John Berryman Leapt Here

Mapping the literary landmarks of the Twin Cities

GRINGOLET BOOKS, in St. Anthony Main, was a classy place with a first-rate knowledgeable staff and a world-class selection. And ONCE UPON A CRIME (mysteries) (604 W. 26TH ST., MINNEAPOLIS), UNCLE HUGO'S (science-fiction and fantasy) and UNCLE EDGAR'S (mysteries) (BOTH AT 2864 CHICAGO AVE. S. IN MINNEAPOLIS) are all survivors of long standing. Over the years Once Upon a Crime has played host to a who's who of the mystery field, from P.D. James and Elmore Leonard to Mary Higgins Clark and Sara Paretsky.

In the early 1980s, Argentine writer JORGE LUIS BORGES visited the Twin Cities as part of the Walker Art Center's reading series. That season the Walker's lineup included Nobel laureates TONI MORRISON and JOSEPH BRODSKY, as well as W.S. MERWIN and GREGORY CORSO. Accompanied by Minneapolis photographer STUART KLIPPER, Borges, who was blind, toured the Twin Cities lakes and ventured to MINNEHAHA PARK, where he was keen to visit the falls and the then-rundown home (since restored, at 46TH AND MINNEHAHA) that the eccentric Robert Fish Jones had built as a replica of Longfellow's Cambridge mansion. In its day the Fish Jones house included a full-scale zoological park, botanical gardens, and miniature railroad.

Klipper, who shot memorable photos of Borges during his stay in the Twin Cities, recalls the writer singing an Argentine Milonga in his ear, and--perhaps under the spell of Hiawatha's "dancing waters"--dancing a tango alone in Minnehaha Park.

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