Elinor Benedict to Michigander Monday!
Debbie: Elinor, please tell us a little about yourself.
Elinor: I have about three states to my name now. Born and grew up in East Tennessee, mountain country. Lived there until I married another Tennessean, Sam Benedict, and went to seek our fortune in Ohio until we moved with his company, Mead Paper Corp, which ultimately took us to Escanaba, Michigan, in the UP!
We've lived there for almost 40 years, so we are really Yoopers now. Except we now spend the winters in Florida. But most of my poems are about the UP. If you heard me talk, you'd say: "Why does she have a Southern accent?" Now you know.
Debbie: And please tell us about your books.
Elinor: My first complete collection of poems (after some chapbooks) was All That Divides Us. It's about China and an aunt who married a Chinese man who was studying in America back in the 30's. So I have Chinese cousins, and the book is about how that is. Of course the book has a lot of history and cultural interplay in it. My second collection is about the Upper Peninsula mostly, and family. It's called Late News from the Wilderness. Several kinds of wildernesses. I'm trying now to put together a third collection, probably called Early Girl, if I last that long to put it together.
I don't want to forgot the most important thing--the forthcoming anthology Here, with work by UP women writers. What a dynamo that Ron Riekki is, who put the whole thing together in a work-intensive process! I just got through going over the proof, and I think it will be a credit to our region and state--and anywhere.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Elinor: I'm going to Florida in a few days for the winter. That doesn't mean I'm a turncoat. It means I'm getting old and need to avoid freezing. I have given a few readings there--but hope to work on the next book and not gallivant around too much.
Debbie: Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?
Elinor: My favorite bookstore is Canterbury Bookstore in Escanaba, but I hear there's a super one up in Munising now--one that has a delightful ambience. The library in Escanaba is wonderful, though. It's got amazingly fine collections and personnel. Also they have sponsored readings from time to time.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Elinor: Well, my home is my favorite location in Michigan. We're on the top of Lake Michigan and so we have water AND trees. The trees were beautiful here this fall--but winter is coming fast.
US Highway 2 and Interstate 75 all the way to the Ohio border.
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Elinor: Oh, yeah--when family (including Great-Grandaughter Norah) comes to visit us at our home, described above.
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Elinor: Wendy Irish is a good person to know. She just hiked the John Muir Trail (alone!) in California and is a true nature girl. She now lives in Munising and is painting her house tomorrow.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Elinor: There are a lot of different kind of scenes and places in Michigan, and lots of people from other places that live here now. Cities and wild lands both.
Debbie: Last question. Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders, others as Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a Michigander or a Michiganian?
Elinor: I am a mixed-breed. North and South. Maybe a Michi-goose. Something like that.
Debbie: Elinor, we will add you to the Michi-goose column. Thank you so much for joining us for Michi-goose Monday!