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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Book notes: We asked, you answered – yes to limericks

Our readers have spoken. And so by popular demand, we will hold a 2008 Spokesman-Review Limericks Contest.

We’ll see how things go before we commit to anything past that.

I had nearly two dozen e-mails and letters requesting, some almost pleading, that we continue the contest we began 11 years ago. Several made their requests in limerick form.

Reader Barbara Boltin wrote:

“Though humor’s low rung is the pun

(With the limerick we’ll never be Donne),

We simply can’t stow it

To be a ‘great poet,’

For silly is really fine fun.”

And the aptly named Paddy Inman added:

“Limericks should create a laugh dimple,

Quite easy if the subject is simple,

Pick a topic with humor,

Blithesome poets will rumor,

‘We love fun. Keep the contest. It’s simple!’ “

OK, then. Since 2008 is a presidential election year, let’s use that as a topic: “An Inland Northwest voter’s guide to 2008 presidential politics.”

One change this year: We’ll hold three different contests. One will be for students grade 6 and below. One will be for students grade 7 and above. And the final will be an open competition for everyone else.

As in recent years, we’ll offer prizes in each category: $75 in Auntie’s Bookstore gift certificates for the open winner, $50 for the middle and high school winner, $25 for the top grade-schooler. Second and third places in each category will earn Irish-themed books from Auntie’s.

We’ll start accepting entries immediately. Final deadline will be noon on March 10. We’ll publish the winners and honorable-mentions in the March 16 Today section.

Enter as many times as you want, but all work must be original. Send your entries to S-R Limericks Contest, P.O. Box 2160, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, WA 99210-1615. Or e-mail them to

Mea culpa

Regarding the limerick contest (see above), I offer the following poetic apology to longtime contest entrant Dennis G. Johnston, whose name I garbled in last week’s column:

The realm of things all held so dearly

Makes writers face the truth so clearly.

Our concern so intact

Makes us face a sad fact:

One name that was misspelled so sheerly.

Burning for Burns

Scottish native Amy Wilkerson will read selected works on and/or by 18th-century poet Robert Burns during a presentation titled “Robert Burns: Religion and Superstition” at 7 p.m. Thursday at North Idaho College.

Wilkerson will be accompanied by fellow reader Richard Lewis and musician Arvid Lundin and the group Deep Roots.

The event, which will be held at NIC’s 72-seat Todd Hall (in Molstead Library), is free and open to the public. Those planning to attend, though, are advised to call ahead and reserve seats.

Call (208) 769-3355.

‘Discover’ Schrand

Since 1990, Barnes & Noble has championed books that haven’t yet been published.

One of the books that the company is touting as a 2008 summer season selection of its Discover Great New Writer series is “The Enders Hotel” (University of Nebraska Press, 238 pages, $17.95), a memoir written by University of Idaho writing instructor Brandon R. Schrand.

Schrand’s book, which carries a May 1 publication date, is one of 18 titles to make the summer list, according to a UI press release.

It “is set in rural boomtown Soda Springs, Idaho, where he and his family owned, operated and lived in the town’s historic hotel. He recounts how his life intersected with the homeless and defeated souls who inhabited and defined the hotel, the era and his childhood.”

No less an authority than Kim Barnes, the Idaho writer and author of the memoir “In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country,” called Schrand’s book “gorgeously written and generous in its telling.”

“Schrand’s memoir takes us deep into the heart of a boomtown gone bust and a family surviving on little more than stubbornness and a desire to do the next right thing,” Barnes wrote.

” ‘The Enders Hotel’ is a heartbroken love song to a time gone by, a place lost, and a people whose longings ring true long after the last page ends.”

All events are free and open to the public.

Book talk

“Jewish Literature Reading and Discussion Series (“Bee Season,” by Myla Goldberg), 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, South Hill Branch of Spokane Public Library, 3324 S. Perry St. Call (509) 444-5385.

“Tinman Gallery Book Club (“The Emperor’s Children,” by Claire Messud), 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Tinman Gallery, 811 W. Garland Ave. Call (509) 325-1500.

The reader board

“Andrew Jolivétte (“Louisiana Creoles: Cultural Recovery and Mixed-Race Native American Identity”), lectures, noon Thursday, Showalter Hall on Eastern Washington University’s Cheney campus; 1 p.m. Thursday, EWU’s Senior Hall (room 243). Call (509) 359-6335.

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