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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wrapping up the Minnesota Book Award nominees: Poetry & Minnesota

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian


Over the past few weeks, Jan and I have told you about the nominees for most of the Minnesota Book Award categories. This week I’ll tell you about two more: the Minnesota category and the poetry category.

The Minnesota award is given to a nonfiction book with a topic on Minnesota history, nature, social customs, or nostalgia. This year’s nominees are Anishinaabe Syndicated by Jim Northrup, The Pillsburys of Minnesota by Lori Sturdevant with George S. Pillsbury, Pioneer Modernists by Julie L’Enfant, and Sisterhood of War by Kim Heikkila. We have the books by Sturdevant and Heikkila.

The Pillsburys of Minnesota tells the history of the Pillsbury family in the milling and lumbering industries in our state. The family was central in making Minneapolis the milling capitol of the world during their heyday. The book also looks at the Pillsburys’ role in Minnesota politics, the University of Minnesota, and cultural institutions and charities in the area. Sturdevant is a Star Tribune columnist.

Sisterhood of War: Minnesota Women in Vietnam tells the stories of 15 military nurses from Minnesota who served in the Vietnam war. The women talk about why they enlisted, their experiences during the war, and how they were changed by it. The book also discusses how this group came together after the war to heal from their experiences and to work for the creation of a national Vietnam Women’s Memorial. Heikkila teaches courses on U.S. history at St. Catherine University.

The poetry award is given to a book of poetry. This year’s nominees are Bodies of Light by Athena Kildegaard, Buddha, Proof by Su Smallen, Invisible Strings by Jim Moore, and Whorled by Ed Bok Lee. We have the books by Moore and Lee.

Invisible Strings: Poems, published by Graywolf Press, is a collection of brief, haiku-like poems. The collection centers on everyday events in our personal lives that connect invisibly to the larger world, with themes of love, loss, and the passage of time. Moore is a resident of both St. Paul and Italy and has had six previous books of poetry published.

Whorled: Poems focuses on our global culture, with thoughts on war, industrialization, technology, and immigration. Lee was raised in South Korea, North Dakota, and Minnesota, and he has studied in Russia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, and America. He is a professor at Metropolitan State University. The Star Tribune listed this among its best books of 2011.

You can find the entire list of nominees for the awards at http://www.thefriends.org/. The winners will be announced this Saturday, April 14th.