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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Experiences worth reading about
Some writers climb mountains or traverse deserts in order to accumulate experiences worth writing about. Poe Ballantine seems to accumulate experiences worth writing about just by trying to keep body and soul together. The essays in this latest collection reflect his experiences living among the homeless in New Orleans, caretaking a piece of property in Colorado,...
Published on September 18, 2008 by Bill Coan

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars new to poe
I discovered Poe Ballantine about 6 months ago and have since read a number of his books. This was not my favoirite. But still worth a read.
Published 6 months ago by John N.


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Experiences worth reading about, September 18, 2008
By 
Bill Coan (Hortonville, Wisconsin) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 501 Minutes to Christ: Personal Essays (Paperback)
Some writers climb mountains or traverse deserts in order to accumulate experiences worth writing about. Poe Ballantine seems to accumulate experiences worth writing about just by trying to keep body and soul together. The essays in this latest collection reflect his experiences living among the homeless in New Orleans, caretaking a piece of property in Colorado, experimenting with methamphetamines in San Diego, building radio antennas in Kansas, speaking at a literary gathering in Oregon, teaching English in Mexico, and marrying and settling down in Chadron, Nebraska. The book's title is drawn from an essay selected earlier for inclusion in The Best American Essays of 2006. If you've read Ballantine in The Atlantic Monthly Online, The Sun, or anywhere else, then you'll be pleased at the opportunity to savor his latest work in book form. If you haven't read him before, then this beautifully bound volume from Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts is a great way to get to know him.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank God for Poe Ballantine!, November 10, 2007
By 
Cactus Ed (Pacific Northwest) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 501 Minutes to Christ: Personal Essays (Paperback)
Poe Ballantine's latest is just as good as everything else he has written. I have followed his writings in The Sun for years, and his stories now published in books are my antidotes to despair. Poe goes to the dark and unseen sides of America and writes with amazing clarity and honesty. He knows what he is talking about. As a reader this kind of trust in a writer is essential. Reading these stories is like stepping out of your own little world for a while and into any of a million parallel universes we have always suspected were out there, somewhere, but were invisible to us. And none of this is supernatural, no UFOs or channeling of ancients warrior goddesses from long ago. It is just "ordinary" life writ large and in blazing technicolor with every word, every well-crafted sentence. It is a great skill to bring eyesight to the blind, and Poe Ballantine does this with grace. God bless him, wherever he happens to be right now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, June 7, 2012
This review is from: 501 Minutes to Christ: Personal Essays (Paperback)
Following the break up of my marriage, getting fired from my job, and several other catastrophes, I picked up this book. I felt like I had found a soul mate in Poe Ballentine. 501 minutes to Christ, the story after which the book is written is one of the funniest stories I've EVER read. Anything that could make me laugh that hard in the midst of my personal hell has to be something extraordinary. I especially like the "Pud Puller" excerpt. May he continue to produce such wonderful stories for many years to come!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding stories for us little folk, March 22, 2012
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This review is from: 501 Minutes to Christ: Personal Essays (Paperback)
If you liked "Down and out in Paris and London" or
Bukowski or Kerouac, read this book. The story on
methamphetamine is so real, so accurate, you know
that Poe Ballentine has been there. Ahh, memories!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poe Ballantine is One of the Most Tragically Underappreciated Writers in America, February 6, 2008
By 
A. Rodriguez (Spokane, WA, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 501 Minutes to Christ: Personal Essays (Paperback)
Poe Ballantine's 501 MINUTES TO CHRIST is proof again that Ballantine is, as a recent newspaper article wrote, "One of the best essayists in America." Why this book, his second essay collection, is ranked #151,422 on Amazon is beyond me. The smart, funny, insightful journey we take with Ballantine--from his experiences in New Orleans as a young man to considering punching John Irving in the face during a literary festival after reaching relative success as an adult--is among the most exciting I've read in years. It's a travelogue through a fascinating life, a life full of drinking and love and buses and loss and kitchen jobs and hard writing-- with the wittiest tour guide you've met in your life. I can't imagine a reader who wouldn't appreciate this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All In a Row, November 4, 2008
This review is from: 501 Minutes to Christ: Personal Essays (Paperback)
I had read most of these essays over the years in the Sun Magazine but I am glad they are all in one place so that I won't have to go searching my magazine issues in search of one in particular. Poe is one of my favorite authors. His words always touch something inside of me that I didn't realize was there until he brings it to life. His words can make you laugh out loud or feel a sense of deep sadness. Thank you Poe!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Down and Out in America, March 20, 2014
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This review is from: 501 Minutes to Christ: Personal Essays (Paperback)
If you liked George Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London", especially the Paris half, then you will like this book. I personally think Ballantine eclipses Kerouac and Bukowski. Being in the same rarified atmosphere as Orwell is high praise. America is one hell of a playground and getting down and dirty with the lower classes is as challenging and mind-blowing as it gets. I have one complaint and it has nothing to do with the writing. The book comes with two covers, one a photo showing a city scape of run down motels against a robin's egg blue sky. It is austere and as exquisite as Poe's writing. The other cover is a painting of two guys drinking and smoking. Huh? The message of the second cover seems to be some variation of "let's get stupid". It is embarrassingly misleading. Make no mistake, the voices guiding Poe are sending him after the biggest game in the forest and he neither asks for nor expects any quarter. He gambled and lived (his phrase).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what I thought, February 10, 2014
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This review is from: 501 Minutes to Christ: Personal Essays (Paperback)
So, the title can be deceiving. I purchased this book for a creative writing class and when I saw the title I thought surely it was going to be a religious book. It definitely isn't. Poe Ballantine writes with honesty and humor - this is a collection of some of his best short stories/essays. It's a quick read and you won't want it to end. If you are looking for a book about Christ, go elsewhere!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things go up and things go down..., October 13, 2013
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...except Poe Ballantine's writing which stays in the stratosphere.

Akira Kurosawa said: "Being an artist means never to avert your eyes." Poe Ballantine lives this more forcefully and fearlessly than any other author I've read recently. His beautiful prose illuminates the heartbreak and deterioration that permeates America. Yes, we're doomed and, yes, it's all hopeless, but what a ride Poe Ballantine takes us on. This book doesn't strike a single false note.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Glad you didn't take a swing at John Irving, Mr. Ballantine. But I'm guessing your fellow sufferers would have forgiven you for popping Virginia in the kisser.

***END SPOILER***

I'm now going to order every book Ballantine has written. I'm happy that he's alive and well in 2013 and that Sun Magazine and Hawthorne Press are giving him a platform. Full disclosure: I'm NOT one of the minions paid, threatened, or otherwise obligated to write reviews of dull and insipid books. In fact, I'm pretty stingy with my Amazon stars. In Mr. Ballantine's case, I would have praised this book even more, but I don't want to sound like a blithering idiot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drifter, drinker, druggie......genius!, September 21, 2013
By 
r. rush-1st (newtown, pa United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 501 Minutes to Christ: Personal Essays (Paperback)
Poe Ballantine's prose is a revelation. This series of stories about his wanderings is a masterpiece. Read this book. You will be amazed by his insights and delighted by his humor.
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501 Minutes to Christ: Personal Essays
501 Minutes to Christ: Personal Essays by Poe Ballantine (Paperback - September 28, 2007)
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