Fishing for Chickens by Jim Heynen
Short Stories about Rural Youth

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Sixteen poignant short stories portray the special experience of growing up in rural America. In this unique collection, sixteen writers, both established and new, take us to the backwoods, farmlands, mountains, and coastal regions of the US—and into the lives of young people who are growing up there. Neither sentimental nor nostalgic, their richly plotted and poignant stories dispel the myth of the country idyll to reveal the tough realities of a rural childhood, as well as its rewards. In Rebecca Rule's "Walking the Trapline," a routine trek with her father and brother into the frigid New England woods becomes a test of survival for a young girl. "Sugar Among the Chickens" by Lewis Nordan, a comic tale, features a bored farm boy in Mississippi intent on catching a big rooster with a baited fishing line. When a flock of geese escapes the hunters' guns in North Carolinian writer Tony Earley's "Aliceville," a boy's disappointment is replaced by wonder as he realizes that their breathtaking passage overhead "made our world less small." The authors included are Pinckney Benedict, Nancy Brown, Nora Dauenhauer, Tony Earley, Eric Gansworth, Jim Heynen, Lewis Nordan, Tomás Rivera, Rebecca Rule, Wallace Stegner, Kathleen Tyau, Alma Villanueva, Jon Volkmer, Alice Walker, Vicky Wicks, and Hisaye Yamamoto. Whether rural native or lifelong urban dweller, every reader will come away from this collection with a deeper appreciation of the influence of place upon individual growth and of the special qualities of a country upbringing.

About Jim Heynen

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Jim Heynen teaches at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He is the author of six previous collections of poetry, as well as the novels Being Youngest and Cosmos Coyote. His book of tales, The One-Room Schoolhouse, earned him a wide and loyal audience, including the praise of astronaut George "Pinky" Nelson, who took Heynen's "stories about the boys" into space with him on his last shuttle mission.
Published July 1, 2001 by Persea Books. 192 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Similarly, in Wallace Stegner's "The Colt," a boy's desire to nurse a maimed colt back to health comes to a disastrous end when its wounds do not heal.

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