January 15, 2015 0 Comments Book Review 3600 Views

William Waltz, Adventures in the Lost Interiors of America. Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013. 94pp. $15.95.



Cover Photo

“He’s Something Else”

A review by Noel Hoffman.


Imagine you are in your house watching it snow outside. Only the snow is paper. And the paper is actually excerpts from your diary.” – Matt McBride, poet.


I have never lived in the American Midwest. I was born outside of Toronto, but raised in Alabama. I am in Toronto now as I write this. I am at my grandparents’ house. It is something honest off of Eglinton Avenue. My grandfather is sleeping in his chair in the sunroom, still smiling and confused, and still 93 years old. My grandmother is fussing with cleaning the dishes over her walker and has flipped the switch on the electric kettle for tea for granddad. She is 91 and shuffles her feet an inch at a time under a broken hip. I love them.

Matt McBride is a poet that now lives in Vermont. Three beautiful sentences from Matt in reference to ‘Adventures in the Lost Interiors of America’, eh? At the time that I first came in contact with Matt, he was an M.F.A. candidate at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Now there is a place that I would like to study at and live in, I thought. There, or perhaps Ann Arbor, or Bloomington, or Madison, or even Minneapolis. What romance must be found in these jewels amongst the rust belt’s ashes?

I say this because the St Paul, Minnesota native, William D. Waltz’, ‘Adventures in the Lost Interiors of America’ is a contemporary, guiding, ode to the American Midwest. It was strangely north of me when I read it in Alabama, south of me when I read it again in Toronto. I can’t say much more than that, other than it is beautiful and it must be beautiful when the snow falls like paper in St. Paul.

The collection is accessible. At eighty pages, the collection is divided into five ‘acts’. The fourth act, a stretch to describe it as a post-climax, fall, is what I was most drawn to. ‘The Allness & Infinity of Barber Shops’ is an epic poem that dances through five generations of family along the northern Mississippi River, beginning with the barber –

Not unlike the great/grandfather of your wide-/angle lens, mine had/a splendid head/a root ball of fine/dark strands,

This poem is the single poem in the fourth act. Its encompassing power and relay need no brace. It moves like only water could, how clear the Mississippi must be there at its origin, mysteriously and unrelentingly through Normandy, Montana, war, business, politics, Mexico, love, back to Minnesota, all somehow through the sequences and mirrors of that great grandfather’s barbershop.  Look closely in this dauntless guide to our American Midwest and you’ll even find the author’s brother, a jarhead, his daughter with auburn curls, and William D. Waltz himself, something else.             



About the Author

William D. Waltz is the author of Zoo Music (Slope Editions, 2004) and Adventures in the Lost Interiors of America (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013). His chapbookConfluence of Mysterious Origins was published by Factory Hollow Press. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota and is the founder and editor of the magazine Conduit.

“William Waltz will take me through ‘the buzz and clamor in a forest of hearts.’ Adventures in the Lost Interiors of America is an adventure, I will go on this adventure with Waltz as a skillful, faithful, compass-true guide. I love this book.” –James Tate

More Information:



Factory Hollow

Star Tribune

Publishers Weekly

[Bio and Links from Publisher’s Website]

About the Reviewer

Noel C. Hoffman is a Canadian raised in Alabama. He holds a B.A. in International Trade and Spanish from Auburn University and an M.B.A. from the University of New Orleans. He’d like to grow viognier by a sea and read more Bolaño some day. He co-founded and co-administers the online literary community, Visit his author’s page at

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