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Abominable Winter Ale, The Shadows of Owls and a blog called Antarctica

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BLOG | You probably aren't going to Antarctica anytime soon, and that's a damn shame, at least from what poet Jynne Dilling Martin has to say about the place. Martin was selected as the Antarctic Artist in Residence by the National Science Foundation and is down on the frozen continent right now, filing dispatches to her blog, simply titled Antarctica ( It reads very much like the work of someone who has spent her entire life pining to get to Antarctica, which is exactly how Martin grew up. As a poet, her insight and language takes you to the bottom of the world, revealing the weirdness of life among, as she puts it, 29 million penguins and 800 scientists.

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BEER | I've quite never been able to get down with the super-sweet winter beers Northwest breweries are so keen on pumping out this time of year. Most of them give me a weird headache after half a pint. It's like a drill spiraling its way through the middle of my forehead. But I'm a fan of Abominable Winter Ale from Portland's Hopworks Urban Brewery. Unlike the sugary nose on most winter ales, this beer hits you with a floral hop kick right off the bat, packing a follow-up punch of hearty malts on the back end. It's not overpowering and you'd never know it rings in at 7.3 percent alcohol by volume. And it doesn't drill a head in my forehead, which is nice.

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BOOK | In September, we told you about the staggering amount of talent flowing out of the creative writing programs at Eastern Washington University. Now there's more evidence in the form of the creative writing MFA program's founder John Keeble, now professor emeritus, who has released The Shadows of Owls. The novel features the same sort of environmental detail present in Keeble's fiction and nonfiction over the years. In it, a scientific researcher working in North Idaho finds herself and her work in the middle of a proposed pipeline and environmental extremists, setting the stage for a surprisingly thrilling tale.

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