Mentor Series Reading: Diego Vázquez Jr., Claudia Rankine, Flip the Script! and other January/February 2015 Events
1/23: Mentor Series Reading: Diego Vázquez Jr.
1/30: Claudia Rankine
2/20: Mentor Series Reading: Matt Rasmussen
2/21: Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant Reading
2/22: Flip the Script! A Dialogue on the Arts & Race (for Youth and Adults)
Unless otherwise noted, all events are free, open to the public, and take place at
The Loft Literary Center at Open Book
1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis
MENTOR SERIES READING: DIEGO VÁZQUEZ JR.
Friday, January 23, 7 p.m.
The 2014–15 Loft Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose presents fiction mentor Diego Vázquez Jr. reading along with program participants Rebecca Diaz (fiction) and Timothy Otte (poetry).
Diego Vázquez Jr. is a poet, novelist, storyteller. He comes from indigenous migrants who crossed invisible lines to become immigrants under a common sky. He has never met an illegal human. Vázquez is grateful for his ongoing participation in The Women’s Writing Program at the Ramsey County Correctional Facility and the Sherburne County Jail in Elk River. This remarkable experience allows him new insights into the strength and joy of the human heart. Vázquez is the author of Growing Through the Ugly. He is completing work on a forthcoming novel, Border Town Sky.
Rebecca Diaz graduated from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University with her BA in Writing & Literature. She is a homegrown artist, enchanted and inspired by the landscape, culture and psyche of her rural Minnesota hometown of Crookston. Growing up with Christian Fundamentalists and her love for the Red Lake River taught her almost everything she needs to know about life and writing. She is a poet turned fiction writer, looking into the tributaries of language, healing, and religious addiction. Rebecca has been published in S(y)mposium, BASE: Building Alliances for Social Engagement, Flaneur Foundry Arts Journal, fre-quen-cy: the poethics of change, Monkey Puzzle Magazine, Stays Magazine, and others. She lives in Minneapolis with her dog, and is courting the Mississippi River.
Timothy Otte writes text for page and performance. His work has appeared online at Paper Darts and at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. He is Senior Editorial Associate at Hazel & Wren, an online literary community. He is from and lives in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, but keeps a home on the internet at www.timothyotte.com.
Friday, January 30, 7 p.m.
What does it mean to be a citizen in a “post-racial” society? Through poetry, essays, cultural criticism, and visual images, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely author Claudia Rankine tackles the question head on, and the result is a powerful and devastating book unlike any other. In Citizen, Rankine confronts racial aggressions, those she has experienced in life and those we have all experienced in the media and within ourselves. Some of these encounters are slights, seemingly slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV—everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Citizen is an important and timely book, one that will become a touchstone in the necessary discussion about racism in America.
Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including Citizen and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, and the play Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue, commissioned by the Foundry Theater and Existing Conditions (co-authored with Casey Llewellyn). Rankine is co-editor of the American Women Poets in the 21st Century series with Wesleyan University Press and The Racial Imaginary with Fence Books. A recipient of awards and fewllowships from The Academy of American Poets, The American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Lannan Foundation, Poets and Writers, and the National Endowments for the Arts, she teaches at Pomona College.
This is event is co-sponsored by Graywolf Press, the College of St. Benedict, and The Loft Literary Center. Citizen is made possible through a partnership with the College of St. Benedict, and honors the legacy of S. Mariella Gable, a distinguished teacher at the College.
MENTOR SERIES READING: MATT RASMUSSEN
Friday, February 20, 7 p.m.
The 2014–15 Loft Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose presents poetry mentor Matt Rasmussen reading along with program participants Karlyn Coleman (fiction) and Jennifer Krueger (nonfiction).
Matt Rasmussen’s poetry has been published in Gulf Coast, Cimarron Review, H_NGM_N, Water~Stone Review, New York Quarterly, Paper Darts, and at Poets.org. He’s received awards, grants, and residencies from The Bush Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Minnesota State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts, The Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN, and The Corporation of Yaddo. He is a 2014 Pushcart Prize winner, a former Peace Corps Volunteer, and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College. His first book of poems, Black Aperture, won the 2012 Walt Whitman Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2013.
Karlyn Coleman was recently awarded a Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant. Her stories have been published in Paper Darts, McSweeney’s, Canvas, and Revolver. Her story “Ice Roads” was awarded first place in fiction and is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review. She lives in South Minneapolis with her husband, two boys, and a dog named Happy.
Jennifer Krueger is a freelance writer living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her work has appeared in Revolver, The Evening Street Review, Front Porch Journal, and elsewhere. She has also published over one dozen nonfiction books for children under a pseudonym. She is a stay-at-home mom who has taken classes at The Loft Literary Center for the past four years.
MINNESOTA EMERGING WRITERS’ GRANT READING
Saturday, February 21, 7 p.m.
Winners of the 2014 and 2013 Emerging Writers’ Grant come together for a special reading. This event will feature short readings by Heather Slomski, Mary Stein, Kristin Fitzsimmons, Karlyn Coleman, John Jodzio, Gretchen Marquette, Tami Mohamed Brown, Amir Hussain, Cole Sarrar. Hieu Minh Nguyen, Romelle Adkins, and Lesley Arimah.
FLIP THE SCRIPT! A DIALOGUE ON THE ARTS & RACE (FOR YOUTH AND ADULTS)
Sunday, February 22, 5 p.m.
A dialogue with poets Tish Jones, Guante, and Chaun Webster on race and the arts facilitated by David Mura. These three artist activists have been vitally involved with the local spoken word scene and the social justice movement. We will examine their perspective as artists who work closely with youth and a new generation of artist activists. Among the topics to be discussed will be recent local arts controversies: the Walker Arts Center and 12 Years as a Slave, TruArtSpeaks and Button Poetry, the Ordway Theater and the Don’t Buy Miss Saigon Coalition. Other topics will include the Black Lives Matter movement, intersectionality and the need to move beyond essentialism, and strategies for broader, more diverse coalitions.
This dialogue is free and open to the public. It will be the final event of the Flip the Script! A Spoken Word Writing & Performance Conference for Youth Ages 13-19 presented by TruArtSpeaks. Youth from the conference will be involved in the dialogue with the panelists.
This event is supported by a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant.
Incorporated in 1975, The Loft Literary Center is one of the nation’s leading independent literary centers. The Loft advances the artistic development of writers, fosters a thriving literary community, and inspires a passion for literature.