Please join me as Hawthorne Books presents a special screening of the Toronto International Film Festival Hot Doc award-winning 2014 documentary LOVE & TERROR ON THE HOWLING PLAINS OF NOWHERE (103 minutes), directed by Dave Jannetta and based on Poe Ballantine’s memoir of the same title. Both author and director will be in attendance to discuss the film and answer audience questions afterward.
Variety reports, «Dave Jannetta's entertaining, decidedly offbeat documentary LOVE & TERROR ON THE HOWLING PLAINS OF NOWHERE weaves an eclectic web of assorted digressions around the mysterious death of a math professor in the small town of Chadron, Nebraska.”
Watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/kjk308c0yrc
Buy tickets here: https://hollywoodtheatre.org/events/love-terror-on-the-howling-plains-of-nowhere/
For more information about the documentary go to the official website: https://loveandterrorthemovie.com
LOVE AND TERROR ON THE HOWLING PLAINS OF NOWHERE: A MEMOIR
For well over 20 years, Poe Ballantine traveled America, taking odd jobs, living in small rooms, and trying to make a living as a writer. At age 46, he finally settled with his Mexican immigrant wife in Chadron, Nebraska, where they had a son who was red-flagged as autistic. Poe published four books about his experiences as a wanderer and his observations of America. But one day in 2006, his neighbor, Steven Haataja, a math professor from the local state college, disappeared. Ninety-five days later, the professor was found bound to a tree, burned to death in the hills behind the campus where he had taught. No one, law enforcement included, understood the circumstances. Poe had never contemplated writing mystery or true crime, but since he knew all the players, the suspects, the sheriff, the police involved, he and his kindergarten son set out to find out what might have happened. Love & Terror onthe Howling Plains of Nowhere is not only a six-year examination of this case, but of Poe’s eccentric high plains town, its kooky residents, his rocky marriage to a beautiful Mexican woman, and his purportedly autistic son.
PRAISE FOR LOVE & TERROR ON THE HOWLING PLAINS OF NOWHERE: A MEMOIR
Poe Ballantine’s prose cuts right to the bone (the one that’s stuck in America’s throat), but manages to preserve not only the sweetest meat but the barbecue sauce, as well. Mark Twain would have admired his wit, and had Oscar Wilde read him, he would have bought an old Ford pickup and moved to Nebraska the day he got out of the slammer, hoping that some of his style rubbed off on him. A book without style is like a swan without feathers—it’s just another plucked chicken—but this new one of Ballantine’s is in its funky way majestic as it zigzags downstream.
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.
Poe Ballantine is brilliant, sensitive, unique, and universal. Reading his work is inspiring, agitating, and invigorating. He is utterly transparent on the page, a rare thing. He’s like a bird that’s almost but not quite extinct. This is his best book ever.
Ballantine’s writing is secure insecurity at its best, muscular and minimal, self-deprecating on the one hand, full of the self’s soul on the other.
If the delights of either Poe Ballantine or Chadron, Nebraska were a secret, that is over now. Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere is an unprecedented combination of all of the following: true crime page-turner, violently funny portrait of a tiny Western town, field guide to saving a bilingual marriage and raising an autistic child, sutra on living with open mind and big heart.
What makes Love & Terror different from other “true crime” pieces is that the crime itself acts as a backdrop in order for Ballantine to push readers to question, as he is questioning, who they are, what they believe, and what they deserve to have in their lives. Love is as prominent as death here, and, in fact, sometimes the two go hand and hand…Love & Terror is a read sure to be savored.
NATALIE SYPOLT, THE LOS ANGELES REVIEW
The Rumpus book club this month is reading Poe Ballantine’s Love And Terror On The Howling Plains Of Nowhere, and everyone is going apeshit. I mean, stark raving mad. People love the hell out of this book. Absolute chaos.
STEPHEN ELLIOTT, THE RUMPUS
A kind of highly readable William Vollmann.
ROBBIE EGAN, READINGS: BOOK MUSIC FILM
It’s as if Hunter Thompson, rather than Truman Capote, wrote In Cold Blood—and not as a visiting writer, but as a buddy having a beer at the end of the bar…A funny memoir and “true crime” mashup by one of the best of the country’s vagabond raconteurs, in the tradition of Walt Whitman and Bob Dylan.
BRUCE JACOB, SHELF AWARENESSS
[Love & Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere‘s] plot… is like a real-life episode in a Roberto Bolano novel. If you see [Poe Ballantine’s] name in a byline, read it.
JACK WATERS, UVU REVIEW
Let me tell you somethin’ true, people: Poe Ballantine is the best American writer alive that you’ve definitely never heard of. His new memoir-true crime book (& totally awesomely-titled) Love & Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere absolutely blew me out of my shorts.
SETH MARKO, THE BOOK CATAPULT