Five local poets “get their Irish up” to kick off the City’s annual month-long love affair with all things green at the Lowertown Reading Jam

In anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day, five local Irish-American writers will be reading in a popular monthly event sponsored by The Saint Paul Almanac and curated this month by Saint Paul Poet Laureate, Carol Connolly. Presented Monday, March 1, 2010 at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar in Lowertown, Connolly brings together a quintet of acclaimed Irish Poets to read from new and selected works. Joining Carol for the reading will be Kevin Fitzpatrick, Ethna McKiernan, Tim Nolan, and Mary Kay Rummel.

Carol Connolly, Saint Paul’s Poet Laureate since 2006, will emcee as well as read. Her book of poems, Payments Due, On Stage Off Stage (Midwest Villages and Voices), now in its fifth printing, was staged as a play in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and other locales. Her new book, All This and More is from Nodin Press. She is the fifth generation of her Irish family to live in Saint Paul.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, poet, author of Down on the Corner and Rush Hour (Midwest Villages & Voices), and Greatest Hits 1975 to 2000 (Pudding House Press, Johnstown, Ohio), was a founder and editor of the Lake Street Review, a highly regarded literary magazine, now extinct. He is widely published in literary journals and anthologies, and his poems have been read by Garrison Keillor on MPR’S “The Writer’s Almanac.” Kevin is a Saint Paul native.

Ethna McKiernan is a Saint Paul native and poet, whose book, The One Who Swears You Can’t Start Over (Salmon Publishing, County Clare, Ireland), follows her Minnesota Book Award-nominated Caravan (Midwest Villages and Voices). McKiernan was CEO of the late, great and internationally acclaimed Irish Books and Media. Her work is widely published in anthologies here and in Ireland. Her new work, a book nearing completion, is Sky Thick with Fireflies.

Tim Nolan, poet and lawyer, holds an MFA from Columbia University, and while studying in New York, worked as a Whitney Museum archivist, and read the poetry slush pile for the Paris Review. Widely published in prestigious anthologies and journals includingThe Gettysberg Review, The Nation, Ploughshares and more, he also leads theDiamond LakeWriters Group in South Minneapolis. Garrison Keillorhas readNolan’s poems on “The Writer’s Almanac,” and his first book of poems, The Sound of It (New Rivers Press, 2008), was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award for poetry.

Mary Kay Rummel, will read from her new book of poems, Sometimes What’s Left is Singing (Blue Light Press). Her latest book follows Love in the End (Bright Hill Press), The Illuminations (Cherry Grove Collections), Green Journey Red Bird, The Long Journey Into North, and This Body She’s Entered. Rummel is a University of Duluth professor emeritus, and teaches at California State University, Channel Islands. Her poems trace a woman’s passionate search of illumination, which began with Rummel’s personal exploration of the Book of Kells – an illuminated manuscript containing the four Gospels of the New Testament transcribed by Celtic monks circa 800 AD.

Lowertown Reading Jam: A Quintet of Irish Poets

Monday, March 1, 2010 – 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar

308 Prince Street, St Paul, MN 55101

SPNN will be filming this reading for broadcast on Channel 19.

This Saint Paul Almanac reading series is free and open to the public.

The Lowertown Reading Jam Series continues at the Black Dog Cafe on the first Monday of the month through July. Each session is hosted by a well-known writer or spoken word artist, and Saint Paul artist Lara Hanson interprets the readings through drawings using Japanese ink brushes. Free hors d’oeuvres are served, and the Black Dog Cafe offers its “Monday Madness” special featuring a large pizza and bottle of wine or a large pizza and four Summit beer taps for just $20. All Reading Jams are American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted.

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