Ballantine, Poe 1955-
BALLANTINE, Poe 1955-
PERSONAL: Born 1955, in Denver, CO. Education: Attended Humboldt State University.
ADDRESSES: Home—Portland, OR. Agent—Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts, P.O. Box 579, Portland, OR 97207.
CAREER: Writer. Has worked at various odd jobs.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best American Short Story award, 1998.
Things I Like about America: Personal Narratives, Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts (Portland, OR), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: "Cook, warehouse, bartender, pizza delivery, factories, pest control, carpet cleaning, truck driver, groundskeeper, janitor. . . . Moved every year, sometimes more often," is how Poe Ballantine sums up his life and education on his Web site. His nomadic existence has taken him all over the country, and in Things I Like about America, he chronicles the experiences he has had along the way. Drunks and druggies, countless miles in a Greyhound bus, and grueling hours at low-level jobs all fuel the stories and essays that make up this look at the underbelly of American culture. Distinctly quirky characters, like the kleptomanical nymphomaniac in the story "She's Got Barney Rubble Eyes," remind readers of the unusual possibilities inherent in even the most mundane settings. A disappointed Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that, "though the author obviously has the material for an excellent portrait of America, the anticipated insights and wealth of description born of such travel and adventure simply aren't quite here." Others were more satisfied. "The payoff—and there is one—lies in his self-deprecating humor and acerbic social commentary," wrote Jordan Adair in the Independent Weekly. "Part social commentary, part collective biography, this guided tour may not be comfortable, but one thing's for sure: You will be at home," concluded Willamette Week contributor Carol Castro.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Publishers Weekly, June 3, 2002, review of Things ILike about America, p. 81.
Independent Weekly Online, http://www.indyweek. com/ (December 4, 2002).
Poe Ballantine Web site, http://www.poeballantine. com (December 2, 2002).
Willamette Week Online,http://www.wweek.com/ (February 3, 2003).*