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FEATURED BOOKS AND AUTHORS
In Plains Sight | Bonnie Larson Staiger
In a rich yet often austere setting of the Great Plains, Bonnie Larson Staiger’s second poetry collection–In Plains Sight–brings those realities into full view through the lens of the prairie ethos. In moments when the natural world confounds the objective and logical world, she brings us into an encounter with a coyote, a sub-zero walk after a blizzard, or a humorous swipe at a fast-food restaurant.
Last Poems | Timothy Murphy
As described by the collection editor, poet and translator Catherine Chandler, Last Poems is a veritable journal intime, albeit one that Timothy Murphy wished to share with his readers. In his unmistakable voice, and often in stark language almost too painful to read, Tim chronicles his physical, spiritual, and emotional life during his final months, beginning on the day of his cancer diagnosis in early January 2018, through his various treatments, and ultimately his decision to withdraw from clinical trials. . . . Let [Last Poems] be my Last Will and Testament, Murphy writes in “Envoi.” And so it is. Last Poems bears witness—with grace, grit, and gratitude—to the life and loves of this major North American poet.
The Night We Landed on the Moon: Essays between Exile & Belonging | Debra Marquart
Fans of Debra Marquart’s landmark memoir, The Horizontal World, will rejoice over the publication of The Night We Landed on the Moon—shapeshifting essays that travel from the blizzardy Midwest to sweltering Siberia, from a flooding Michigan basement to the panic-inducing Paris Catacombs, from her life as a rebellious farmer’s daughter to hard rock musician to professor and poet laureate. Every page is full of story and insight, laced with wit, as Marquart meditates on the hungers of home and wanderlust, the way her Germans-from-Russia family is “preserved in their hyphenations,” the poetic strangeness of basketball, the insidiousness of fracking boomtowns, and the ironies of a nostalgia called heimat. The individual essays are astonishing, the collection as a whole profound.” —K. L. Cook, author of Marrying Kind and The Art of Disobedience
A Field Guide to Custer’s Camps: On the March to the Little Bighorn | Don Weinell
Dust off your bicycle, or muddy it up, however you prefer to hit the trail. Don Weinell, a long-distance bicyclist, biked the trail described in A Field Guide to Custer’s Camps: On the March to the Little Bighorn, keeping a log of his experiences and GPS locations, which inform this travel narrative. Weinell’s on-the-ground method of exploring history puts him in contact with the elements, the terrain, and the physical demands of cross-country travel. For readers not quite ready to don rain jackets, cold- and hot-weather wear, or snakebite kits, this field guide is the next best thing to following the trail in person.
Prairie Madness | Katherine Hoerth
About a year ago, Katherine Hoerth moved to Nebraska from Texas; her poems chronicle the experience of adjusting to life on the Great Plains amid the isolation and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The term “prairie madness” feels, Hoerth observes, particularly fitting as it was once used to describe the “madness” of women pioneers of Nebraska and Kansas who endured extreme isolation.
Prairie Madness is the sixth volume of our Poetry of the Plains & Prairies letterpress chapbook series. Each copy is unique, with hand-assembled pressed flowers.
The Trouble with Daydreams: Collected and New Poems | Mark Vinz
An icon of literary culture on the northern plains, Mark Vinz observes the details—be they dreary or delightful—of real life. Through concise language and powerful imagery, he conveys his memories, marked more by the present than the past, with clarity and affection.
We Are Called . . . To Do the Right Thing: A Practical Guide for Leaders Based on Personal Reflections & Experience from a Longtime Higher Education Leader | Prakash Mathew
Prakash Mathew’s debut guide on leadership offers a compelling invitation to principled leadership with prudent and practical habits, gleaned from his almost four decades of student affairs work in higher education. We Are Called illustrates lessons in leadership with stories from a life well lived. Expounding on his 80/20 Principle, Prakash provides a plan for doing the right things for the right reasons.
We Are Called is of interest to leaders in higher education institutions (public and private), business leaders and organizations, religious organizations, start-up companies, search firms, and any organization seeking a change process, and as a training resource for boards, councils, and commissions.
Price Per Barrel: The Human Cost of Extraction | Robin Lynn Behl
First responders, once called to duty, refuse to abandon their posts, even when their towns change around them. They rise far and above their job descriptions, putting aside their own PTSD until the boom is over. But the trauma they endure at the hands of newcomers and outsiders is real, persistent, and contagious. Emergency response is the kind of work that will change a person, the kind of work that leaves an indelible mark. Each person in that profession finds some way to cope with the horrors of mankind. Or, they don’t survive.
Robin Lynn Behl’s means of coping was to drive. For years, she drove long distances across the country, across the continent, until she had seen all fifty states and every province in Canada. Her years on the road included six months living in her truck and talking to the people on the front lines. Along the way, she ran into friends–her brothers and sisters—in the badge. She found the other people who were still doing the work she had done, and they started to tell her their stories. By telling their story, she can tell hers, and maybe be rid of the burdens.
A Song for Liv | Wayne Gudmundson
“A Song for Liv by Wayne Gudmundson is a love letter to his daughter, Liv. Serendipitously, the modern Nordic name Liv also means ‘life.’ As well as a gift to his daughter, A Song for Liv, is a personal meditation on place, the search for personal and ethnic identity, and the complexities therein, much of which is located in the mists (and myths) of time with only the ancient landscapes of those stories remaining. Combining travel notes, Icelandic history and lore, and family relationships, Gudmundson’s form here—best characterized as hybrid—weaves a tapestry that is at once inviting and accessible, each page entry a stanza-like lyric of the larger song.”
—Thom Tammaro, three-time Minnesota Book Award recipient and author of When the Italians Came to My Home Town and Italian Days & Hours
“Written as a gift from a father to his daughter, A Song for Liv gathers up what wisdom and understanding a father can offer. His story begins its search for ancestral places in the Faroe Islands, where Gudmundson explores his investment in the larger Scandinavian world, having claimed a portion of the Faroes as his own. The narrative of the Norse invasion of Scandinavia continues on through Iceland to Canada to the settlement of Gimli, Manitoba, and from there to a small church in North Dakota, the home of Gudmundson’s grandparents and the protean poet K.N., whose spirit hovers over the entire narrative.”
—David Arnason, writer, professor, and Viking from Gimli, Manitoba
Note from NDSU Publisher Suzzanne Kelley
Tune in today for this weekend’s edition of Prairie Public Presents, and you’ll see author/artist/academic Denise Lajimodiere read from her newest book with NDSU Press: His Feathers Were Chains. The program is a recording of Denise’s recent performance at the Plains Art Museum, kicking off local programming for the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read.
I had the good fortune of attending Denise’s reading, with fabulous musical interpretations from musicians and composers at Concordia College AND drummers and jingle dress dancers. Here is a link to tonight’s program on Prairie Public and, below this message, you’ll find some photos I took on the night of the original performance.
from our friends at North Dakota State University Relations…
The annual NDSU Press Party, scheduled for Thursday, March 4, will be held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, now in its 6th year, will feature readings by four NDSU Press authors and a presentation by the NDSU Press cover designer.
Participants are asked to register.
NDSU Press publisher Suzzanne Kelley is set to begin the party at 7 p.m.
“We’ll miss our Cat Sank Trio musician friends and the delicious hors d’oeuvres from NDSU Catering, but we’ll relish the opportunity to hear our authors share their inspirations for—and some passages from—their newest publications,” Kelley said. “Attendees will learn the secret code for discount prices and we’ll interrupt the program briefly for some giveaways, too.”
Her welcome will be followed by readings presented by:
• Denise Lajimodiere, who wrote “His Feathers Were Chains”
• Paul Legler, who wrote “Half the Terrible Things”
• Jamie Trosen, graphics artist, will give a talk on book cover design
• Carolyn Dahl, who wrote a book of poetry titled “A Muddy Kind of Love”
• Timothy Murphy’s family and friends will read from his book “Hiking All Night”
The NDSU Press Party is expected to conclude about 8:30 p.m.
As a student-focused, land-grant, research university, we serve our citizens.
from Suzzanne Kelley, Publisher, and Allan Burke, Retired Newspaper Publisher and Consultant/Operator for Our Chapbook Publication Projects
While our blog title for today sounds like a crime-fighting duo, in reality, we are talking about chapbook press operations. In a typical year, our Intro to Publishing students would be caravanning to Braddock, ND, where they would print hundreds of pages at the Braddock News Letterpress Museum. This year being atypical, however, we have implemented Plan B.
Thanks to the folks at Flash Printing in Bismarck and to operators and consultants Mike Frykman and Allan Burke, our interior pages for A Muddy Kind of Love are being letterpress printed on a Heidelberg with some regional history.
Flash Printing is the proud owner of a Heidelberg letterpress, which they usually use for numbering, perforating, scoring, and die cutting. This weekend, with two new ink rollers that Allan brought to Flash from the Braddock News Letterpress Museum (Braddock, ND), this project is Back to the Future for the press.
The Heidelberg was bought brand new by the monks of the Benedictine Monastery at Assumption Abbey, Richardton, and Flash is its second home. One or more of the Flash owners attended high school at the abbey, which once had both a high school and a college. Several of the Iron Men—from the South Central Threshing Association—who aid and abet the operations at Braddock News, also attended the abbey’s high school, and one was the general contractor for one or more buildings on the abbey’s campus. Braddock Letterpress Museum founders hold the abbey’s folder in storage, awaiting restoration.
Today, even as we write, Allan and Mike are letterpress printing the interior pages of A Muddy Kind of Love—the Poetry of the Plains & Prairies Award won by poet Carolyn A. Dahl—on the Heidelberg press. Through the magic of UPS overnight deliveries between Bismarck, Houston, and Fargo, we anticipate having fully printed, assembled, trimmed, and individually autographed and numbered copies available on December 10. Join Carolyn, Allan, Suzzanne, and our Intro to Publishing students on Saturday, December 12, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. CST for a visit with all and a book-launch-reading by Carolyn Dahl. You can register in advance for this meeting here. Free and open to the public.
Copies of A Muddy Kind of Love are available for pre-sales ordering at our NDSU Press online store.
About the author:
Carolyn Dahl was the Grand Prize winner in the national ARTlines2 poetry contest and a finalist in the PEN Texas Literary competition and the Malovrh-Fenlon Poetry Prize. Her chapbook, Art Preserves What Can’t Be Saved, won first place in the Press Women of Texas contest and the National Federation of Press Women’s Communications contest, chapbook division. She is the co-author of The Painted Door Opened: Poetry and Art, the author of three art books, and has been published in many anthologies and literary journals. Raised in Minnesota, she now writes from Texas where she raises monarch butterflies, sending them north to Midwest habitats. www.carolyndahlstudio.com.
A Muddy Kind of Love is the winner of the 2020 Poetry of the Plains & Prairies Award, hosted by North Dakota State University Press.
About the Intro to Publishing class:
Students—graduate and undergraduate—are able to gain experiential learning through our Intro to Publishing class, where they learn the history, business, and practice of small press publishing. The Intro is part of a series of required classes to earn our Certificate in Publishing, which is offered in conjunction with the day-to-day activities of NDSU Press. We could not take our usual class photo this year, as we only met face-to-face in small groups and at all the distance we could muster. Students from the class printed the covers for A Muddy Kind of Love on a Saturday in October using an 1890s Chandler & Price letterpress located at Hunter Times Museum, Bonanzaville, West Fargo. In light of our need to work at some distance, we invited Mikaila Norman to utilize her caricature-drawing skills to depict our chapbook project crew. If you are interested in earning the Certificate in Publishing offered via the daily activities of NDSU press, check out the descriptions here and here.
Top, left to right, Undergraduates: Meghan Arbegast, Jamie Askew, Grace Boysen, Megan Brown, Jake Elkin. Row 2: Abigail Keys, Shawnia Klug, Sydney Larson, Jack Payette, Corrine Redding. Row 3: Kiri Scott, Madeline Wright. Graduate students: Lis Fricker, Oliver Sime, Elle West. Row 4: Allan Burke and Mike Frykman (Press Operators/Consultants); Dr. Suzzanne Kelley (NDSU Press Publisher/Instructor), Kalley Miller (Teaching Assistant), Zachary Vietz (Graduate Assistant in Publicity and Press Operator/Consultant).
Publisher note from Suzzanne Kelley
Welcome to the Folk School on Willow Creek, featuring University Distinguished Professor Tom Isern, singing and telling stories from the Salon on Willow Creek. Every Friday evening, 8:00 p.m. Central Time, Isern belts out ballads and tells the backstories of the lyrics, the authors, and the people of the plains who sang the songs. This Friday, July 25, he’ll feature “The Letter Edged in Black.” Do you know the significance of the edging? Tune in . . . you’ll find out. The Folk School lasts about 30 minutes, but you’ll wish it lasted longer. This week’s program is the 14th in the series.
Here is a link to Prairie Public’s Main Street, where host Doug Hamilton interviewed Isern just this week about the Folk School.
And here is a link to the Folk School page on Facebook.
We’re proud to be among the hosts for this presentation by Dr. Gerard Baker, Yellow Wolf (Hidatsa-Mandan). Baker, former National Park Service head of American Indian Relations, will give his talk, titled “Yellow Wolf: A National Park Service Superintendent’s Story,” starting at 7 p.m. in Room 230 of NDSU’s Minard Hall. This event is free and open to the public.
Hosted by NDSU departments, organizations, and college:
Faculty Senate Native American Ad Hoc Committee’