Richard Terrill


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"This is a book I love."--Bret Lott, author of Jewel and Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of the Writer's Life

From a Minnesota book award-winning author, an essay collection that explores what is most essential to him, from the difficult lives of jazz musicians, to trout fishing, to the shifting population and mores of suburbia. 

“Here’s the thing,” Richard Terrill writes. “There’s always the thing, isn’t there, and most often, not just one?” Terrill, an award-winning poet and memoirist, asks through this series of wide-ranging, funny, and sometimes gut-punchingly vulnerable essays, what is essential? Maybe trout fishing, the music of Bill Evans, or the whys of dog ownership. Maybe Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story, We Chat, a musician’s early hearing loss, and spying on the neighbors. Or maybe the coming apocalypse, almost getting lost in the woods, trespassing, town clean-up days, and the reason Miles Davis never listened to his own recordings. At times self-effacing and funny, at times outspoken and provocative, Terrill fixes a clear eye on the contradictions in our present moment. “We’re at that point in a journey where you know where you’re going, but you don’t know where you are,” he writes. “The destination should come anytime now.”


Richard Terrill:
Richard Terrill’s essays have appeared widely in journals such as River Teeth, Crazyhorse, Laurel Review, and New Letters, as well as in the collection Fakebook: Improvisations on a Journey Back to Jazz. Saturday Night in Baoding: A China Memoir won the Associated Writing Programs Award for Nonfiction. Terrill is also an accomplished poet. His poetry three collections include What Falls Away Is Always (Holy Cow! Press) and Coming Late to Rachmaninoff, winner of the Minnesota Book Award. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wisconsin and Minnesota State Arts Boards, the Jerome Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, as well as Fulbright Fellowships to Korea, China, and Poland. He is Professor Emeritus at Minnesota State, Mankato, where he was a Distinguished Faculty Scholar, and currently works as a jazz saxophone player. He lives in Minneapolis.