McKnight Poetry Fellows Reading, No Star Where: New Poems by Bao Phi, Talking Volumes: Jonathan Franzen, and other September 2015 EventsAt-A-Glance:
9/4: McKnight Poetry Fellows Reading
9/12: No Star Where: New Poems by Bao Phi
9/13: Second Story Reading Series: Christine Heppermann and Laura Ruby
9/15: Talking Volumes: Jonathan Franzen
9/18: Special Reading with Freya Manfred
9/20: Peace Site Dedication
9/27: As Curated By: More than a Single Story
Unless otherwise noted, all events have a $5–10 suggested admission, are open to the public, and take place at The Loft Literary Center at Open Book 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis
MCKNIGHT POETRY FELLOWS READING Friday, September 4, 7 p.m.
Come see readings by the 2014 McKnight Fellows in Poetry, administered by the Loft Literary Center. Guidelines for the 2016 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers in Poetry and Younger Children’s Literature, administered by the Loft Literary Center, are available now.
Sierra DeMulder, Danez Smith, Carolyn Williams-Noren, and Sun Yung Shin.
Sun Yung Shin 2012, (photo by Dan Markworth)
Sun Yung Shin is the author of poetry collections Unbearable Splendor (forthcoming),Rough, and Savage and Skirt Full of Black (Asian American Literary Award) all from Coffee House Press. Her new anthology, A Peculiar Price: New Writing on Racial Realities in Minnesota, is forthcoming from Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2016. She is the co-editor of the anthology Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, and is also the author of Cooper’s Lesson, a bilingual Korean/English illustrated book for children. She is a 2014–15 McKnight Foundation fellow for literature and has received grants and fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and elsewhere. Shin has written for the likes of Star Tribune,Gazillion Voices, The Nerds of Color, and presents her work in a wide variety of community, literary, and academic venues. She lives in Minneapolis.
Carolyn Williams-Noren has built a writing life while raising two daughters and working as a communications manager for a housing nonprofit, and has learned the craft of poetry primarily from teachers, mentors, and colleagues at the Loft. Carolyn’s chapbook, Small Like a Tooth, was published this year by Dancing Girl Press. Other recent poems can be found in Salamander, Tar River Poetry, Calyx, and Sugar House Review. Carolyn received a 2010–2011 Loft Mentor Series award, a 2010 Blacklock Nature Sanctuary fellowship, and a 2013 Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. She is also the founder and custodian of a free poetry lbrary (littlepoetrylibrary.org) in the Minneapolis neighborhood where she lives with her family.
Sierra DeMulder is an internationally touring performance poet and educator. She is a two-time National Poetry Slam champion and the author of The Bones Below and New Shoes on a Dead Horse (2010, 2012, Write Bloody Publishing). Sierra is the recipient of a 2014 McKnight Fellowship. Her work has been featured on NPR, Huffington Post, The Advocate, and more. In addition to performing, Sierra is the curriculum director of the Gustavus Adolphus College Institute of Spoken Word and Poetry Slam, an annual writing summer camp for high school students, and one of the founders of Button Poetry, the largest digital distributor of spoken word in the world. Sierra holds a BA from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Minneapolis with her dog, Fidelis.
Danez Smith was born Saint Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of [insert] Boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Lambda Literary Award, and the chapbook hands on ya knees(Penmanship Books, 2013). Smith is the recipient of fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, Cave Canem, Voices of Our Nation (VONA), and elsewhere. He is a founding member of the multigenre, multicultural Dark Noise Collective. His writing has appeared inPoetry, Ploughshares, Beloit Poetry Journal, Kinfolks, and elsewhere. In poetry slam, he is a 2011 Individual World Poetry Slam finalist and the reigning two-time Rustbelt Individual Champion, and was on the 2014 championship team Sad Boy Supper Club. In 2014 he was the festival director for the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam, and he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He earned a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was a First Wave Urban Arts Scholar.
Bao Phi is a multiple Minnesota Grand Slam poetry champ and National Poetry Slam finalist who has been on HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry and whose work was included in TheBest American Poetry anthology of 2006. He has toured as a featured artist in hundreds of venues across the country since 1999, including the blockbuster diasporic Vietnamese variety show Paris By Night. He has been named a City Pages, Star Tribune, and Urban Griots Artist of the Year. His first book, Sông I Sing, was met with strong sales, is taught in classrooms across the United States, and enjoyed rave reviews, including The New York Times which stated “In this song of his very American self, every poem Mr. Phi writes rhymes with the truth.”
His new poems deal with his history as a Vietnamese refugee born during war and raised in the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis, through his newly formed lens of being a man of color raising a daughter.
This event is cosponsored by The Loft Literary Center and is free and open to the public.
Bao Phi is a fiscal year 2015 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Christine Heppermann is the author of Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty, which was selected as a Best Book for Young Adults, 2014, by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, The Boston Globe, and the Chicago Public Library. She also writes fiction and nonfiction for children, including City Chickens (2012) and, with Ron Koertge, Backyard Witch: Sadie’s Story (2015). A long-time book reviewer for a variety of publications, she currently reviews young adult literature for The Chicago Tribune.
Laura Ruby writes fiction for adults, teens, and children. She is the author of the newly-released YA novel Bone Gap, as well as the Edgar-nominated children’s mystery Lily’s Ghosts, the ALA Quick Pick for teens Good Girls (2006), a collection of interconnected short stories about blended families for adults, I’m Not Julia Roberts (2007), and the forthcoming middle-grade trilogy York. She is on the faculty of Hamline University’s Masters in Writing for Children Program. She makes her home in the Chicago area.
There is a $5-$10 suggested admission fee associated with this event.
TALKING VOLUMES: JONATHAN FRANZEN Tuesday, September 15, 7 p.m., Fitzgerald Theater,10 E Exchange St, Saint Paul
Talking Volumes, Minnesota’s nationally acclaimed regional book club, spotlights current books and their authors in Star Tribune articles, author appearances at Saint Paul’s Fitzgerald Theater, and Minnesota Public Radio broadcasts. Talking Volumes is a partnership of the Star Tribune and MPR in collaboration with The Loft Literary Center.
From the publisher about Purity: A magnum opus for our morally complex times from the author of Freedom. Young Pip Tyler doesn’t know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she’s saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she’s squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother—her only family—is hazardous. But she doesn’t have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she’ll ever have a normal life.
Jonathan Franzen is the author of the bestsellers Freedom and The Corrections. He’s been a Pulitzer finalist and won the National Book Award. Time Magazine has declared him a “Great American Novelist.” He is a passionate birder.
Season tickets for Talking Volumes range from $69.00-$75.00. Single tickets range from $25.00-$30.00 with a VIP experience at $50.00. Members of Minnesota Public Radio, Star Tribune, and The Loft Literary Center receive a $2.00 discount on each standard price tier. Season tickets go on sale July 7, and single tickets on July 23. Call the Minnesota Public Radio box office at 651-290-1200 or visit online at http://fitzgeraldtheater.publicradio.orgfor more information.
SPECIAL READING WITH FREYA MANFRED Friday, September 18, 7 p.m.
Please join American Book poet and memoirist, Freya Manfred for a reading from her latest works Speak, Mother and Raising Twins: A True Life Adventure.
One out of every 30 babies is born a twin. Raising Twins: A True Life Adventure is a memoir based on weekly notes Manfred took from the time of her pregnancy until her sons were in college. This memoir is not a “how to” book, or a manual full of bullet points. Manfred does not editorialize, over-interpret, or pretend that she and her husband knew what they were doing. That’s the point. They did not. It was almost all improvisation. Many child-rearing theories and cultural fairy tales proved inadequate to raising twins. Most importantly, during this 20 year journey, Freya Manfred and Thomas Pope were brought back repeatedly to a reverence for individuality that is difficult for parents to encourage when overwhelmed with the logistics of raising twins. She says she was “far from a tiger mother. I was more like a dolphin mother, swimming beside our sons, letting two souls explore the depths and heights of their surroundings.”
Freya Manfred has eight published books of poetry, including Swimming With a Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle, which won the 2009 Midwest Booksellers Choice award, andSpeak, Mother, due in April of 2015. A longtime MIdwesterner who has also lived on both coasts, her poetry has appeared in over 100 reviews and magazines and 40 anthologies. Her memoir, Frederick Manfred: A Daughter Remembers, was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award and an Iowa Historical Society Award. Novelist Philip Roth says, “Freya Manfred always startles me by how close she gets to everything she sees. That’s her tough luck, but it makes her a wonderful poet.” He also says, “Her memoir about her father is a classic.” Poet Robert Bly says, “What I like about her poems is that they are not floating around in the air or the intellect. The body takes them in. They are brave. The reader and the writer meet each other in the body.” Freya lives in Stilllwater, MN with her husband, screenwriter Thomas Pope. Their sons, Nicholas Bly Pope and Ethan Rowan Pope have illustrated some of her poetry.
PEACE SITE DEDICATION Sunday, September 20, 2 p.m.
To honor Open Book’s place in the global community and its promotion of intercultural understanding, and in recognition of the connecting power of literature, Open Book will be dedicated as an International Peace Site at a ceremony Sunday, September 20, 2–4 p.m.
Organized by the Loft’s Peace and Social Justice Writers Group, along with Open Book’s member organizations, The Loft Literary Center, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and Milkweed Editions, the ceremony will celebrate and link the forces of peace and literature. Worldwide observance of International Day of Peace is Monday, September 21.
The designation as an International Peace Site grants unique status to Open Book and pays tribute to the writers, book artists, and publishers that are active in the community, and on the world scene. Sponsored by World Citizen, and shared by over 700 other places in the world, this designation strengthens Open Book’s commitment to a peaceful learning and working environment. World Citizen will provide online and onsite resources for Peace Education as a basis for classroom discussions around cultural understanding, human rights, conflict resolution, peace, and social justice. The Loft Literary Center, at Open Book, believes that “dialogue among readers and writers enriches our lives, our society, and our world.”
Besides showcasing the work underway at Open Book, the event includes the dedication ceremony and an open house. The writing groups Equilibrium, TGI Frybread Native American Writers Group, and the Peace and Social Justice Writers Group will offer readings. Multimedia works by A Peace of My Mind and “the f word,” a program of The Forgiveness Project, will be on display. Twin Cities-based, American singer, songwriter, and activist Larry Long will be the musical guest. Matchbook and bookmark making are among activities suitable for families, offered by the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Please join all those committed to world peace and to the transforming power of literature for this exciting celebration on Sunday, at 2 p.m. The exhibits will open at 1 p.m.
The Peace and Social Justice Writers Group has actively promoted peace-making at Open Book since 2006. In the words of Jocelyn Hale, The Loft Literary Center’s current Executive Director, “Literary and artistic expression lead to empathy.” Empathy leads to a caring, connected, and conscious community. Open Book fosters that sense of community.
Please join us for the celebration on Sunday, September 20 at Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, in the Performance Hall.
For more information about the Open Book dedication event or about the Peace and Social Justice Writers Group, please contact Philip Lund at 612-819-1890 or at[email protected].
Black writers often get lumped together as though there is only one voice from which they speak. In a powerful TED talk, Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie points out that there is never a single story. She says “It is vital to listen to the multiple stories of a person or a place, to truly engage and gain an objective and in-depth understanding of a subject being written about.”
In this series, writer Carolyn Holbrook will facilitate conversations with African American, Caribbean, and African women writers on the many voices and stories of Black women writers. Some discussion topics will include identity, the canon, and publishing.
The first panel discussion in the series will feature six African-American writers: Mary Moore Easter, Pamela Fletcher, Shannon Gibney, Andrea Jenkins, Tish Jones, and Lori Young-Williams.
Carolyn Holbrook is a writer, educator, and long-time advocate for the healing power of the arts. Her passion for providing grassroots accessibility to the literary arts inspired her to create SASE: The Write Place in 1993. She led the organization until 2006, when she spearheaded its merger with Intermedia Arts. In 2005, she designed the Givens Foundation for African American Literature’s writers-in-the-schools program. In 2010, she was awarded the MN Book Awards Kay Sexton Award for long-standing dedication and outstanding work in fostering books, reading, and literary activity in Minnesota. Her book,Ordinary People, Extraordinary Journeys: How the St. Paul Companies Leadership Initiatives in Neighborhoods Program Changed Lives and Communities was published in 2013 and 2015. She is currently at work on a collection of personal essays. She teaches creative writing and composition at Hamline University and Minneapolis Community & Technical College.
Mary Moore Easter, Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and Cave Canem Fellow, is published in POETRY, Seattle Review, Water~Stone Review, Calyx, Pluck!, Persimmon Tree, and elsewhere. She holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence and an M.A. from Goddard. A Virginia transplant, Easter re-rooted at Carleton College in Minnesota where she was founder and director of the Dance Program. Now emerita professor of dance, veteran dancer/choreographer, her chapbook is Walking From Origins. Honors include a Bush Artist Fellowship, multiple McKnight Artist Fellowships, the Loft Creative Nonfiction Award, Ragdale and Anderson Center residencies. She continues a second year as State Co-Mentor for the 2015 Givens Black Writers Program.
Pamela R. Fletcher serves as a professor of English and the director of writing at St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She also serves as an editor. Currently, she is senior editor of the Saint Paul Almanac and co-editor of Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota (2015), As We See It: A Fresh Look at Vision Loss(2014), and Transforming a Rape Culture (1993, 1995, and 2005). Her prose and poetry have appeared in many academic and literary journals, and she has earned several writing and scholarly awards and grants. In addition to teaching at St. Catherine University, she also has taught African American literature courses at the University of Minnesota and at Carleton College, among other Minnesota institutions; and, she has taught creative writing at Hamline University (MFA), at the University of Minnesota, and abroad in Ghana, West Africa for the New School of New York. Pamela has also presented her writing and research at national and international conferences.
Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, and activist in Minneapolis. Her young adult novelSee No Color, will be released by Carolrhoda Lab in November 2015. Her writing has appeared in a variety of venues, including The Crisis, Gawker, and Inside Higher Education. Gibney is a professor of English at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), where she teaches critical and creative writing, journalism, and African diasporic topics. A former Bush Artist Fellow, she lives with her husband and children in Minneapolis.
Andrea Jenkins, Intermedia Arts Board Chair, and Bush Fellow, is a writer, performer, educator and activist. She is a locally and nationally recognized poet, earning many awards, fellowships, and commissions. Andrea has co-curated the Queer Voices Reading Series with John Medeiros at Intermedia Arts for 10 years (which is the longest running reading series of its kind in the country). She is an Oral Historian at the Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota Archives.
Tish Jones, the Founder, Executive & Artistic Director of TruArtSpeaks was no doubt born an artist. As both a spoken word artist and an emcee, Jones has performed at The Walker Art Center, Intermedia Arts, The Cedar Cultural Center, and more. As a teaching artist she has shared space in adult and youth correctional facilities, colleges and universities throughout the country, k-12 schools, and numerous other spaces that provide youth and community programming. Former Community Engagement Director for theSaint Paul Almanac, Tish Jones is now the host of one of the most successful and inclusive community open mics in the state, Re-Verb Open Mic, at Golden Thyme Café, a remarkably diverse, multigenerational, and dialogical space for creative people to share ideas on a weekly basis. Her work can be found in the Minnesota Humanities Center’s anthology entitled, Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2015), the 2011 and 2013 Saint Paul Almanac, The Loft Literary Center’s Nation of Immigrants audio CD highlighting the voices of their longstanding Equilibrium Spoken Word Series, and many more spaces.
Lori Young-Williams comes from a working class family that believes in laughter, crying, and praying when times are good, bad, or otherwise. Her poetry is about her immediate and extended family and how she sees them live in and relate to the world. She earned a Master of Liberal Studies from the University of Minnesota in 2011, focusing on Black women and the Great Migration. Lori has taught several creative writing workshops with Sherry Quan Lee at various locations in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota, most recently at Moorhead State University for Women’s History Month focusing on the theme of love. She has been published in various poetry anthologies and self-published two chapbooks, 2003 and 2004, and became a Literary Artist with the Givens Foundation in 2013.
Other panels in the series are scheduled to take place on:
Sunday, October 4 at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, November 15 at 2:30 p.m.
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.