This week we are celebrating Milkweed Editions’ publication of Fiction on a Stick, an anthology of stories by Minnesota writers, by featuring some of the contributors. Today we’ve got Kaethe Schwehn, who earned a B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College and an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her work has appeared in jubilat, Flim Forum, Crazyhorse, Forklift, Ohio, Sojourners, Faultline, and The Literary Review and she has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and the Donald Justice Poetry Prize. She teaches at St. Olaf College in Northfield where she lives with her husband, Peder, and their dog, Luxy.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
a mercy by Toni Morrison. I've been looking for a book that successfully moves between first and third person; Morrison does a fantastic job in this one. I've been taking lots of notes.
Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? Who?
In college, I completely had a crush on Edna Pontellier from The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Edna just seemed so romantic and sexual and conflicted and doomed. It's probably a good thing Minnesota doesn't have any oceans.
If your favorite author came to Minnesota, who would it be and what bar would you take him/her to?
I'd have to go with Sarah Shun-lien Bynum. I adore Madeleine is Sleeping and I just finished Ms. Hempel Chronicles, which I found equally fabulous. I live in Northfield so I'd probably take her to The Cow. They serve free popcorn so if there were any awkward silences, we could simply pretend to be eating.
editor’s gratuitous aside: I love this answer because I just picked up Madeleine is Sleeping and now I can’t wait to read it. I discovered Sarah Shun-lien Bynum by reading her Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay about Ms. Hempel Chronicles
What was your first favorite book?
Wow. That's tough. I remember loving In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak. I re-read it a few years ago and found it to be incredibly sensual and surreal but when I was younger, falling out of one's clothes and into a bowl of batter seemed like a pretty normal occurrence.
Let’s say Fahrenheit 451 comes to life, which book would you become in order to save it from annihilation?
I'm going to say “The Collected Works of Shakespeare.” Is that cheating?
What is one book you haven’t read but want to read before you die?
Ulysses. Actually, I just want to be the kind of person who reads Ulysses for fun. I have a long ways to go.
ah, edna. i think i read “the awakening” about five times in college for the same reason.