-935666-65-3
8.5 x 11, 36 pages, $8.99

The book tells the story of Sankta Lucia through the eyes of three children in modern-day Sweden. It describes their giddy activities, brought to life in colorful, full-page illustrations, and also provides sheet music, recipes, and sewing patterns for the costumes traditionally worn by children on this day, when many Swedish people celebrate the legacy of Lucia and the coming of the light with coffee, saffron buns, ginger snaps, and wonderful singing.

 

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