Enjoy these answers to questions given to fiction writer, John Smolens (longtime friend of the legendary Jim Harrison), composed by U.P. Poet Laureate, Russ Thorburn, and myself. And do not forget to order his latest historical fiction novel, Wolf's Mouth:
You were a good friend of Harrison's. From his many books of prose, poetry and essays, what would you consider your favorite book?
I’ve read just about all of his books, I believe. I think some of his best fiction is found in his collections of novellas, which is a very difficult form. But the books that I return to often are his poems: After Ikkyu; The Shape of the Journey; and Braided Creek, which he wrote with Ted Kooser. I reread essays from The Raw and the Cooked because they’re a stitch. Nobody moves from a consideration of tomatoes to philosophy to to wine to birds to chicken thighs…with such alacrity. It’s a little known fact that Jim Harrison invented the alternative fact.
What can you tell us about the author himself?