What We’re Reading: Anthologies, Part 1
I researched a bunch of anthologies once for an undergraduate literature class, and I found that there is literally an anthology for EVERYTHING. And so I give you Part 1 of my anthology findings, with the “Midwesterner’s Guide to Anthologies.”
Low Down and Coming On: A Feast of Delicious and Dangerous Poems About Pigs, edited by James P. Lenfestey, published by Red Dragonfly Press
This anthology is, well, a bunch of poems about pigs. Lenfestey, a local poet, gives us a lot to chew on with this book from the local Red Dragonfly Press, a press that I not-so-secretly love. Lenfestey gathered porky poems from big names like Billy Collins, William Blake, Pablo Neruda, and Denise Levertov, along with local names such as Michael Dennis Brown, Louise Erdrich, Joyce Sutphen, Robert Hedin, Bill Holm, and Robert Bly. My pig vocabulary has exponentially grown after reading this anthology – who knew there were so many ways to say bacon? Sow, swine, farrow, gilt, trotters, sty – and the list goes on and on, much to my delight. The poets may not all be Midwestern, but the subject matter sure is. And you can’t help but love it.
Fiction on a Stick: Stories by Writers from Minnesota, edited by Daniel Slager, published by Milkweed Editions
Taking its name from the Great Minnesota Get-Together, this anthology is teeming with varying flavors of a Minnesota hotdish, yet with a refreshing, lovable, multi-layered quality thanks to our talented Minnesota writers. The title character of “Betty Garcia,” a short story by John Reimringer, turns up in his recent novel, Vestments, also published by Milkweed Editions, that has gained a lot of literary attention. “Zamboni Blues” by Robert Voedisch, a story about a burnt-out dude from a rock/drag band driving a Zamboni for a living, was one of my favorites.
Dacotah Territory: A 10 Year Anthology, edited by Mark Vinz and Grayce Ray, published by North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies
An older anthology, this is for the ultimate outdoorsy Midwesterner who loves poetry. An anthology collecting 10 years’ worth of the literary magazine of the same name, this, too, offers a great sampling of familiar local names: Robert Bly, Michael Dennis Browne, and Patricia Hampl, along with two of my favorite poets, Ted Kooser and W. S. Merwin. The introduction also gives a long history of the magazine, which is interesting and helpful to someone like myself who wants to start their own lit mag.