Host Ken Jones talks with Poe Ballantine, author of the new book Whirlaway: The Great American Loony Bin, Horseplaying & Record-Collecting Novel, published by Portland’s Hawthorne Press.
Poe has published seven books and hundreds of stories and essays, many of which have appeared in The Sun magazine, along with The Atlantic Monthly and The Coal City Review. And his work has won two Pushcart Prize, and been included in the anthologies The Best American Short Stories 1998 and The Best American Essays 2006.
Poe’s memoir Love & Terror On the Howling Plains of Nowhere was adapted by filmmaker Dave Jannetta for a documentary, which won the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival Hot Doc Award, and the Big Sky Award, given to the film that best captures the spirit of the American West.
Portland writer and musician Willy Vlautin calls Whirlaway “a fever dream of my favorite things: horse racing, records, booze, insanity, and women. What a strange and crazed comedic ride. Ballantine’s writing is like no other.” And in the words of novelist Tom Robbins: “Poe Ballantine is the most soulful, insightful, funny, and altogether luminous under-known writer in America. He knocks my socks off, even when I’m barefoot.”