Poe Ballantine currently lives in Chadron, Nebraska. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Sun, Kenyon Review, and The Coal City Review. In addition to garnering numerous Pushcart and O. Henry nominations, Mr. Ballantine’s work has been included in the anthologies The Best American Short Stories 1998 and The Best American Essays 2006.


For readers who prefer madcap to claptrap, quixotic pranks to neurotic angst, Poe Ballantine is a literary tonic: Bittersweet, potent, and peculiarly entertaining.

Tom Robbins

Eddie Plum, who insists he’s been unjustifiably committed to a California psychiatric hospital, manages to finally escape after fourteen years of incarceration to start his life anew. On the run, he holes up in a sheltered barrio on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean owned by his wealthy but...Forward

Love & Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere:
A Memoir

  • Introduction by Cheryl Strayed
  • nonfiction / memoir

This is his best book ever.

Cheryl Strayed
Author of Wild

For well over 20 years, Poe Ballantine traveled America, taking odd jobs, living in small rooms, and trying to make a living as a writer. At age 46, he finally settled with his Mexican immigrant wife in Chadron, Nebraska, where they had a son who was red-flagged as autistic. Poe published four...Forward

Things I Like About America

  • nonfiction / essays

A modern-day Kerouac.

Mark Jude Poirier
Author of Goats

​Poe Ballantine’s risky personal essays are populated with odd jobs, eccentric characters, boarding houses, buses, and beer. He takes us along on his Greyhound bus journey through small town America (including a detour to Mexico), exploring what it means to be human. Written with piercing...Forward

A wry and ergoty experience.

Gobshite Quarterly

Set against the decaying halls of a San Diego rest home in the 1970s, God Clobbers Us All is the shimmering, hysterical, and melancholy account of eighteen-year-old surfer-boy orderly Edgar Donahoe and his struggles with romance, death, friendship, and an ill-advised affair with the wife of a...Forward

Poe Ballantine is a writer with a keen ear and a blistering wit.

The Austin Chronicle

​“It’s impossible not to be charmed by Edgar Donahoe” (Publishers Weekly), and he’s back for another misguided adventure. When Edgar is expelled from college for drunkenly bellowing expletives from a dorm window at 3:00 a.m., he hitchhikes to Colorado and trains as a cook. A postcard arrives...Forward

501 Minutes to Christ

  • nonfiction / essays

Name five books and/or authors we all need to read? Poe Ballantine’s exquisitely funky 501 Minutes to Christ.

Tom Robbins
Author of Jitterbug Perfume

​Poe Ballantine’s second collection of personal essays follows in the tradition of Things I Like About America. Stories range from “The Irving,” which details Mr. Ballantine’s diabolical plan to punch John Irving in the nose after opening for him before an audience of 2,000 that launched the...Forward

Readings and events

There are currently no events featuring Mr. Ballantine on the calendar.


On the Hawthorne Books Blog

Your Lucky Day

Posted by Poe Ballantine on 07 September 2016

A professional photographer who’d once worked for TIME Magazine (and who took that iconic photo of Obama WITHOUT his hand over his heart during the playing of the National Anthem in Indianola,...Forward