The Saint Paul Almanac is pleased to announce the sixth in its 2013–2014 season of acclaimed Lowertown Reading Jams, which celebrate the rich literary history of Minnesota’s capital city and the widely popular genre of spoken word.


The “West Bank Footprints: Hidden, Awe-inspiring Stories” Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul. All ages, no cover, donations welcome. Food and beverages for sale.

“West Bank Footprints: Hidden, Awe-inspiring Stories”

Featuring performances by
Farhiyo Abdulkarim • Janet Curiel
Safy-Hallan Farah • Ifrah Mansour • Lula Saleh

Where have your footprints taken you? Through storytelling, spoken words, poetry, chanting, singing, crafting, and painting, we retrace our footprints and reflect as educators, community organizers, artists, students, and fellow supporters on our journeys to romance the West Bank neighborhood in the midst of our greater personal journeys. We examine our impact in a space that continues to challenge all odds.

Watch SPNN’s Video of the Jam

About the Performers

ifrah-mansourIFRAH MANSOUR is a multidisciplinary performance artist moonlighting as an improvisational storyteller, choreographer, dancer, and short-film maker. She enjoys crafting recycled wearable designs as a focal piece to capture her childhood’s innocence and sense of wonder, while embracing growing up in a foreign, modern, and technologized world that is contrary to the beautiful childhood memories of her impoverished grandmother’s farm. She’s inspired by the complexities of “Haves and Have-nots” within the American and East-African communities. Off stage, she adores working with senior students learning English for the first time, co-leads craft-circle programs, and tends community-shared gardens, while finishing her master’s degree in education. Current projects include “IM hey,” “IM knead” at Bedlam short shorts, “IM Lolla” at CAIR-MN Ball, and in the “Students” of Vanessa Voskuil.

Farhiyo-AbdulkarimFARHIYO ABDULKARIM is an aspiring storyteller, a poet at heart, a Muslim female superhero in disguise, and a literature enthusiast, whose favorite things are gelato, comic books, traveling, and international films. She’s a freelance writer and currently blogs for TC Daily Planet.

Janet CurielJANET CURIEL is an ESL teacher in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, which is also her and her son’s beloved home. She is fascinated by the stories and cultural traditions of others, particularly of the East African people that are her neighbors and her students. She illustrated and self-published one of the first bilingual Oromo books in North America, depicting traditional tales of Oromo people, and hopes to publish many more. Her passions are music, literature, languages, and the natural world. She works in the community to help preserve the historical aspects of the West Bank.

Safy-hallan FarahSAFY-HALLAN FARAH is a Minneapolis-based writer and beautiful genius. Her work has been published in Gawker, Vice, and Thought Catalog, among other places. You can follow her infrequently updated blog at

LULA SALEH is a writer, poet, journalist, and performance artist. She is a 2014 Givens Black Writers fellow, and has performed her poetry at Patrick’s Cabaret, Voices Merging, Open Streets St. Paul, and the annual CAIR Artists Gala, to name a few. Lula has been writing all her life, and recently has been using writing as a medium for catharsis and personal healing.



The “West Bank Footprints” Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul.

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