2014 SPA Contributors
Britt Aamodt is a lifelong suburbanite who can be seen wandering the streets of Saint Paul periodically under the guidance of local tour guide Selby the Dog.
Ta–coumba Aiken is a Twin Cities artist, arts administrator, educator, and community activist who focuses on public art and collaborative projects. His “rhythm paintings” on paper and canvas are loose and lively. He has participated in the creation of over 300 murals and public art sculptures, with themes ranging from local history to the artist’s own style of rhythmic pattern and spirit writing. His works can be found in public and private collections, including those of the Walker Art Center, General Mills, Herbie Hancock, Taj Mahal, and Maya Angelou. www.Ta-coumbaAiken.com
Louis Alemayehu is a writer, educator, activist, poet, father, and grandfather of African and Native American heritage. He provides workshops and consultations on racism, culture, environmental justice, and community building. His writing has appeared in national and international publications such as The International Process Work Journal, DRUM, and The Energy Bulletin. Alemayehu is a founding member of the seminal, award-winning poetry/jazz ensemble Ancestor Energy. In 2009, the Minnesota Spoken Word Association gave Alemayehu an Urban Griot award for thirty years of excellence as a pioneering spoken word artist. In 2012, the Process Work Institute in Portland, Oregon, certified Louis as a “World Work Elder.”
Z Lu Alexander is a Gardener, Artist, and Healer, ZZ lives with her Dog and Cat and Houseplants, collecting Rocks and Feathers wherever she goes.
Kirk Anderson creates political cartoons, humorous illustration, and graphic design, now gluten-free. Molotov Comix Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota. Smell the satire. www.MolotovComics.com
Polyxeni Angelis was born in Athens, Greece. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from the University of Minnesota. Her work appears in the 2011 Montreal Prize Global Poetry Anthology and the Burlesque Press Online Journal. Writing is her passion, and please, don’t ever call her Polly.
Serena Mira Asta is an artist and writer in Lowertown. She is also a singer and a self-aware art supply addict. She loves spinning and dyeing, but is careful how often she says that out loud. www.AstaArt.com
Ken Avidor, the artist who created the cover to this book and whose full page art appears throughout this edition, is a cartoonist and illustrator living in a loft in Lowertown’s Union Depot with his wife, Roberta Avidor (creator of the Saint Paul Almanac maps). Ken is also the custodian for and frequent contributor to the Twin Cities Urban Sketchers blog found at www.urbansketchers-twincities.blogspot.com. www.AvidorStudios.com
Roberta Avidor is the illustrator and updater of the Saint Paul Almanac maps. She works as an illustrator and lives at the Union Depot Lofts with her husband, Ken. She’s a participant in the Twin Cities MetroSketchers and volunteers at Vail Place in Minneapolis running a watercolor workshop. www.AvidorStudios.com
Caroline Bassett is an occasional poet (even published!) and sometime tango dancer. She directs The Wisdom Institute and teaches at Capella and Walden Universities. A transplanted Easterner, she loves the nature and culture, winter and water of the Twin Cities. She also loves and is loved by an Irreverent Insouciant.
William Birawer was born in Saint Paul, received his BFA in illustration from the College of Visual Arts in the spring of 1999. William works as a freelance illustrator and caricature artist. www.WilliamBirawer.com
Harriet Bishop (1817–1883) came to Minnesota in 1847 and became Saint Paul’s first teacher, established the first Sunday school, and was one of the founders of many social movements, such as women’s suffrage. She wrote four books, both nonfiction and poetry.
David Bornus is a state employee who works in Saint Paul and lives in Shoreview. His is a true story of coming home from last year’s Saint Paul Almanac reading. (Note: upon reaching home, he found the spider dead inside the napkin ball. Of course you wanted to know…)
Wendy Brown-Báez is a writer, teacher, performance poet, and installation artist. She is the author of Ceremonies of the Spirit and Transparencies of Light, and her prose and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals. She has performed her poetry nationally and in Mexico, in cafés, bars, galleries, cabarets, and community centers. Wendy is the creator of Writing Circles for Healing. She received McKnight Foundation and Minnesota State Arts Board grants to present writing workshops for at-risk youth and for nonprofits and is a member of the Minnesota Prison Writers Collective. She is the writing instructor for the after-school program at Face to Face Academy in Saint Paul, where she is kept on her toes. www.wendybrownbaez.com
Henry L. Bushnell is a senior at Central High School. Unlike many teenagers nowadays, he is neither a punk nor a juvenile delinquent. He enjoys singing, acting, and helping old ladies across the street.
Colleen Casey uses language and other arts to facilitate positive transformation. From Bdote and of Mdewakanton Dakota and European-American heritages, Colleen considers herself a person of crosscurrents and confluences. Through her work in community-driven educational programming, Colleen helps others build their voices. She believes we are all related.
Kate Cavett has spent hundreds of hours listening to more than 200 individuals share their reflections on Saint Paul, careers, racism, passions, sorrows, challenges and successes. Her book, Voices of Rondo: Oral Histories of Saint Paul’s Historic Black Community, won the 2006 Minnesota Book Award. She continues her dedication to document the stories of ordinary people with extraordinary lives.
Elena Cisneros is a writer and artist who grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation. After serving as an assistant editor for Water-Stone Review and receiving an MFA from Hamline University, she returned to South Dakota, and writes and works in Kyle.
Amy Clark—mother, wife, artist, teacher, writer, athlete. Student, singer, reader, caretaker of many animals. Tired most of the time, but happy.
Donte Collins is an American Slam/Performance poet. Known for his spoken word poetry, he is a Minnesota spoken word finalist and the co-founder and co-director of No Projection, a group of four brothers aiming to use spoken word as an inspirational tool. Donte performs all over the Twin Cities, including at Walker Art Center, Orchestra Hall, Pillsbury House Theatre, and Penumbra Theatre. He is currently the highest-ranked youth poet in the Twin Cities and will compete in the 2013 international spoken word competition Brave New Voices. Donte is a junior at Community of Peace Academy in Saint Paul.
Carol Connolly was appointed by Mayor Chris Coleman as Saint Paul’s first poet laureate. She is a longtime media columnist and curates and hosts the monthly Readings by Writers series, now in its fourteenth year, at the historic University Club of Saint Paul. Her book of poems Payments Due is in its fifth printing from Midwest Villages and Voices; her most recent book is All This and More from Nodin Press, 2009. She received the 2011 Kay Sexton Award for her dedication to literary activity in Minnesota.
Maryann Corbett earned a doctorate in medieval literature and linguistics from the University of Minnesota and expected to be teaching Beowulf and Chaucer and the history of English. Instead, she’s spent more than thirty years working for the Minnesota Legislature in the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. Her poems, translations, essays, and reviews have been published in more than one hundred journals and several anthologies. Her two books are Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter (Able Muse, 2013) and Breath Control (David Robert Books, 2012).
Lawrence Daniels has a deep love for chess, tennis, and fishing. The biggest bass he has caught was five and one-half pounds, at Como Lake! He also has a love for writing and producing short films, as well as for photography and long walks through the parks.
Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis. She teaches community education needlepoint classes in Minneapolis and writing classes at The Loft. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Worcester Review, Broken Pencil, and Slipstream, and she is the recipient of the 2011 Sam Ragan Poetry Prize.
Captain Bob Deck is a substitute teacher in Saint Paul and a riverboat pilot for the Padelford Packet Boat Co. He writes for Big River Magazine and has recently self-published his towboat piloting memoir, Between the Sticks, as an ebook.
Elizabeth Dingmann was born and raised in Minnesota. She currently lives in Minneapolis with her partner and is a student in the MFA program at Hamline University. Elizabeth’s work has been published in DOGEAR, Studio One, and Among Women. Her poetry has also been selected for the mnLIT What Light Poetry Project.
Norita Dittberner-Jax was born in Frogtown and has lived in Saint Paul all of her life. She thinks the city is beautiful, with its hills and flatlands congregating around the Mississippi River. Her widely published poetry collections include The Watch, Longing for Home, and What They Always Were.
Shaunté “Dr3amCh8sr” Douglas is a new spoken word artist and writer who lives in Saint Paul, and works at the Mall of America and Barnes and Noble Booksellers. She is an admitted art addict and certified shopaholic who hopes to do more work with the Saint Paul Almanac.
Susan Downing had being a Sidewalk Poetry winner on her bucket list. Writing has long been her hobby, from letters to the editor and doggerel poems for friends’ birthdays, babies, and weddings to unfinished screenplays. She and her husband recently became empty nesters and are enjoying opportunities to travel.
Tom Dunn is an award-winning photographer specializing in business and art photography. Tom photographs on location and at his Northern Warehouse studio located in Lowertown. www.tomdunnphoto.com
D. Stephen Elliot lives in Lowertown with his wife, an artist, and daughter, a poet. They LOVE Minnesota!
Heid E. Erdrich is author of four poetry collections, most recently Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems.She is Ojibwe from the Turtle Mountain Band, and she grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota. Heid is a longtime college professor and now an independent scholar, as well as a frequent visiting writer at educational and cultural institutions. She also curates art exhibits and runs an Ojibwe language press. A recipient of awards from The Loft Literary Center, the Archibald Bush Foundation and elsewhere, Heid has four times been nominated for the Minnesota Book Award, which she won in 2009 for her book National Monuments. She is a 2012–2013 Minnesota State Arts Board grant recipient.
Tony Ernst is a professional geek and amateur tinkerer. In his spare time, he wanders around with his camera waiting for something interesting to happen. He regularly posts photos at www.flickr.com/photos/gamelaner/.
Sandra Erskine is not afraid to drink day-old coffee if her cup is small enough.
Samantha Esguerra is an artist and aspiring illustrator currently working on her fixer-upper and living the dream in South Minneapolis. She lived in Saint Paul as a kid and remembers biking up a giant hill to get soft-serve. These days she reads constantly, grows an unruly garden, and enjoys biking to the lake to swim with her friends and dog. She loves her little brother and sister and when folks drop in for brunch.
Nimo H. Farah uses language to express things she finds too confusing. Currently she is trying to develop her skills as an orator while blending Somali and English. She thinks herself charming and hilarious in the Somali language, often making herself laugh, but rarely does that humor translate into English. It’ll be magical when she learns to fuse the two languages together seamlessly. Her poems and stories have been published in Water-Stone Review and the Saint Paul Almanac. As a storyteller she has shared her words at the Black Dog Café Lowertown Reading Jams, Equilibrium: Spoken Word at the Loft; and the Late Nite Series at Pillsbury House Theatre.
Charles Macomb Flandrau (1871–1938) was born in Saint Paul and educated at Harvard, where he achieved his first literary success with Harvard Episodes (1897). He went on to write five more books, including the well-received travelogue Viva Mexico! (1909). He was theatre critic for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, and also wrote for the Dispatch and Daily News, as well as contributed articles to the Saturday Evening Post.
Debra Frasier, Minnesota author and illustrator, is the founder of the Alphabet Forest, the only permanent literacy activity area at state fairs in the United States.
Eli Freberg is an aspiring author and straight A student who enjoys his work. At the age of thirteen, Eli is very busy juggling school, karate, and baseball. Besides writing, he enjoys drawing, camping, playing guitar, and hanging out with friends! An above-average kid living in Saint Paul, he strives to make a difference in his community and classroom.
Margot Fortunato Galt’s book of poetry, Between the Houses (Laurel Poetry Collaborative, 2004), includes poems from more than twenty years of writing and publishing in more than sixty journals and anthologies, local and national. Her poetry and prose have received awards and grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Loft, the Center for Arts Criticism, Poets & Writers, and others. She is also the author of the oral history memoir Turning the Feather Around: My Life in Art (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1998), with Minnesota’s premier Ojibwe artist, George Morrison.
Mayo Garner was born and raised in Englewood, California, and began writing poetry at nine years of age, before moving to the Twin Cities. Tired of having emotions such as loss and grief build up inside, Mayo took to poetry as a positive outlet. Seeing his talent early, a homegirl of Mayo’s asked him to promise her that he would take his writing seriously. You can say he’s holding up his end of the bargain.
Saibal Ghosh is a digital photographer specializing in events, portraits, landscapes, architectural details, travel scenes, nature photos, and night and macro photography. He enjoys taking photos that capture everlasting moments. www.saibalghosh.com
Georgia A. Greeley married into Saint Paul forty-four years ago. She has lived in the same Saint Paul house since April 11, 1971. She now has her dream job as an artist and writer and finds much inspiration from years in this capital city, which feels like a small-town neighborhood. She has an MFA from Hamline University and a B.A. from Saint Catherine’s University. For more information, see her website at www.georgiaagreeley-artichokepress.com, and learn more than you might want to know.
LMNOP (Lisa-Marie Greenly), a Saint Paul illustrator, can usually be found working on several bodies of work concurrently, often combining themes or media between them, frequently reworking an image in several forms to explore new ways to view a concept.
Jamie Hagg is an English teacher at Gordon Parks High School and soccer coach for the Saint Paul Blackhawks. He has been a resident of Saint Paul for twenty years, after growing up “across the river.” Jamie has three kids—Lili, Willy, and Dilly—and three dogs and three frogs. He’ll have free time when he retires in another twenty years to do more of what he loves: writing, traveling, and playing music.
Monte Hanson works at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. He loves giant snowstorms, Cool Whip on anything, goat cheese, Scrabble, road trips, Lake Como, wild socks, the blues, Johnny Cash, and chocolate marshmallow ice cream with nuts.
When Margaret Hasse was in grade school, learning poetry by heart was part of the curriculum. The first poem she chose was a short one by Emily Dickinson beginning: “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” She moved on to ballads like “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes with rhyme schemes that made memorization easier. Earth’s Appetite, Margaret’s fourth collection of poetry, released in 2013 by Nodin Press, relies more on image and metaphor than on rhyme.
Elder Rivera Herradora lives on the East Side of St. Paul with his wife and two baby twins.
Kevin Hershey is a product of the intricate Catholic school system in Saint Paul. He writes as an activist trying to better understand the world he wishes to change.
Jane Hollis is a born-and-raised Saint Paulite. Having lived abroad, which she describes as “a bit interesting at times,” she swears she will never leave her Saint Paul roots again, except for those brief, much-needed winter vacations. She works as a clinical psychologist—in Saint Paul, of course.
Korissa Howes, a Duluth-born Native American, has always had poetry and storytelling in her life. Through her culture’s traditions and by using the library, she has always had a consistent relationship with poetry. Overcoming life’s obstacles and surviving college in Saint Paul helped this relationship flourish.
Jody Huber lives in the fine Saint Paul neighborhood of Merriam Park. And while she grew up in Duluth, she spent years away in Houston, Texas, and Edmonton, Alberta, before she came to her senses and returned to Minnesota. She is a freelance advertising copywriter who loves to read just about anything, with a penchant toward female fiction writers from Great Britain, India, and Russia.
Kemet Egypt Imhotep was conceived in Oklahoma and born in Saint Paul. Kemet was left under the care of his great uncle and aunt through marriage. His aunt, Willia Mae Johnson, who was born on a plantation in Arkansas in 1918, was a strong believer in faith and trust in the Creator. Kemet says the school system failed him. He was in the class of 1990 at Central High School, and finished at the Area Learning Center located in the Uni-Dale mall. At present he says he is a lost troubled soul, still finding his way through the quicksand.
Hilal Isler now drives around Saint Paul with confidence.
Louis Jenkins is the author of numerous books, most recently Before You Know It: Prose Poems 1970–2005; his book Tin Flag: New and Selected Prose Poems is forthcoming from Will O’ the Wisp Books. He is a frequent guest on A Prairie Home Companion, and his poems have been published in many journals and anthologies, including Great American Prose Poems (Scribner, 2003). His play, Nice Fish, written in collaboration with renowned actor Mark Rylance, premiered at the Guthrie Theater in April 2013.
Leann E. Johnson has been creating art (scratchboard illustration, relief printing, and tile design) for over fifteen years. A current resident of Minneapolis, she has illustrated for other publications, such as the New York Times. www.lea-way.com
Richard Merlin Johnson Jr. was born on May 20, 1972, on the Yankton Sioux Nation. His father, Richard Sr., and mother, Suzanne, met in Los Angeles, California, during the sixties. Richard Sr. was the then-director of the L. A. Indian Center and was the organizer for the Alcatraz Occupation. Richard Jr.’s life is greatly influenced by his parents’ activism. He is Santee Sioux Dakota, Californian Chumash, and Chicano. Richard is an Artist, Poet, Writer, Painter, and Actor.
IBé Kaba likes to write. Since he doesn’t have the time or desire to follow rules, he writes free verse. He likes the word free, as in free to bend the rules of language any which way he wants. IBé likes to read poems out loud, especially to his children. But they don’t seem to like it, at least not as much as strangers do. And speaking of strangers, they call him a spoken word poet. IBé likes this—having people listen to him read his poems. But he also wants you to read his poetry… for yourself. So he has a book, a chapbook, and of course has been featured on many CDs. IBé likes that you like him; however, if you visited AtlanticRock.com and spent more than fifteen minutes, he’d consider you a stalker, and probably would not want you to have his phone number.
Patsy Kahmann is a nonfiction writer (she has witnesses to this story) who currently lives just across the river from Saint Paul. She spends hours in various Saint Paul coffeehouses writing her memoir, House of Kahmanns, about growing up in a family of twelve kids. Patsy is the second oldest, and her birthstone is opal, like her mother’s.
Saed Kakish’s excitement at the approaching fifteenth birthday of his Cahoots Coffee Bar in the fall of 2012 soared to a more joyful level when his Moroccan Mocha won the coveted Charlie Award for Twin Cities’ Outstanding Cup of Coffee. He continues to welcome all to drink coffee, sip tea, and enjoy other treats at his Selby-near-Snelling shop, including anonymous gourmet judges.
Garrison Keillor is an author, humorist, host of A Prairie Home Companion radio show, and the proprietor of Common Good Books in Saint Paul. His first book of poetry, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic and Profound (Grove Press) was published in fall 2013.
Kathryn Kysar is the author of two books of poetry, Dark Lake and Pretend the World, and she edited Riding Shotgun: Women Write about Their Mothers. She has received fellowships from Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. She lives with her family in Saint Paul.
Alex Kuno is a full-time artist and illustrator living and working in Lowertown. The Miscreants of Tiny Town, his ongoing series of darkly satirical fairy tale paintings and mixed media sculptures, has appeared in numerous solo and group shows in galleries and private collections throughout the Twin Cities and around the country. Kuno’s work has also been featured on TPT’s MNOriginal and is currently represented by Curly Tale Fine Art in Chicago.
Gloria Burgess Levin’s heart remains in Saint Paul, where she lived all her life until several years ago. Now living in Minneapolis, she makes frequent forays across the river to walk favorite streets. She is a psychoanalyst in private practice.
Abe Levine was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and came to the Midwest to attend Macalester College. He discovered that plaid was “in,” the Twin Cities had a lot to offer, and social structures are constructed, sometimes at the expense of human and animal rights. Coming from a Chinese American family, Abe was glad to find good Asian cuisine on University Avenue. He has been inspired by his adventurous, radiant, red-haired roommate and several other quirky and radically kind people in Saint Paul.
Gozong Lor graduated from Central Senior High School and will be attending Macalester College in the fall of 2013. She is a student by day and masked crime-fighter by night. Her greatest weakness is a good book.
Charles Matson Lume is a visual artist with an MFA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has received fellowships from the Bush and Jerome Foundations, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Charles finds illumination in the poetry of Gustaf Sobin, William Bronk, and Charles Wright.
Patrick McCutchan is an artist in Lowertown whose photography focuses on people, relationships, and communities. www.PatrickMcCutchan.com
Tom McGregor has had a studio in Lowertown since 1990. His love for this historic area of Saint Paul and the West Side neighborhood, where he lives with his wife, artist Jerri Jo Brandt, is evident in many of his plein air paintings. An active community member, his involvement with the Saint Paul Art Crawl dates back nearly twenty years. www.mcgregorart.com
Deborah McLaren is a sustainable tourism specialist with a master’s in social ecology. She has written two books, Rethinking Tourism and Ecotravel (Kumarlan Press) and Responsible Tourism (Transitions Abroad), and has contributed to numerous other books, magazines, newsletters, and online media. She also occasionally teaches alternative travel writing at The Loft and at regional folk schools. Her favorite place is her back yard in Saint Paul on a summer evening, watching the stars and hanging out with family and friends by a fire.
Linda Back McKay is a poet, writer, and teaching artist. She is the author of several books, including a book of poetry, The Next Best Thing (Nodin Press, 2011) and the nonfiction Out of the Shadows: Stories of Adoption and Reunion (North Star Press, 2012). She lives with the intrepid David McKay and their red-hot motorcycle just across the river from Saint Paul, and she hastens to add, they were both born and raised in Saint Paul.
Ethna McKiernan is the author of three books of poems, the most recent of which is Sky Thick with Fireflies (Salmon Poetry, Ireland). Widely anthologized in collections as diverse as The Notre Dame Anthology of Irish American Poetry, 33 Minnesota Poets, and Beloved on This Earth, she has twice been awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship. She is employed by a Minneapolis nonprofit, working with the long-term homeless population.
Marianne McNamara lives in Saint Paul, where she weaves together life as a writer of poetry, a food blogger and chef de cuisine, a shutterbug, and grandmother to the amazing Nora. She began writing after she burned out as a school volunteer. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of anthologies, on sidewalks, and in a magazine.
Franklin Delano “Del” Meath was born in Saint Paul in 1933. After working 15 years at Lake Owasso Residence, he retired as a Ramsey County employee to work as a personal care attendant to a friend with a brain injury. Del is married and has one son and two grandchildren.
Nicholas “Nick” Metcalf—Cetanzi (Yellow Hawk)—writes about his journey, which may be a cautionary tale or a tale of triumph. Stay tuned. He also likes to write about the complicated lives of the people and communities he loves. An enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, he has made the Twin Cities his home for more than eighteen years. He still believes in love and is a hopeless romantic. During the day, he is a cog in the wheel of state bureaucracy, and at night, a fantastic ever-loving parent of a teenage son, Hoksicila Cante Ma Yuha (Child of My Heart).
Yusef Mgeni is retired after having served more than forty years in leadership positions with community-based organizations serving low-income persons and communities of color as an administrator, community organizer, college instructor, policy analyst, planner, award-winning journalist, and foundation senior program officer. Mr. Mgeni has also contributed many years of service as a member of the board of directors of many local and national civic and professional organizations, as a mentor for at-risk youth, and as an external sponsor for prisoners’ organizations in men’s and women’s correctional facilities in Minnesota. He has a forthcoming book, The Wonder of Blackness.
John Moe is the host of Wits, a national public radio show based in Saint Paul. Noted for skimming “the cream off a few decades of local and national indie scenes,” the show features writers, comedians, and musicians. John has brought such guests as Fred Willard, Rosanne Cash, Martha Wainwright, and Julia Sweeney to the historic Fitzgerald Theater. A widely published author as well as a reporter, he lives in Saint Paul with his family.
Bob Muschewske is a retired management consultant who lives with his wife of four years, Leaetta Hough, in a Clarence Johnston home on Summit Avenue in Saint Paul. Both are avid photographers. Bob serves on the boards of Public Art Saint Paul and the Ramsey County Historical Society. www.370summitstpaul.com
Anna Musielewicz is thirteen years old. She wrote this poem when she was a fifth grader at L’Etoile du Nord French Immersion School. Anna loves many kinds of art, but her favorites are drawing and playing the piano.
Lisa Nilles lives in Minneapolis and works in Saint Paul. She loves to discover new places close to home.
Carter Norman is a high school teacher and has been a resident of the Saint Paul area for more than twenty years. He and his wife have five energetic boys. Carter writes about Minnesota’s Iron Range, where he grew up. He believes that nature has a song that can resonate through each of us in a unique, profound, and indelible way.
James Nutt is an architect and artist living and drawing in Northeast Minneapolis. He is wrapping up a year-long mission to draw something every day and is never without his custom travel kit. An architect at NewStudio Architecture, he also teaches at the White Bear Center for the Arts and blogs art process and travel sketches at www.nuttdraws.blogspot.com. James has a strong belief that you should draw to remember, to record, to have fun, to get better, anything but to try making a worthy piece of art. So many people are intimidated and stopped before they start because it might not be beautiful enough.
Susan Olsson, a transplant from New York, has been a special education teacher for twenty-five years. She entered college with a “talented student admissions scholarship” for her poetry, then spent thirty-seven years with writer’s block. Literally and emotionally “stopped in her tracks” by sidewalk poetry, Susan decided to give it a go.
Sheronda Orridge is a longtime resident of Frogtown. She holds a doctoral degree in Holistic Life Coaching from the University of Sedona and is the owner-operator of Loving Spirit Life Coach Academy LLC. Sheronda is a mother, a community organizer, and a spoken word artist.
Emmanuel Ortiz is a Minneapolis-based poet and community organizer. He has published two chapbooks of poetry, The Word Is a Machete, and Brown unLike Me. He is a founding member of the Minnesota-based Latino poets’ collective Palabristas: Latin@ Word Slingers.
Ora Lee O’Neal Patterson has shared an active, dedicated life honored with roles such as mother, wife, aide to a mayor, chair of the human rights commission, active member of Pilgrim Baptist Church, community activist, political activist, and recipient of numerous awards. She is a respected and loved member of the community.
Jennifer Pennington works as a nonprofit consultant and sits on a number of boards including Art Shanty Projects, Sociologists of Minnesota, and Twin Cities Mobile Market. She is a cofounder of Blue Ox, an artist-designed mini golf course opening soon in Saint Paul’s West Seventh neighborhood.
Kaye Thompson Peters is a former print journalist who has called Saint Paul home since 1989. She is currently on leave from the Saint Paul Public Schools and taught at Central High School from 1998 until her leave this year. She is now teaching at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India.
Lisa Ann Pierce has lived on the West Side for eighteen years. Yes, the West Side. No, not West Saint Paul. Actually, we’re north of West Saint Paul and south of downtown. We’re closer to the East Side than to Minneapolis. But we are west of the river. Really.
J. Otis Powell‽ writes, “I am alternatively using punctuations in my name that express my personal journey toward wholeness while using them less in my poetry. I work as a writer, performance artist, mentor, curator, consultant, philosopher, Open Space Technology facilitator, public speaker, and arts administrator.”
Marcie Rendon, White Earth Anishinabe, is a mother, grandmother, author, playwright, poet, and sometimes performance artist. In 2010 she wrote Native Artists: Livelihoods, Resources, Space, Gifts with professor Ann Markusen. Her poetry has been published in numerous anthologies including: Sing, edited by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, and Traces in Blood, Bone and Stone, edited by Kimberly Blaeser. She performed a True Ghost Story for Spirit in the House Festival in 2011, and as creator/producer of Raving Native Productions she curates community theater productions and conducts theater residencies for tribal communities.
Paige Riehl’s poetry has been featured in many publications, including Meridian, South Dakota Review, and Nimrod, and she won the 2012–13 Loft Mentor Series in Poetry. She loves her Victorian house in Saint Anthony Park, where she lives with her husband, son, and twenty-one-year-old cat.
Steve Robbins is an illustrator and designer from Saint Paul. When he’s not drawing, he’s designing card games and writing an incredibly complicated internet-based “Choose Your Own Adventure.” SteveRobbinsArt.com
Shelley Rohlf: Shelley Rohlf believes our hearts, and possibly our souls, speak to each other through the art we make. Along with painting and drawing, she loves living in Lowertown with her family and friends and exploring the Mississippi River on her bike. Find her on www.MNartists.org.
Sherry Roberts, a journalist turned novelist, is the author of Book of Mercy and Maud’s House. She has written essays for USA Today and other publications; you’ll find more essays on her blog: www.sherry-roberts.com.
Mary Kay Rummel grew up and lived in Saint Paul for many years. She is retired from the University of Minnesota–Duluth and lives in Fridley. She teaches part time at California State University–Channel Islands. Her sixth poetry book, What’s Left Is the Singing, was published in 2010 by Blue Light Press.
Julia Klatt Singer is the poet in residence at Grace Neighborhood Nursery School, and works as a visiting writer to the school through COMPAS. She is co-author of Twelve Branches: Stories from Saint Paul(Coffee House Press, 2003) and author of a chapbook, In the Dreamed of Places (Naissance Press, 2011), and a book of poetry, A Tangled Path to Heaven (Northstar Press, 2013). She has co-written five songs with composer Tim Tekach. When not writing, she can be found walking the dog.
Cynthia Schreiner Smith is co-owner of CyBick Creative, a video production company she owns with her husband, Bick Smith. She is most proud of their historical film Gangsterland, a documentary-style movie about the 1930s gangsters in Saint Paul. She has also worked at the Wabasha Street Caves since 1998, where her work as an historical tour guide complements her love of writing, history, and—of course—Saint Paul.
Kaya Solheid is eight years old and enjoys playing with Legos and her friend Lyra. She knows Japanese, like her mom. Her favorite color is blue and she loves to read.
Tim Spitzack is publisher and editor of the St. Paul Publishing Company, publisher of the St. Paul Voice, Downtown St. Paul Voice, South St. Paul Voice, and La Voz Latina. He has a B.S. in journalism and sociology from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. He is also author of The Messenger, released in June 2010 by OakTara.
Ronald Craig Spong was born and spent his early formative years in Saint Paul before his family moved to Rochester. Visits to his mother’s family in West Saint Paul kept him anchored in his hometown until college, the military, and his Waukegan, Illinois, bride lured him away from Minnesota. Returning home, they raised four children, and he worked forty years in local city and county public health agencies. Retired now with eight grandchildren, he is writing about his experiences.
Marcy Steinberg’s classmate at a school reunion once exclaimed, “You’re the poet!” and recited “Haircut,” which she’d remembered since fourth grade—thirty-four years ago. Marcy told this story to Saint Paul Poet Laureate Carol Connolly, who encouraged her to submit the poem to the Sidewalk Poetry contest. Marcy plans to thank that woman from elementary school for her precious gift, and she thanks Carol Connolly for her encouragement.
Lisa Steinmann is a Saint Paul–based freelance writer, editor, and laundress who specializes in sorting, soaking, and scrubbing before hanging things on the line. She loves sunny mornings spent standing in the yard watching clothing flutter in the breeze. Each sock, tee shirt, and pair of blue jeans tells a story shaped by the wearer. At the end of the afternoon, it is a pleasure to gather and fold each piece, starchy-stiff and fragrant, into her arms.
Joyce Sutphen’s first book, Straight Out of View (1995), won the Barnard New Women’s Poets Prize. Coming Back to the Body (2000) was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award, and Naming the Stars (2004) won the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Minnesota Monthly, Water-Stone, and many other journals, as well as being featured on the Writer’s Almanac. In 2011 she was named the second Minnesota Poet Laureate by Governor Mark Dayton, following the tenure of Robert Bly. She grew up in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter.
Barbara Langer Thukral lives in Highland Park with her husband and their three boys. She is fiercely loyal to Gillette Children’s Hospital, as well as school volunteerism. She seeks the elusive idea of sanity through her writing, running, and yoga, as well as coffee breaks with girlfriends, and wine with her sisters.
Jesus Vega writes, “I was born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico, and came to the United States at age five. I currently attend Gordon Parks High School and am finishing my credits from Johnson High School, so I can move on to college. I work a full time job after school to help my parents with the bills and for my own needs. I love playing sports and being outside in the summer—I’m still getting used to the crazy Minnesota winters. I love spending time with my fourteen-year-old sister and seven-year-old brother, taking them sledding, shopping, to the zoo, and Valleyfair.”
Connie Wanek is the author of three books: On Speaking Terms (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), Hartley Field (Holy Cow! Press, 2002), and Bonfire (New Rivers Press, 1997). She has been chosen as a Witter Bynner Fellow of the Library of Congress by United States Poet Laureate Ted Kooser. She lives in the country outside Duluth, Minnesota, but often finds herself in a green tent somewhere in the Boundary Waters wilderness.
Sarah Marie Wash is a mixed media artist based in Lowertown. She upcycles found objects, including furniture, to create 3-D original art pieces. Sarah also makes 2-D art using watercolor, acrylic, and oil paints. www.ErdeEcoArt.com
Greg Watson’s poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals, including The Seattle Review, Poetry East, and Tulane Review, and has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. His latest collection is What Music Remains, published by Nodin Press. He lives in the Mac-Groveland area of Saint Paul.
David R. Weiss is the author of To the Tune of a Welcoming God: Lyrical Reflections on Sexuality, Spirituality and the Wideness of God’s Welcome (www.davidrweiss.com). He and Margaret have a blended family of five children, five grandchildren, (usually) a pair of international high school students, and assorted animals that approximate a peaceable kingdom.
Mary Virginia Winstead is a Twin Cities–based writer, author of Back to Mississippi: A Personal Journey Through the Events that Changed America in 1964 (Hyperion). She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and a BA in English from St. Catherine University.
Lisa Yankton, a member of the Spirit Lake Dakota, is a community organizer, educator, writer, and mother. She views the arts and creativity as stepping stones to a healthy life. Her community activities include teaching at MCTC, coordinating the Dakota Nationwide Conference, leading the Brooklyn Historical Society, and serving on The Circle Newspaper Ambassadors Council. During the Dakota Conflict of 1862, her grandmother fled from Minnesota to North Dakota.
Jonathan Siab Yawg was born in Fresno, California; he is second-generation Hmoob-American, a college student, and has lived sixteen-plus years in Saint Paul and twenty-one years total on this earth. He has been obsessed with poetry/rap, music, and other artistic expressions since the second grade, and has been living it out slowly since. It wasn’t until three years ago that he fell in love with spoken word. When he writes, he tries to write from the realities that he has seen, felt, and lived. His work is not just for the Hmoob people; it is for all oppressed peoples so that we may be able to imagine and live out the meaning of true “freedom.”
Patricia Anita Young was born in Saint Paul and now resides in Minneapolis. She is an accounting technician who enjoys writing freelance articles.
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