|1940: Journal of a Midwestern Town, Story of an Era
A history of the rural Midwest in 1940, a pivotal year in history between the Great Depression and World War II. Local, regional and national history — told through the perspective of a small Minnesota town and its people.
||51 pages, $10 paper
Grace traces the journey from a wish for peace in the first poem to a calm communion with the moon in the last. The poems in between range from contemporary history (Iraq; the Cottonwood, Minnesota, school bus crash) to more personal matters, including a “bruised mind” or mental “murk.” But Yost’s writing throughout is anything but murky; he writes clearly and affectingly of his various subjects, with the sharp images and American diction of a midwestern William Carlos Williams. As the title suggests, a religious or spiritual element runs throughout—at times specifically Christian, though not without wit (Jesus as hockey goalie. Plenty wins out over murk; Grace is about that triumph. William Butler Yeats said, “Rhetoricians would deceive their neighbors, sentimentalists them-selves,” but Yost would deceive no one; like the outstanding journalist he has long been, he aims to undeceive by means of honesty, integrity, gritty realism, and a command of the language. In one poem he hears a phone-like ringing and can’t find the source, but by the end of the book he has found that source—he’s no doubt been calling himself—and answered. His answer is this very collection, and we are privileged to be listening in on the conversation embodied by these urgent and necessary poems.
|A Higher Level
||240 pages, $15 paperback
They survived raw Minnesota winters, and facilities that got them mocked, almost boycotted. Yet despite having almost no funds to operate their program, the Southwest State University women’s tennis team overcame those obstacles and more to not merely survive but thrive from the years 1979-1992. This new book by longtime award-winning Minnesota newspaper journalist Dana Yost captures the experiences of the SSU team in that era—a team of winners with diverse personalities, which has much to teach us today about sports, team-building and life itself.
“Dana Yost has written a classic story about college sports. Even though many people have never heard very much about the Southwest State University women’s tennis team, this is a book that your readers will find as readable, entertaining, compelling, and even riveting. In my mind, this is one of the best sports books that I have read in a long time.”
“Dana Yost captures the unique and complete spirit not only of women’s athletics in general, but also brings life to a small close-knit rural community, a blossoming institution building a foundation based on tradition and a program filled with overachievers driven to buck the norm and succeed where success seemed impossible. A Higher Level is indeed a book about a small-college tennis program, but its roots capture a period of great strides for women in athletics. It also provides a look at a unique success story through the eyes of the people who were closest to it all.”