August events: Todd Boss poems, a Tim O’Brien award and a words showdown

August is already shaping up to be an interesting month in local literature.

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Todd Boss

Yesterday, the Star Tribune marked the fifth anniversary of the collapse of the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi with a selection of five poems by Todd Boss. Poetry in a daily seems positively 18th century; what a very nice touch. Boss has two widely admired poetry collections out, and his work has appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry, NPR and The London Times. This Wisconsin farm-boy-turned-poet lives in St. Paul and will read from his work at Maeve’s in Northeast on Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m.

Also on Wednesday Tim O’Brien was named this year’s recipient of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize lifetime achievement award. His writings about the Vietnam War, including “Going After Cacciato,” “The Things They Carried” and “If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home,” have been a tremendous influence on subsequent war writers, and perhaps on prospective soldiers. O’Brien currently lives and teaches in Texas, but he was raised in Austin, Minn., and educated at Macalester and he still belongs to us.

Tim O’Brien

Tonight Robert Goolrick will read from his latest book, “Heading Out to Wonderful,” at Magers & Quinn. He’s best known for the very creepy pioneer tale, “A Reliable Wife,” and the new one explores similarly dark territory in a post-War II small town setting.

On Aug. 10, the Center for the Book Arts will unveil four exhibits of collaborative bookmaking, including works by Thomas Rose and Wilber H. Schilling, Harriet Bart, works by the Burlesque Design group
and the Manulua Project, a fusion of Western bookmaking techniques and traditional Tongan bark cloth and patterns.

On Aug. 16, the Loft is hosting the Ultimate Master of Words, a showdown between fancy talkers John Munson, Andy Sturdevant, Maggie Ryan Sandford, and Sierra DeMulde and others, judged by Marianne Combs, Lorna Landvik, and Anatoly Liberman. Audience members are encouraged to add their influence — loudly, and with the help of an open bar. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Jonathan Odell will read at the Rum River Library in Anoka on Aug. 18, 2 p.m. Odell’s “The View From Delphi” explored race in pre-civil-rights era Mississippi. His new one, “The Healing,” deals with the way storytelling helps oppressed peoples.

Literary magazines are making a comeback. This month, the Fugue celebrates its first issue at Mager & Quinn, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 15. The magazine is put together by Sic Semper Serpent, which runs the Spontaneous Combustion 24-hour short story writing events. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story included reference to a Firecracker magazine event. We have learned that the event has been canceled. 

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