Synopses & Reviews
Poe Ballantine's second collection of personal essays follows, and expands on, his acclaimed Things I Like About America. Ballantine's world is a crazy quilt of odd jobs, eccentric characters, boarding houses, buses, and beer, rendered in the author's by turns absurd and poignant voice. "The Irving" briskly details the author's diabolic plan to punch John Irving in the nose after opening for him before an audience of 2,000 people at the prestigious Wordstock Festival. "Wide-Eyed in the Gaudy Shop" takes readers on a wild ride through Mexico as Ballantine meets and marries his wife Christina. "Blessed Meadows for Minor Poets" offers a devastating take on the author's life as his years of struggle to secure a major contract for a short story collection end in catastrophe. The writer the Seattle Times called "part Huck Finn, part Hunter S. Thompson" brings a blistering wit and shrewd observation to this composite portrait of an unconventional life.
"Ballantine is never far from the trenches...the essays are readable and entertaining and contain occasional moments of startling beauty and insight. Still, the themes of addiction (to substances, people, new starts, the prospect of fame), dissatisfaction, and nihilism may limit the work's appeal; as with writers such as Chuck Palahniuk, some will become rabid devotees, while others will be turned off. Library Journal
"This book appears to be more about beer and striking out with women than theological issues, however I'm convinced that this honest quest, this clear-eyed and blasted view from the gutter, might very well be a crumb in the vast crystalline matrix of the New World Order." Dr. Edward Varga Sage, Professor of Divinity, Holy Mother of God University
About the Author
Poe Ballantine currently lives in Chadron, Nebraska. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly Online, The Sun, Kenyon Review, and The Coal City Review. In addition to garnering numerous Pushcart and O. Henry nominations, Ballantine's work has been included in the 1998 Best American Short Story and 2006 Best American Essay anthologies.