March 23, 2023

Cracked Walnut continues its regular reading series with the the theme of Stargazers this month.

This time, the reading will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, June 22, at the East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street, St. Paul, Minn. This month’s featured poets include: Josh Brown, Riawa Thomas-Smith, Mike Finley, Frances
Kai-Hwa Wang and Bryan Thao Worra.

Established in 2010, Cracked Walnut believes in the power of the
creative spirit, and particularly the creative writing spirit of the 
Twin Cities. Cracked Walnut organizes readings in traditional and non tradition
spaces in the Twin Cities metro area to procure a love for live 
literature, community and creativity. In addition to the various
literary readings they present throughout the Twin Cities metro area
and elsewhere in Minnesota. They offer writing workshops and sponsor
contests and other programs designed to promote literary endeavors for
writers of all levels and backgrounds. You can visit them online at:

The mission of the East Side Freedom Library is to inspire solidarity, advocate
for justice and work toward equity for all. The library houses 
non-circulating research collections that appeal to interested general
 learners as well as scholars, with innovative databases and finding 
aids that make using the collections fun and vital.

Josh Brown is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. A graduate 
of the University of Minnesota–Duluth with a degree in English
Literature, he has spent the past 15 years in the publishing 
industry working for and with award-winning publishers and
best-selling authors.

An active member of the Science Fiction and
Fantasy Poetry Association, Brown’s work can be found in numerous 
anthologies as well as in Star*Line, Scifaikuest, Mithila Review,
Fantasy Scroll Magazine, and more. His essay, “Poems and Songs of The
Hobbit” was recently featured in Critical Insights: The Hobbit(Salem
Press, 2016). He served as editor for issue 20 of Eye to the
Telescope, the official online journal of the SFPA. He currently lives
in Minneapolis with his wife and two sons.

Riawa Thomas-Smith was born and raised in Minneapolis and writes weird 
fiction and poetry. She has performed short stories, poems and the
occasional song at open mics around the Twin Cities since the early
 1990s. She read at Storyfest in 2016 and once won Poetry Division of the 
Misfits writing contest.

Mike Finley is a writer, poet, and videographer from Amherst, Ohio. In 
2001, Finley self-published his collected works, Yukon Gold: Poemes de
terre  He described the 500-plus page collection as the largest
chapbook ever published.

Finley has published many books of poetry, 
nonfiction, and humor, from presses such as Litmus, Inc. (Lucky You,
1976); Minnesota Writers Publishing House (Home Trees, 1976); Vanilla
Press (The Movie under the Blindfold, 1976); and Salthouse Press
(Water Hills, 1985). Other books by Finley include For the Young Poets
of Cleveland (NightBallet Press); The Poet Voznesenski; Spit on the
Griddle; Poets Ruin Everything;  Letting God Go; The Curtis Hotel and
Other Confabulations; Don’t Be Like the Moon; and Defending the Cake.

Finley is co-editor with St. Paul bread baker Danny Klecko of LIEF
Magazine, an online journal of arts dedicated to bright messages. He has collaborated on three print volumes with Klecko: Out for a
Lark (2013), The Bluebeard of Happiness (2013) and A Pox on Your
Blessings (2013).

Finley is a video maker with over 50 short films. 
He was the winner of the KPV Kerouac Award, 2011.

Finley’s journalism,
criticism and other work have appeared in Rolling Stone, St. Paul
 Pioneer Press, Minnesota Monthly, Paris Review, Success Magazine and 
Guideposts. He was awarded a Wisconsin State Arts Fellowship for
fiction in 1985. In 2010 he published Zombie Girl, a novella about the
death of his daughter Daniele Finley.

Finley manages Robots & Pirates,
 a small foundation providing services to young people in trouble in
Minneapolis/St. Paul. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a journalist, essayist, speaker, educator, and
poet focused on issues of diversity, race, culture and the arts. The 
child of immigrants, she was born in Los Angeles, raised in Silicon
Valley, and now divides her time between Michigan and Hawai‘i County in Hawai‘i. She has worked in philosophy, ethnic new media, 
anthropology, international development, nonprofits and small
 business start-ups.

Wang’s writing has appeared at NBC News Asian
America, PRI Global Nation, New America Media, Pacific Citizen, Angry
Asian Man, Cha Asian Literary Journal, Kartika Review and several 
anthologies, journals, and art exhibitions. She teaches courses on 
Asian/Pacific Islander American media and civil rights law at the
University of Michigan, and teaches creative writing at University 
of Hawai‘i Hilo and Washtenaw Community College.

Wang co-created a
multimedia artwork for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
Indian American Heritage Project online and traveling art exhibition. 
Her website can be found at

Bryan Thao Worra is president of the Science Fiction 
and Fantasy Poetry Association, currently celebrating its 40th

 He is an international award-winning Lao American 
author with his 2013 book, DEMONSTRA, which won the Elgin Book of the Year Award 
from the Science Fiction Poetry Association.

The author of six books,
 Thao Worra’s work appears in over 100 international publications. His accolades
 include a Fellowship in Literature from the National Endowment for the
Arts and he was a Cultural Olympian representing the nation of Laos
during the 2012 London Summer Olympics. His work is part of numerous 
Smithsonian projects and has appeared in  Australia, Canada, England,
Scotland, Germany, France, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Chile,
 Mexico and Pakistan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *