ArtWalk Feature – James Crissman

Jun 15, 2011 | Events

ArtWalk Feature – James Crissman, author of Root Cause: The Story of a Food Fight Fugitive

Friday, June 24, 2011
8:00 pm

Join us for a reading and signing by novelist and poet James Crissman. Visiting from Michigan, Crissman is one of the original “Saganistas” – the name dubbed by Detroit poet M.L. Liebler for the Saginaw poetry scene of the mid-90s which included the late Al Hellus, Marc Beaudin, Monica Rico and others. With Root Cause, the poet Crissman has successfully ventured into the realm of novelist.

“A great mix of quirky characters… dark humor, sexual overtones, deadly violence and numerous surprising, bizarre plot twists… an atmospheric, strikingly memorable debut novel.”

–Ray Walsh, The Lansing State Journal

Root Cause: The Story of a Food Fight FugitiveWhen Bruce Dinkle becomes obsessed with eating only local food, his zeal badly exceeds his judgment. After alienating his family by enforcing a strict locavore and urban agriculturist lifestyle, he abandons them by bicycle on a quixotic quest to learn where food comes from. He quickly becomes enmeshed in a small Michigan farming community where he goes to work for a large crop farmer, meets a sagacious veterinarian, and falls for a randy goat lady—all part of a sprawling cast of characters who enliven this often hilarious, mix of food, family, sex, and a little violence down on the farm. Think Michael Pollan meets James Herriot and Carl Hiaasen.

James W. Crissman is a veterinary pathologist and former large animal veterinarian. He is the author of a 1998 Pudding House Publications chapbook, Jailbait in Holy Water, and has won numerous prizes for his poetry. His short story, “Wallhangers,” won the 2007 Dirt Rag literature contest. Root Cause: the Story of a Food Fight Fugitive is his first novel. Jim and his veterinarian wife Jill live on a small farm in central Michigan where they’ve grown three children and much of their food for more than twenty years.

For more on Root Cause and its author, please visit


  1. I’m hoping he also reads from his great book of poetry “Jailbait in Holy Water.”

  2. I’ve got a new road poem I want to read, and maybe the one you published in Counter Punch. Will have a few copies of Jailbait with me too. Should probably read the title poem in such great fly fishing country.

  3. Wonderful to have Jim there. He always puts on a good show! Lisa Purchase Kelly interviewed him for 360 Main Street.

  4. That was way too much fun. Thanks to Marc and all the Livingstonians who made it so. Am currently just over the line into Michigan — Ironwood to be exact — where I’ve got a pretty nice room with fridg and internet for $38 (cheapest advertised on street was $32). Slept in my car last night near the MT/ND line cuz all motels full at 2x the price. Nice to get a shower tonight! There are advantages to a depressed economy. With wind off Lake Superior, Duluth was 56 in heat of day. Got 6 books on CD from the Midland Public Library before I left. Phillip Roth’s Indignation and Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls were the easy winners. Larry McMurtry’s Loop Group was plain awful.


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