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Posts tagged: Poetry

Hucks: Wallace Poems Harken Back

A book of poetry about “Wallace, Idaho,” that recalls the bygone houses of prostitution begs reading: “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.” Whidbey Island, Wash., poet Linda (Hall) Beeman wrote those lines in “Hook Houses.” In a telephone interview, she told Huckleberries that she didn’t visit the Oasis, Lux and Sahara to sell school candy while growing up in Wallace, 1952-’65. But a classmate named Bruce did. Beeman was inspired to celebrate Wallace in rhyme after returning to her hometown for the centennial of the August 1910 fire. “That set off a series of memories and flashbacks. It flowed pretty naturally,” she said. Late mining magnate Harry Magnuson earned an entry: “His accounting and penny stock savvy/build inroads and a fortune.” And “Miners,” she wrote, “unhinge me/their raw edginess a glimpse into hot dark underground.” Linda penned poems about the 1972 mining disaster, the 1910 fire, I-90 and the Cataldo Mission, too/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.

More weekend SR columns:

Question: Do you read poetry?

HucksOnline Interviews Linda Beeman

Huckleberries contacted poet Linda (Hall) Beeman, formerly of Wallace, who has written a book of rhymes, entitled “Wallace, Idaho.” Here's the phone interview from moments ago:

Huckleberries: What inspired you to pen a book of poems about Wallace, Idaho?

Linda Beeman: I came back for the centennial celebration of the 1910 fire a few years ago. That set off a series of memories and flashbacks. It flowed pretty naturally. I also read several books about Wallace and the area, like Timothy Egan's “The Big Burn.” I was amazed how much I didn't know about my home town.”

  • Huckleberries: How long did you live in Wallace?
  • Linda Beeman: I was 5 when we moved there in 1952 until I graduated from high school 1965.
  • Huckleberries: Did you actually go to Wallace's infamous houses looking for school donations?
  • Linda Beeman: I did not but Bruce Austin did. I went door-to-door in our neighborhood. Bruce was in my class. I think he ended up living in Spokane and selling insurance. He was a real entrepreneur. He would go to the houses — and our class always won prizes for selling the most candy.
  • Huckleberries: Which poem in the book is your favorite?
  • Linda Beeman: The one about my father, “R.G.” He was a poignant subject for me. He was a careful, prudent man. I think he always longed for a wider world. He was in the Navy. After that, I felt like he settled in order to provide a good home for my mother and myself.
  • Huckleberries: Have you written any other poetry?
  • Linda Beeman: Yes, but this is my first book. I have some collections but they've never been published like that before.
  • Huckleberries: What took you away from the Silver Valley?
  • Linda Beeman: Mills College in Oakland, Calif. I now live on Whidbey Island.
  • Huckleberries: Is there any North Idaho/Spokane book store selling “Wallace, Idaho”?
  • Linda Beeman: I'm working on it. I'm talking to Aunties in Spokane. I'm sure next summer I will be doing some readings in Missoula, Moscow and Boise.
  • More information including how to buy Linda's book here.

Wallace, Idaho

Linda L. Beeman's booklet of poems re: “Wallace, Idaho” has just arrived. Top-notched rhymes of the Great Fire, prostitutes & Uncle Bunker, including “Hook House,” which begins:

“Every 12-year-olds charged/With selling something to benefit anything/Knew   like the Lord’s Prayer/The first steps you climbed led to brothel doors”

And: “On the Rocks,” which begins:

“By 1955 only weathered screeds/painted on the odd boulder/denouncing Wobblies survived/hinting at savage battles—/union versus mine owner.”

And: “Harry,” which begins:

“Harry lived down the block at First and Bank/grandson of one of those Bull penned/miners caught up in early labor wars.”

If you love history and/or Wallace, “Wallace, Idaho” is a must read. It's available from for $10, plus shipping and handling, or signed copies can be ordered from the author,, for $14, including shipping and handling. And you can tell Linda that Huckleberries sent you. More info here.


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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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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