WENDY BROWN-BÁEZ is a writer, teacher, performance poet, and installation artist. Wendy has published poetry and prose in numerous literary journals and anthologies and authored the poetry collections Ceremonies of the Spirit and Transparencies of Light. Wendy received McKnight and Minnesota State Arts Board grants to bring writing workshops into nonprofits and is a member of the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. What brings her joy is the creative process, alone or in circles. Of her four grandsons, one loves to write and one loves to read, so apparently her genes did get passed on after all.
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. She loves supporting people who are strengthening their voices. She believes we are all related.
SHAUNTÉ L. DOUGLAS is a student attending Minneapolis Community and Technical College, an emerging poet, a writer, and a spoken-word artist. She was born a California girl and got her flavor in the South, by way of Georgia and Kentucky. She found herself in this frigid inland called Minnesota and decided to stay.
PAMELA R. FLETCHER serves as a writer, an editor, and educator—all three roles, having words at their core, collaborate to make meaning of an astounding, outrageous world. She’s tried to leave words, but they wouldn’t give her a divorce. Although it’s a contrary relationship, they make it work.
KEVIN HERSHEY is a Saint Paul native, Merriam Park lover, and graduate of Cretin-Derham Hall. He recently crossed the river to live on the beautiful Powderhorn Park and work at Waite House Neighborhood Center, where he is repeatedly amazed by the power of resilient communities and their stories. Kevin writes as an activist seeking to understand the world he wants to change.
KEMET EGYPT IMHOTEP was conceived in Oklahoma and born in Saint Paul. He 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.
People say Saint Paul is confusing to navigate, but IBé has never gotten lost driving around it. Oh wait, must be the GPS in his phone! But still, even before the advent of so-called smart phones, he did just fine. The more he reads about Saint Paul through the Almanac, the more he loves the city. IBé writes poems, essays, and other things. They are always stories— about Guinea, Sierra Leone, and America. They are all his home! He has been honored with a few awards for his writing, but he doesn’t feel like showing off to you right this minute. You may find out more about him on his website at www.AtlanticRock.com if you are at all interested.
GEBRIEL KHADAR is a fifteen-year-old freshman at none other than Johnson Senior High School. He plays on the football team and is ranked at number two for academics, taking all accelerated classes. Swag.
ISMAIL KHADAR Community editor + raised on the East Side + aspiring anthropologist + devilishly handsome face + a humorous personality + a sweater vest, not vest + a pet turtle named Hidalgo = priceless.
PATRICIA KIRKPATRICK received the Lindquist & Vennum Poetry Prize for Odessa, published by Milkweed Editions and awarded a 2013 Minnesota Book Award. She has taught writing in many colleges, universities, and community settings and worked as an editor for various publications and individuals. She loves the Saint Paul street lamps, green tea at Golden Thyme, oysters at Meritage, walks along the Mississippi, and her friends, neighbors, and backyard rabbits. www.patriciakirkpatrick.com
MAXINE LIGHTFOOT is a high school student who has an extensive past in the literary world consisting entirely of an entry published in the Almanac about five years ago. All right, on reflection perhaps not as extensive as she’d like to believe. She has a great passion for reading and writing stories of any kind, and hopes to one day pursue those in her future profession.
KABAO LY is a wandering Hmong woman who calls Saint Paul her home. She is the oldest of seven annoying but loving kids and a previous pet owner of several gold fish that died because she fed them too much. She currently attends St. Catherine University and has published Not in the Hmong Women Write Now anthology.
ROBERT MCCLAIN, a resident of Saint Paul for forty-four years and originally from Philadelphia, enjoyed writing short stories as a young man. Robert came to Minnesota to attend Macalester College and decided to stay, taking up residence in the Summit-University and Frogtown neighborhoods. His creative writing began as poems and jingles he would make up as alternatives to the ones he heard on TV commercials because none of the people looked or talked like him. Robert expresses creativity through photography, theater, and creative writing. Robert has an interest in publishing and performing some of his writings in book form.
SHERONDA ORRIDGE is a longtime resident of Frogtown who 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, community organizer, and spoken-word artist.
DEB RUNYON has been a bartender, calligrapher, carnie, court reporter, editor, graphic artist, poet, scullery maid, vacuum cleaner technician, and waitress . . . although not in alphabetical order. Currently she lives in Como with her two sons, two dogs, and a husband who’s grateful she’s found a new venue for her attention to detail.
SIMONE SCHNEIDER grew up in Saint Paul, aka “Saint Small.” Though she loves to travel, she’s always happy to return to her sweet city. Currently pursuing a master’s degree in education at St. Kate’s, Simone is passionate about reading, writing, learning, and teaching. As a teacher she looks forward to helping her students appreciate the joys that words can bring to their lives.
PERRIN SHYNE is an energetic tenth grader at Nova Classical Academy. Sometimes she is way too energetic and can often freak people because of it, though other times she can be sleepy and doesn’t really do much. Perrin is a skilled procrastinator, but she always gets stuff done on time. She has been in numerous shows at Stepping Stone Theater, which again probably says a lot about the amount of energy she has. She is also in her second season of Mock Trial at her school, which takes a lot of time but is probably worth it. Perrin loves fiction of almost every kind and is a part of many fandoms. She hopes one day to be a part of creating a whole new fandom.
REBECCA SONG has parts made in China and Canada and assembled in the United States. In writings that could be considered poetry or spoken word, she explores her reality as a 1.5-generation immigrant, Asian/Asian American, and woman of color. She is the recipient of the 2013 Inroads Mentorship Award and a community editor for the Saint Paul Almanac, and currently sits on the organizing committee for the Twin Cities World Refugee Day. She also loves reading and performing her pieces, but only time will tell if she’s any good at it!
SINGSHUA VANG loves Chipotle. By day, she is a slow and steady writer with a love for essays, short stories, and friendship. By night, she is the leader of a dark and mysterious clan. Whenever she has her hands on a camera, she likes to capture nature’s beauty, smiles, and the little things in life. During the summer of 2013, she worked as an apprentice artist alongside the wonderful and talented writer May Lee-Yang, through the program COMPAS. One day, she hopes to be a traveling writer, and to spend the rest of her life dedicating her time to helping others.
BEN WERNER is a full-time student at Metropolitan State University and an editor of the Saint Paul Almanac. He somehow manages to maintain good grades while having a relationship with his girlfriend, who lives in Chile. Ben is bilingual in English and Spanish and one day hopes to become a U.S. senator.
CLARENCE WHITE is a former bookseller living in the Merriam Park neighborhood of Saint Paul. He has worked and taught in artist residencies in Saint Paul and suburban schools and was a 2011–2012 Givens Foundation for African American Literature Retreat Fellow. He is the calendar editor for the Saint Paul Almanac, and the writer of This Week in Saint Paul, the Almanac’s weekly arts events blog. He is also the author of The Clarence White Blog.
SID CARLSON WHITE is currently a sophomore at Mounds Park Academy. He doesn’t write as much as he should, as he is more likely to be found at a chess tournament or a math competition. He is known for the spontaneous limerick and comparing just about everything to baseball.
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.