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Prose, Poetry & Purpose – Patricia Henley & Ted Olinger
March 16th, 2014 by March Twisdale
Patricia Henley is the author of two chapbooks of poetry, four short story collections, two novels, a stage play, and numerous essays. Her first book of stories, Friday Night at Silver Star (Graywolf, 1986), was the winner of the Montana First Book Award. Her first novel, Hummingbird House (MacMurray & Beck, 1999), was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent publications include an essay in Smithsonian Magazine and short stories in Glimmer Train, Seattle Review, and The Normal School. In 2011 Engine Books published a collection of her short stories entitled OTHER HEARTBREAKS. Lacewing Books will publish her first YA novel — WHERE WICKED STARTS — in 2014. She co-authored WHERE WICKED STARTS with Florida writer Elizabeth Stuckey-French. She taught for 27 years in the MFA Program at Purdue University. She lives in Cincinnati.
Ted Olinger has been writing about life on the shores of Puget Sound since 1991. His work has appeared in House magazine, Sea Kayaker, Canoe & Kayak, on Wetdawg.com, and in regional newspapers. His book was a finalist in the 2013 Indie Excellence Awards and selected as one of the top ten new books by independent authors by The UK Bookbag Review. Olinger is a three-time winner of the annual Port Townsend Cardboard Kayak Race and in 2010 won the infamous Key Peninsula Chili Cook-off Championship. Ted and his family live on the Key Peninsula in South Puget Sound with a rotating cast of dogs, a fleet of half-built boats, and three generations of Northern Flicker woodpeckers.
The Woodpecker Menace is a collection of short stories about small town life on a peninsula in Puget Sound that’s too small to have a town. It’s a place where anarchist loggers nail protest poems to roadside trees; where wandering salmon swim up roads to reach their home waters; and where a shamanic gardener works to heal a damaged world one lawn at a time. Linking them all are the adventures of a young family grappling with rural life as they absorb lessons about love and loss through the depredations of a lovelorn woodpecker who settles in on their roof.
Kirkus Reviews said, “Olinger uses wit and warmth to weave a picture of rural life that is both charming and moving.”
Foreword Review called The Woodpecker Menace, “Quirky, tightly crafted stories that celebrate the profound beauty of simple moments.”