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Poems Celebrate ‘Wallace, Idaho’

Readers can feel the personal witnessing of history, says Frances McCue of Linda Beeman’s just published book of poems, “Wallace, Idaho,” and it’s really powerful. Beeman mixes the journalistic, historic and lyric to tell the story of a mythic, rough-and-tumble mining town that enriched the Inland Empire with its vast silver deposits and the vivid people attracted by them. Her keen observations could only have come from a native daughter. She writes about Wallace’s early labor wars, the devastating 1910 fire that consumed the town, and a Sunshine Mine disaster that asphyxiated 91 miners. Interspersed with those dramatic events are quieter memories of a 1960s childhood, such as

every 12-year-old charged

with selling something to benefit anything

knew like the Lord’s Prayer

the first steps you climbed led to brothel doors

This collection pays homage to a time, a way of life and a gritty place with fondness and grace. Wallace, Idaho is available from for $10, or signed copies can be ordered from the author,, for $14, including shipping and handling.

Question: What is the last poem -- or book of poems -- that you've read?

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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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