Monday, March 4, 2013

Prairie praise

The Music of Failure
Welcome. Thanks for stopping by. Have you ever visited Minnesota's western prairie country? Have you read the prairie works of Bill Holm, Robert Bly, or Paul Gruchow. If not, you're missing some of My Minnesota's most amazing and indigenous experiences. Although I've read much of his other work, I just started reading Holm's first book of essays, The Music of Failure. Minneota, Bill's home town, has been a "drive by"each time I was traveling in the vicinity of Marshall, Montevideo, and Lac Qui Parle. I don't recall ever stopping. After reading his version of The Grand Tour, I regret the omission, although without Bill's detailed description, I'm sure I would have missed many of the details that make small towns best known to those who live there. It seems to me that Paul Gruchow's Journal of a Prairie Year should be required reading for everyone that lives in Minnesota. My first copy sort of fell apart from overuse. It's one of the few books I've bothered to replace. The newer edition has a wonderful Foreward by Scott Russell Sanders, a very welcome addition. I wish that we could replace the tall grass prairie as readily as Paul wrote about its remaining remnants and the country that surrounds them. And, neither last nor least, across the silent, snowy fields of western Minnesota, we see Robert Bly, Minnesota's first poet laureate, and raconteur extraordinaire. Poetry, simplicity, natural world, natural words and mysticism help make Bly's poems about life on the western edge of Minnesota an invitation to read close and deep. As Spring begins to freshen in Minnesota, a trip to the library or your local independent bookstore for something prairie-focused from one of these three Minnesota treasures will help you appreciate and treasure the wonderful mystery that begins near the western border of our Minnesota and continues a thousand miles up to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. If your library card has expired, and you don't live near an independent bookstore, you can explore here. But even better would be to spend some of Spring on the prairie. You can catch up on the raves and rants at My Minnesota when you return.