Volume 12: Resistance and Resilience (2019)

Featuring work by Corva León, Kao Kalia Yang, Thet-Htar Thet , David Mendez, Patricia Kirkpatrick, Tom LaBlanc, Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, Michael Kleber-Diggs, Greg Watson, Irna Landrum, Ethna McKiernan, Lisa Yankton, and many others.

Cover art by Kazua Vang.

Jump to: Selected Stories · Purchase the Book · Contributors & Community Editors

There are stories of grief, anger and injustice as well as stories of love, affirmation, and celebration. There are stories of resistance that inspire us to hope for a more just world.

We also noticed a thread of profound resilience: the courage to take a risk, the ability to adapt, the determination to follow one’s dreams, and the spirit of working together. We hope that these stories, poems and artwork will be treasured as representative of the beauty of Saint Paul as well as where change, inclusion, and healing are still needed.

— Wendy Brown-Baéz

Selected Stories

Art by Demont Peekaso Pinder

Survive These Evil Fates

By Valerie Castile ● 2019

Children are a gift from God, a small, innocent replica of ourselves. Our job as parents is to love, nurture, protect, and teach, to bring forth the great qualities of…

Art by Sara Endalew

Wiigwaasabak

By Marcie Rendon ● 2019

Our ancestors dreamt your future The iron rail, Angus cows slumbering in shorn prairie The buffalo remembered only on the metal That buys and sells on the grain exchange There…

The Bazooka Bubble Gum Fraud

By Louis DiSanto ● 2019

When I turned ten in April of 1958, I thought I was pretty wise to the ways of the world, especially when it came to adults, girls, trading marbles and…

West Saint Paul

By Roberto Sande Carmona ● 2019

Tengo un headache. Maybe it’s the combinación de lenguas en my head, on the billboards (espectaculares, dice mi abi), y en las conversations of people pasando por Cesar Chavez Street.…

Contributors & Community Editors

Kristi Abbott is an artist fascinated by color, pattern, and texture. She combines these elements in her artwork using substrates, papers, and embellishment materials. Her influences are pop art, pop culture, Hollywood, music, and fashion.

Menal Abdella graduated from Spring Lake Park High School in 2019. She enjoys acting in plays and writing free verse poetry. She was the president of the Black Student Union at her school and advocates for those who cannot.

Godwill Afolabi is an African American artist who displays the importance and beautiful assets of Black people through his work. He is most comfortable using colored pencils but also likes experimenting with graphite pencils, acrylic paints, and watercolors.

Ta-coumba Aiken is a collaborative artist, educator, and community activist who has participated in the creation of more than three hundred murals and public art sculptures since 1975. His public artworks have given a visual voice to urban, rural, corporate, and nonprofit clients. He says, “I create my art to heal the hearts and souls of people and their communities by evoking a positive spirit.” Ta-coumba lives in Lowertown Saint Paul.

Theresa Jarosz Alberti is a writer, blogger, artist, and creator living on the Minneapolis side of the Mississippi (almost Saint Paul!). She has written all kinds of things, including seven books of children’s nonfiction and a book of poetry. You can find her online at penandmoon.com.

Kristin D. Anderson is a former stay-at-home mom, high school teacher, and counselor, as well as a retired pastor.

Leilani Andrews is a twenty-year-old woman who is currently going to school and discovering who she is meant to be. She enjoys writing and  photography in her spare time.

Cami Applequist is a Saint Paul writer and artist working in a variety of media. She draws, paints, collages, photographs, and works in 3D. Her main goal as an artist is to tell stories and work with others by leading workshops and collaborating on projects.

David Bard is the son of a Methodist pastor and schoolteacher. He and his younger sisters were all raised to love reading. He is a member of the trivia team Unicornhole. After leaving Saint Paul in 1984, David returned in 2015 for his future wife and Saint Paul native Nina.

Mary Barghout is an Egyptian American poet who finds inspiration in the small and insignificant things that are actually powerful and infinite. She lives in Minneapolis and works in downtown Saint Paul.

Theresa Bear is a thirty-one-year-old photographer who recently moved to Saint Paul. She makes cyanotypes and creates intimate portraits of pieces of nature. She loves collaborating with other artists and sharing her love of nature with the world.

Charles Beck (1923–2017) was a prolific Minnesota artist acclaimed for his woodcut prints. He found inspiration in nature, particularly the bucolic landscape surrounding his Fergus Falls home. His paintings and prints are displayed worldwide.

Chriscell Bedard is a mother and artist who grew up in Saint Paul with her mother and five siblings. A graduate of Johnson High School, she has worked for the City of Saint Paul for more than fifteen years. She is also co-owner of Cheers Pablo paint and sip art studios. A two-time breast cancer survivor, Chriscell feels blessed to have found her passion in  painting. Visit her at Artbychriscell.com.

Leah Bedford paints intuitively from the heart. Her work authentically expresses her feelings and captures her emotions. Her paintings are colorful and full of texture and movement.

Hazel Belvo is an artist, teacher, and mentor. An emerita professor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the Grand Marais Art Colony, she lives and works in the Twin Cities and on the north shore of Lake Superior. She has studied, painted, and drawn the Spirit Tree for more than fifty years, a meditation.

Frank Big Bear is an indigenous artist known for his vibrant collages and stylized portraits of people, animals, and fantastic figures. His artwork has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Weisman Art Museum, the Plains Art Museum, and elsewhere. Big Bear grew up on and around the White Earth Reservation near Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and drove cab in Minneapolis for thirty-one years to support his family and his career as an artist.

Kate Bitters is a Minneapolis-based author and freelance writer. She is the author of Elmer Left, Ten Thousand Lines, and He Found Me. One of her proudest/nerdiest moments was when Neil Gaiman read one of her short stories onstage at the Fitzgerald Theater.

John Bly grew up pulling milkweeds from bean fields and now works to restore pollinator habitat. He appreciates maps, all four seasons, public transit, people-powered movement, and a good night swim.

Jim Bour – Grown in Saint Paul, a man of seasons, and a writer for pleasure and amusement; I’ve never known a horse or picked up after one. That much I know for sure. The rest is pure speculation.

Miranda Brandon is an animal advocate whose multimedia work challenges how we perceive physical and psychological constructs. She is the recipient of a Jerome Emerging Artist Fellowship and has exhibited work as a Showcase Artist at the Bell Museum. Brandon is currently creating new work as a Tulsa Artist Fellow in Oklahoma.

Jerri Jo Brandt is a thirty-eight-year resident of Saint Paul, an artist, a body worker, and Saint Paul Public Library’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year. She enjoys sharing all the treasures of the four seasons of Saint Paul with friends and visitors.

Rashelle Brown is a freelance writer living and working in Saint Paul. In addition to writing, she has held jobs in a dozen different career fields over the past twenty-five years. Her résumé is pretty much a nightmare, but she has an endless supply of material to write about.

Angelo Taiwo Bush is a seventeen-year-old artist and professional photographer (of Angelo Bush Photography) completing his high school coursework at Saint Paul’s High School for Recording Arts. He is also taking college courses in digital photography at Minneapolis College on a PSEO scholarship. Angelo is a global traveler and has come to appreciate all that he can learn from the friends he has yet to meet all over the world including, perhaps, you.

Kenneth Caldwell focuses on creating contemporary art influenced by the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, and the hip hop genre. Using acrylic, oil, pastels, and mixed media, Kenneth creates images that reflect people, music, and emotions. A Minnesota native, he started his career in the field of visual arts as a young student attending North High School in Minneapolis. Kenneth has a distinctive artistic style that incorporates his love of music. He teaches art at Sojourner Truth Academy and runs a paint class named CaldToArt Paint Time.

Colleen Casey is a writer, artist, historian, editor, teacher, and community organizer. Of mixed Mdewakanton Dakota and European American heritages, she sees herself as a person of crosscurrents and confluences. She believes we are all related.

Thomas Cassidy has participated in correspondence art and visual poetry projects since 1973, and his artwork and written pieces have appeared in publications, galleries, and museums around the world. His doppelgänger has held the same real-world job with the Minnesota Multi Housing Association for thirty-eight years. He owes his sliver of sanity to his beautiful and tolerant wife, Dawn, and their two deranged children.

Allysza Castile began working as a youth mentor at age fifteen, graduated in 2013 with an associate degree in medical assistance, and is vice president of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation. She is dedicated to helping others after the murder of her brother, Philando.

Valerie Castile ’s beloved son, Philando Castile, was murdered by a police officer in July 2016 in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. She has dedicated herself to helping families who have lost a loved one from gun violence by developing the Philando Castile Relief Foundation in honor of her son.

Alyssa Castillo is an eighteen-year-old student at Gordon Parks High School with a passion for spoken word poetry and performing arts, specifically musical theater and modern dance.

Doug Champeau lives in the Mounds Park neighborhood of Saint Paul. After a forty-five-plus-year professional career, he says the most satisfying job he ever had was as a dishwasher. His passions are pizza, IPAs, cigarettes, Wanda, Betty—their hound dog—and fresh eggs from their chickens. He loves to write; he hates writing; he should write more. Photography nipped him in high school. His two photography maxims: It has to have a human, and it has to be printed.

Fun Fun Cheng came to Minnesota to attend college and to experience a place with four seasons. She has lived in Saint Paul for more than twenty-five years, many of which were in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood, which is the setting for her story that appears in this book.

Nancy Christensen was raised in Saint Paul and attended schools here, graduating from St. Catherine College (now University). She participates in the Ginger Poets Writing Group facilitated by Saint Paul poet Margaret Hasse. Her work has appeared in the poetry anthology A Little Book of Abundance, edited by Ms. Hasse and published by Red Bird Chapbooks.

Amy Clark – mom, artist, teacher, biker, and lover of craft beer.

Andy Clayton-King is a freelance photographer based in Saint Paul. His clients are editorial, corporate, and institutional. Collaborating with neighbor and author James McKenzie to interpret art installations has been a fun journey to push Andy’s vision.

Sarah Cole is a writer and artist who grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. A graduate of Bethel University with a degree in communications, she’s written for the White Bear Press and Lillie News. In her free time, she enjoys sitting at Starbucks with her laptop and a good book. She lives in Plymouth, Minnesota, and periodically returns to Saint Paul for the Winter Carnival or to visit her old stomping grounds along White Bear’s main street.

Carol Connolly holds the distinction of being Saint Paul’s first poet laureate, appointed in 2006 by Mayor Chris Coleman. For twenty years, she hosted the monthly Reading by Writers series at the University Club of Saint Paul. Throughout her life, Carol has been a political activist. She served on the Saint Paul Human Rights Commission for nine years, co-chaired the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus, and coordinated the Wonder Woman Foundation, an organization that recognized women over forty for heroic accomplishments. For many years she was a popular magazine columnist. She is the author of two books of poetry, All This and More (2009) and Payments Due (1985).

Deborah Cooper is retired from thirty years of corporate communications and public relations for Twin Cities area corporations. Now a freelance marketing manager, she has served as a board member and secretary for the nonprofit Rondo Avenue, Inc., which produces the annual Rondo Days Festival. Deborah is writing a series of short stories depicting the people, places, and history of the former Rondo community.

Maryann Corbett spent almost thirty-five years working for the Minnesota Legislature. She is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Street View. Her work is widely published. One of her poems appears in Best American Poetry 2018.

Deborah Costandine loves Saint Paul and all its nooks and crannies.

Lyn Cramer watches and listens to the mighty Mississippi River from its banks near her Saint Paul home. Her stories and poetry appear in four anthologies.

Charles Patterson Curry is a retired consultant, teacher, business owner, and financial officer in the Community of Christ, as well as a poet. His work has appeared in Community of Christ Herald, Minnesota Zoo Tracks, engagemn.com, and the Konundrum Engine Literary Review.

Tony Curtis lives in his native Dublin. The most recent of his nine poetry collections is This Flight Tonight (2019). Tony also teaches poetry and creative writing workshops for both adults and children. He has read widely in Ireland, Europe, Australia, and the Pacific Northwest.

Rosemary Davis is a photographer and writer. Her undergraduate degree in visual communication (photography, film, and video) from the University of Minnesota provided a foundation for twenty-five years of work in film and video production. She is the author of the memoir Before They Left Us about San Francisco in the ’70s. Her interests include architecture, documentary films, and book arts. Rosemary tends a large, overgrown garden.

Kate Hallett Dayton is the author of the poetry collection Salt Heart, published by Nodin Press. Her chapbook Catalpa came out from Green Fuse Press after Pudding House Publications released her chapbook Missing. She was a finalist for the Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize. Coldnoon, Passages North, Whistling Shade, and other magazines have published her work.

Virginia Delaney is a resident of Saint Paul. She is pleasantly surprised each time she rides her bicycle. She holds a BA from Iowa State University and an MA from St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis, where she began her writing career.

Sharon DeMark fell in love with Saint Paul the first time she visited Minnesota. She now lives and works in the city. Sharon’s works have been exhibited as part of Poetry in the Park in the Dark, at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and in the 2017 Saint Paul Almanac.

Louis DiSanto is a retired keeper from Como Zoo who enjoys classical music, old movies, sudoku, and writing children’s stories. He currently has two e-books listed on Amazon—What if a Gorilla Escaped? and Gustav the Great—inspired by experiences at the zoo. Along with being published in the Almanac, Louis is especially honored to be one of the winners of the 2011 Saint Paul Sidewalk Poetry Contest.

Norita Dittberner-Jax has lived in Saint Paul most of her life. She taught at Johnson High School and Highland Senior High, as well as the Perpich Center for the Arts. She is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Crossing the Waters, which won the Midwest Book Award in Poetry in 2018.

Liza Docken earned her MFA from Hamline University while living across the river in Minneapolis. She is co-author of Hinge, a conversation between poetry and prose. The moon, birds, and love inform her writing.

Aria Dominguez was born and grew up in Saint Paul and now lives in Minneapolis with her family. She loves the arts scene, the miles of good biking, the library systems, the parks, and many other things about the Twin Cities, but she abhors subzero temperatures.

Sara Dovre Wudali is a writer and editor from Saint Paul. She has served as a judge for the Minnesota Book Awards and the Midwest Book Awards. Her work has been published in Creative Nonfiction, Sweet, and The Madras Mag and is forthcoming as part of a public art project in Mankato, Minnesota.

Ni’Kol Imani Dowls is a multidisciplinary artist, storyteller, and teacher. She fell in love with the combination of writing and illustration. She combines her love of photography, body movement, and writing to express the world around her. Ni’Kol is a self-taught artist.

Jeremy Downie is an artist whose interdisciplinary practice embraces a variety of mediums, including painting, drawing, and mixed media. Most recently, he has experimented with mixed media paintings on surfaces considered throwaway or transitory; they range from newspaper, wood, cardboard, and city maps to more conventional watercolor paper and canvas.

Anita Dualeh is a freelance writer, educational consultant, and coordinator of the Alphabet Forest at the Minnesota State Fair. She lives in Saint Paul with her husband and two sons. She blogs at 1stteacher.wordpress.com.

Alice Duggan ’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Sleet Magazine, Water~Stone Review, Poetry East, Tar River, and Alaska Quarterly Review, as well as in the chapbook A Brittle Thing (Green Fuse Press) and the anthology Home (Holy Cow! Press). She’s interested in dailiness, now and in previous generations; colloquial language; timbre of voices; and backwaters of life.

Lauren Dwyer is a Frogtown resident who loves art in its many forms, especially music, dance, and poetry. In addition to creating art and her work as an attorney, she enjoys gardening, renovating her 1889 home, and spending time with her niece and nephews.

Sara Endalew is a multidisciplinary painter, photographer, graphic designer, and public artist working in the Twin Cities. She received an associate degree in sculpture and painting from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, and moved to the United States in 2005. Her practice is influenced by her surroundings, women, childhood, and the rhythms of everyday life. Her artwork has been displayed in collaboration with local and regional institutions, businesses, and public art organizations. Sara creates art to affirm her identity as an African woman, celebrating womanhood that, at its core, holds what is beautiful and sacred around the practices of communal life.

Ken Epstein is a photographer and retired scientist. Growing up in New Jersey, he captured the natural beauty of the Atlantic seashore on sketchpad and canvas. His attachment to nature transferred to the prairies and woodlands of Minnesota and found expression through the digital camera about twelve years ago. “The city of St. Paul is intertwined with untended nature corridors and undeveloped river floodplain. It’s a convergence of capital-city architecture, urban-life neighborhoods, and wildlife habitat. It’s my home.”

Isabela Escalona is a photographer and filmmaker based in Minneapolis. She enjoys making portraits and experimental films. She grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, and studied at Macalester College in Saint Paul. Isabela currently works as a gallery assistant at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Leah Fargo uses oil paint as a vessel for capturing and sorting through ideas that may at first appear disjointed in the resulting imagery. She works by deliberately combining symbols and layers of paint to comment upon different facets of this bizarre, fascinating, and sometimes dysfunctional human experience.

Ellen Fee is a writer, teaching artist, and youthworker focused on creative writing and arts education. Ellen graduated from the University of Minnesota and lives in Saint Paul’s Union Park neighborhood. Her work has appeared in Corbel Stone Press, Apeiron Review, and The Caterpillar, among others.

Heidi Fettig Parton received an MFA in creative nonfiction from Bay Path University in 2017. She became a steward of the St. Croix watershed that same year. Her writing can be found in many publications, including Agate magazine, Brevity, Topology Magazine, The Manifest-Station, and The Rumpus. Heidi lives outside Saint Paul, where she is at work on her first book. Find more of Heidi’s writing at heidifettigparton.com.

Elise Flor is a senior at North High School in North Saint Paul. She lives with her mom and her dog. She has two older brothers, who have guided her to being who she is today. Elise loves music of all sorts and has been writing basically forever.

Rebecca Frost co-founded the Dancers Who Write reading series, won a Verve Spoken Word grant, and, with the Women’s Performance Project, was the beneficiary of two McKnight Fellowships in Choreography. She has taught at the Loft Literary Center and currently teaches in the Theatre Arts & Dance Department at the University of Minnesota. Visit her online at embodiedarts.com.

Neemz G moved to Minnesota to attend grad school at the University of Minnesota. He has found expressing nature through himself and his art a most rewarding experience, besides chasing sunsets here and there.

Chavah Gabrielle is Saint Paul’s youth poet laureate. A literary and performance artist, chavah is a modern aromantic romantic poet. While striving to create spaces of equity and kindness, especially for queer and femme persons of color, chavah actively focuses on radical intimacy, Blackness, celestial bodies, and earth. Through a life emphasis on coffee, gratitude, and other people’s winter sweaters, chavah seeks sustainability.

Bridget Geraghty is an aspiring writer and editor who has an incurable penchant for books, vinyl, and tea. When not reading or writing, she can be found cuddling with her cat Tinkerbell, listening to music, or dreaming of Ireland.

Willis Gilliard is a photographer born and raised in Saint Paul.

Marion Gómez is a poet and teaching artist based in Minneapolis. She has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation. She is a member of the Latinx spoken word collective Palabristas and works at the Loft Literary Center.

Kayla Gray was born and raised in Minnesota. She is currently in her last year at Metropolitan State University, where she is pursuing her BA in creative writing. She holds an AFA from Normandale Community College. She currently serves as editor at Poetry City, USA.

Georgia Greeley lives and works in Saint Paul. Her passion for combining words and images shows up as fine press broadsides, handmade artist’s books, and limited-edition fine press books. She has an MFA in writing from Hamline University and a BA in English and Art from St. Catherine University.

Peg Guilfoyle lives in downtown Saint Paul. She is the author of several theater books, including a Guthrie Theater history, and two volumes of genealogy, and she is working on a new book for 2020. Her company, Peg Projects, produces books on commission for private and corporate clients. Peg has been a stage and production manager and an arts manager, and she has an active civic and church volunteer life.

Robert Hale likes growing and cooking delicious food, playing music, meeting people both near and far, digging into the murky past, and then writing about it all. It’s like doing it twice.

Jane Hall is a proud resident of Saint Paul’s East Side and a retired Saint Paul Public Schools teacher. She is working on an MFA in creative writing at Hamline University.

Chimgee Haltarhuu plays table tennis and competes regularly, having won several medals. She completed the Twin Cities Marathon in 2017, and her goal is to run a half marathon in all fifty states. Chimgee is the recipient of the Advocates for Human Rights 2014 Special Recognition Award. To learn more about Mission Manduhai, visit missionmanduhai.org.

Christopher E. Harrison is a fine artist, public artist, and designer. He has exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally. An arts educator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, he has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and the Jerome Foundation. Christopher creates paintings, drawings, and sculpture in his North Minneapolis studio.

Mary Harrold is a writer of poetry, creative nonfiction, and essays. She lives in the Twin Cities area. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe. She enjoys reading, her daily writing practice, and spending time with family and friends.

Bahieh Hartshorn is a resident of the West Seventh community of Saint Paul. She serves as the Movement Politics Leadership Program manager for TakeAction Minnesota. Previously she organized with the West Side Community Organization (WSCO) doing anti-gentrification and anti-displacement work. Before joining WSCO, she was a paralegal at an immigration law firm. She also serves as a political healer with TakeAction Minnesota. She is committed to the healing and systematic elevation of Womxn and Femmes of Color.

Abdulbari Hassan – professional gamer, professional student.

Margaret Hasse is a fan of Saint Paul, a gorgeous river city with a lively variety of people, green space, neighborhoods, and charm. She believes everyone should be able to recite at least one poem by heart. Between Us is her fifth and most recent book.

Clement Haupers (1900–1982) was a Saint Paul artist and educator. A painter and printmaker, he had a house and art studio in the Ramsey Hill neighborhood. As the director of the Minnesota Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, he promoted public arts patronage and greatly influenced the growth of the arts in Minnesota.

Kate Havelin ’s nineteenth book, Explore Twin Cities Outdoors, was published in 2018. She has written two other trail guides plus sixteen books for middle school and high school students, including historic fashions and biographies. Her Going Places blog ranges from local and international travels to books and social activism.

Judy Hawkinson lives in Saint Paul’s Merriam Park neighborhood, where she and her husband raised their three (now grown) children. Judy enjoys capturing moments with poetry and photography. Her photos have been shown at Dunn Brothers Coffee and other public spaces.

Mike Hazard is artist in residence at the Center for International Education in Minneapolis. Visit thecie.org to learn more.

Henry He is located in Michigan. He trained as an actor for a brief time. His drawings are drawn with an ink pen on white paper.

Hannah Healey is a comic artist working out of the Twin Cities and attending the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. They grew up on the East Side of Saint Paul and still work and live there. And though Minneapolis is great, they will always hold Saint Paul as their favorite city.

John Heine is a banjoist and dance caller who prefers to spend his time gardening, reading, and playing old-time stringband music. His research into Minnesota history focuses particularly on the musicians of territorial and early statehood days. An erstwhile resident of Saint Paul, he now lives in Minneapolis.

Genevieve Hess believes each individual has a unique perspective and constructs hers through art. Her paintings are inspired by beauty in humanity and the artistry of color. She hopes to portray balance between strength and delicacy, femininity and drama. Her art often shows images of women that evoke strong yet fragile feelings in the observer.

Katie Howie is a lifelong Saint Paulite. She is the mother to two fantastic young girls and a lover of all things art. You can find her on Instagram at katie_clicks.

Nora Kate Howie is nine and a half years old. She is happiest creating art, singing, and playing soccer. When she grows up, she want to be a school counselor. Nora’s favorite season is autumn because it gives her the feeling of “something new ahead.” If given the choice, Nora would make herself a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone every day.

Ku Htoo is a senior at Washington Technology Magnet School in Saint Paul. Ku loves to write and is always excited to improve his writing. Ku also enjoys exercise such as working out, running, and dancing, and he loves to play soccer.

Wing Young Huie is a celebrated Minnesota photographer known for his monumental public art projects that use the streets as galleries. His photographs are exhibited internationally. In his interactions with his photography subjects, he elicits their poignant reflections on issues of racial, gender, and class identities. His most recent book is Chinese-ness, published in 2018 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

Ursula Murray Husted spends her time making comics, daydreaming about boats, and feeding the cats. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and daughter. She dislikes sudden loud noises and Styrofoam packing peanuts but adores regional candy and roadside attractions. Her middle-grade graphic novel about cats, friendship, and art history will be coming out from HarperCollins in 2020. To learn more, go to ursulamurrayhusted.com.

Kemet Egypt Imhotep was born in Saint Paul and raised by his aunt Willia, who was born on a plantation in Arkansas in 1918 and had great faith 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 in Uni-Dale Mall. Kemet says, “Growing in this hostile environment, writing down what I observe and experience as I grow daily, words have become one of my best companions in my journey to becoming a greater person.”

Donna Isaac is a poet and teacher who has published a poetry book, Footfalls (Pocahontas Press), and two chapbooks, Tommy (Red Dragonfly Press) and Holy Comforter (Red Bird Chapbooks). Her poetry appears in various literary magazines. She works as a teaching artist throughout the Twin Cities and helps organize community poetry readings. Find out more at donnaisaacpoet.com.

Mimi Jennings taught English in France, French in Saint Paul, the Dharma in prisons. Awards: Saint Catherine’s 2012 Creative Work, Banfill-Locke 2018 Chapbook. A Transition Town poet, she writes family, rap, mystery. Published: Trotters, Martin Lake, Red Bird, Sleet, others; is circulating Stonecrop, her poetry collection; believes all are kin.

Leann E. Johnson has been creating art (illustration, graphic design, and tile art) for more than twenty years. A resident of Minneapolis, she has illustrated for publications like the Saint Paul Almanac and The New York Times. For more information, visit lea-way.com.

Nikki Johnson is a Saint Paul–born Seattleite professional pastry chef who loves concerts and flowers.

Aaron Johnson-Ortiz is a Saint Paul–based painter, graphic designer, and book maker. As an artist, he partners with community organizations to amplify the struggles of low-wage people of color. He recently completed a mural on the exterior of the Minneapolis workers’ center Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha. You can follow him at instagram.com/aajohnsonortiz.

Elizabeth Jolly is a Saint Paul artist whose meditation art offers the viewer insight into the stories, mythologies, philosophies, and spiritualities of different peoples, cultures, and environments. Using plant fiber constituents to create sculptural relief, her works offer a quiet refuge for the viewer. Her work can be seen in galleries across the United States.

Leah Jurss is a born and raised Minnesotan who spent a few years checking out a few other Great Lake states before returning home.

Patti Kameya forages wild plants and treats historical amnesia in Saint Paul.

Bebe Keith is a self-taught artist who likes to laugh. She is always looking for ways to stretch and grow as an artist and as a human. Learn more at bebekeith.com.

Patricia Kester studies writing at the Loft Literary Center and especially enjoys writing for children. She won the Loft’s Shabo Award in 2008 and received honorable mention in the 2004 Minnesota Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Mentorship Contest. A Saint Paul resident for more than sixty years, Patricia enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with family.

Narate Keys is a Cambodian American poet and spoken word artist living in Saint Paul. She has self-published The Changes . . . Immigration Footprints of Our Journey and The Good Life and co-authored Planting SEADs: Southeast Asian Diaspora Stories. Keys’ family lived through the Khmer Rouge genocide; she was born in a Thailand refugee camp. Through poetry, Keys has found love, appreciation, and encouragement. Keys performs her poems at various Minnesota venues, including the Loft Literary Center, Springboard for the Arts, Dragon Festival, and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre’s MayDay Festival. Learn more at NarateKeys.com.

Patricia Kirkpatrick is the author of Century’s Road and Odessa, awarded a 2013 Minnesota Book Award in Poetry. She works as an editor and has taught writing at Hamline University, Macalester, the University of Minnesota, and Saint Paul Public Schools. Her new poetry book, Blood Moon, will be published by Milkweed in 2019.

Benjamin Klas lives in Minnesota with his partner and their son. He spends his days block printing, playing the ukulele, parenting, and writing, although not necessarily in that order. His works have appeared in a handful of literary magazines and an anthology of queer writers.

Michael Kleber-Diggs is a poet and essayist. He lives in Saint Paul with his wife, Karen, who makes art with flowers, and their daughter, an accomplished dancer.

Susan Koefod lives across the street from Saint Paul. She is the author of a mystery series and a young adult novel, and she has widely published poetry and prose in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Revolver, Talking Stick, Saint Paul Almanac, Minnetonka Review, Midway Journal, Tattoo Highway, Lief Magazine, and other online and print literary journals. She is a
McKnight Fellowship for Writers recipient.

Peter Kramer calls what he does “birdwatching, observing, and drawing along the way.” His purpose is best described in a conversation found between a father and daughter in the novel Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell. “What do you hope to achieve?” the father asks. His daughter replies, “To make a difference that’s so small it’s not even noticeable. But it’s a difference.”

Thomas LaBlanc Tatanka Ohitika (Strong Buffalo), is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota, a resident of Saint Paul, and a decorated Vietnam veteran. He has been writing poetry since before there was anything called Native poetry, starting last century. His words—translated into more than seventeen languages and appearing in three published books, six CDs, and numerous lectures and performances—contribute to a world where we use creativity and options other than war, racism, classism, and exploitation to solve the problems that we all share by just being alive.

Eric Lai is a journalist and tech marketing consultant who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Irna Landrum is an essayist who thinks too much and loves too hard. A queer Black woman and recovering evangelical, Irna explores intersecting identities and politics and why humans love and hate the way we do. Weather permitting, she’s writing on her front porch or bicycling around the Twin Cities.

Katey Langer is a student at Hamline University majoring in digital media arts with a concentration in graphic design and a minor in biology. She is not from the Twin Cities but every day appreciates the opportunity to obtain an education in such a dynamic area. Her work includes observations, patterns, and connections.

Ellen Larsen is an artist who likes to challenge herself to express value using color. She is inspired by form, figure, cars, buildings, horizons, color, everyday objects, light, and shadow. Viewers have commented that the subjects she paints, whether inanimate or “live,” are able to convey as well as evoke emotion.

Todd Lawrence is an English professor at the University of St. Thomas, where he teaches African American literature.

Fong Lee is a member of the Stillwater Writers Collective. He enjoys poetry, essays, and creating visual art. When he is not drawing or writing, he volunteers as a tutor.

Hlee Lee-Kron is a Twin Cities entrepreneur, photographer, communications professional, and organizational guru with a zeal for telling community-based stories with a global twist. She launched the other media group (omg) out of community need. Hlee has a passion for bringing people of all backgrounds together and celebrating our lives through storytelling.

May Lee-Yang writes poems, plays, and prose. Her works include The Korean Drama Addict’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity and Confessions of a Lazy Hmong Woman. She is a co-founder of F.A.W.K. (Funny Asian Women Kollective) and can also be seen around town teaching creative writing and theater.

Corva León is a poet and visual artist who lives in Saint Paul and recently graduated from Hamline University with a degree in poetry and critical theory. Their work has appeared in FEMS Zine by FEMS Tournament and in Nothing of Substance magazine.

Gloria Burgess Levin is a psychoanalyst who grew up in Saint Paul but now lives in Minneapolis. She remains so fond of Saint Paul that she makes several forays a week across the river to go “home.”

Nadia Linoo is a photographer whose subjects include portraits, environments, and Burma. See her work at nadialinoostudio.com.

Melody Luepke no longer considers herself a newcomer to Minnesota, having weathered numerous seasons and adopted the long Minnesota “o” in her speech. She is a grandmother, a newlywed, and a consummate consumer of words.

David Mather is a writer, archaeologist, and gardener. He and his family enjoy life on Saint Paul’s West Side. His illustrated picture book, Frog in the House, takes place in Saint Paul and received the 2016 Giverny Award for science writing for children.

Phil McGraw is a director who elevates the voices of artist through his lens. His community-centered vision brings healing and illuminates the path toward justice through the Black arts community. Raised in Chicago, Phil picked up a camera for the first time in 2008 and fell in love with its versatility.

Tom McGregor is a painter who tries to find not just beauty but that which tells a story, has a history, affects him emotionally, and, most of all, challenges him to think about where he is as a human being living in this particular time and place.

Ethna McKiernan is a Minnesota poet with Irish roots. Her most recent book is Swimming with Shadows (2019), published by Salmon Poetry in Ireland. Her first book, Caravan, was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award. McKiernan holds an MFA in writing from Warren Wilson College and has received two Minnesota State Arts Board poetry grants. She works for a nonprofit serving the Minneapolis homeless population.

Greta McLain , artistic director of GoodSpace Murals, has over fifteen years of experience mural making and exploring the ways art can bring communities together. She has created projects in and around Saint Paul, Minneapolis, Memphis, Ohio, Kentucky, Chattanooga, Philadelphia, Argentina, Mexico, and France. Greta works out of Minneapolis and travels around the world activating community art as a tool for positive community engagement. She earned her MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

David Mendez is from Saint Paul’s West Side community. His work reflects upon his blue collar roots and ChicanX identity. Through the tools of education and activism, David works to help others find their voice and share their stories.

George Morrison (1919–2000) was an American painter. A member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, he grew up in northern Minnesota and studied at the Minneapolis School of Art and the Art Students League in New York. A Fulbright scholarship brought him to Paris, where he became part of the Abstract Expressionist movement. He taught at Rhode Island School of Design, then returned to his home state to teach studio arts at the University of Minnesota. In 1983 Morrison retired to Grand Portage, where he created art in his studio known as Red Rock.

Claudia Kane Munson , a retired middle school literature and science teacher, has been writing poetry since she was a young girl growing up in Saint Paul. Her writing reflects the complexity of family relationships. Claudia and her husband live in downtown Saint Paul; their three children are artists and writers.

Nancy Musinguzi is a visual and teaching artist, documentary photographer, and freelance photojournalist.

Lisa Nankivil is a Minneapolis-based artist nationally recognized for her luminous abstract paintings and prints that elaborate on the intangible nature of pictorial space. Layered surfaces of intricate color invite a closer view. A step back yields the sensation of distance and volume through shifts of light and optical mixing.

Alyssa Nelson is a native of southeast Minnesota. Her love for interacting with nature was fostered at a young age by independently exploring creek beds and forests. In 2012 she earned an MS in experiential education and has taught as an outdoor educator ever since. She currently teaches at Hartley Nature Preschool in Duluth. When she is not at Hartley, she can be found behind a vise tying flies for a local fly shop, pursuing fish with a fly rod, mountain biking, or wild foraging.

Jill Lynne Ness is a writer and artist living Minnesota. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. As a visual artist, she is self-taught and known for her intense watercolor. Jill leads a writing group at Bridgeview, a community support center in Fridley, Minnesota, for adults with severe and persistent mental illness, where she is also a member.

Anh-Hoa Thi Nguyen is a poet, artist, activist, and educator. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Mills College. She has been a member of the Asian American Women Artists Association, a member of the Vietnamese Artists Collective, an Artist-in-Residence at de Young Museum, a Writer-in-Residence at Hedgebrook, and a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant recipient.

Tim Nolan is a lawyer and poet living in Minneapolis. His work has appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and other magazines. His most recent book of poems is The Field, published by New Rivers Press.

Oleksandra Norwick is a Ukrainian who moved to Minneapolis, where she started everything from scratch on new terrain. Part of this transition consisted of going back to making art—returning to her roots, nurturing new beginnings, and exploring the nature and essence of the feminine.

Mimi Oo has worked in Saint Paul for more than ten years professionally as well as with the refugee community. She wrote “The Month of Ramadan” in tribute to her grandma and parents, in hopes that the poem will serve as a vehicle for the immigrant and refugee Islamic community to fill their void and create new traditions in their home called “Saint Paul.”

Dr. Sheronda Orridge is a writer, spoken word artist, certified facilitator, motivational speaker, certified doula, curriculum developer, and community organizer. She is the recipient of the 2012 Leap Forward African American Award, the 2012 National Parent Leadership Award, and the 2011 Community Honor Roll Award. Dr. Orridge uses her talents and strengths as tools to organize communities around education, poverty, and foreclosure and to promote holistic healing.

DeAnne L Parks is a visual artist living and working in Saint Paul. She is a painter, sculptor, and speaker, and she builds the occasional giant puppet. Her work is published and collected internationally. In 2018 DeAnne was commissioned to paint a mural on the front doors of Christ on Capitol Hill, commemorating the church’s 150th anniversary.

Gordon Parks (1912–2006) is one of the most celebrated photographers of his age. Born into poverty and segregation in Kansas, he was drawn to photography as a young man when he saw images of migrant workers published in a magazine. After buying a camera at a pawnshop, he taught himself how to use it. Parks broke the color line in professional photography while creating expressive images that explored the social and economic impact of racism.

Casey Patrick ’s poetry has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Green Mountains Review, The Pinch, RHINO Poetry, and on Twin Cities public transportation as part of the IMPRESSIONS Project. Since completing her MFA at Eastern Washington University, she has received fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Hub City Writers Project, and Tofte Lake Center. She lives in Minneapolis and tweets from @everythingfitz.

Gabor Peterdi (1915–2001) was a painter and printmaker. Born in Hungary, he immigrated to the United States at age twenty-four and served in World War II with the U.S. Army. Peterdi established the Graphic Workshop at the Brooklyn Museum Art School and was a major influence on younger American printmakers.

Demont Peekaso Pinder is an art historian who documents history in a vibrant way. Originally from Queens, New York, Demont discovered his artistic talent in the sixth grade drawing on his friends’ Trapper Keepers. Using his self-taught gift of painting, Demont has blessed the lives of many, celebrity and around-the-way folk alike.

Gladys Elena Beltran Posada is a painter and photographer. Born in Colombia, she has called the United States home since 1994. She holds a BFA from the University of Antioquia in Colombia and was a McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship recipient in 2006–2007. “To paint is to build bridges in my mind and guide me to rediscover that we have amazing fountains of energy.”

J. Otis Powell‽ (1955–2017) was an award-winning poet with aesthetics rooted in Afrocentric lore and culture. His work was informed by oral traditions in literature, music, and the Black Arts Movement. His words were recorded and released on several CDs. Powell‽ worked as a co-mentor and performed with Amiri Baraka for the Givens Writer’s Retreat and Tru Ruts Endeavors.

Moriah Pratt lives in South Saint Paul with her husband and son. Moriah continues to see the Imago Dei (“image of God”) in people. She is passionate about educating herself on social justice and the injustices in her community so that she can be active for change.

Heidi Prenevost is a multidisciplinary artist who explores what taking up space looks like and feels like. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Kathryn Pulley gravitates between two planets: motherhood and teaching. At times there is little space for the hobby moons of reading, writing, or playing Dungeons & Dragons, not to mention navigating the asteroid belt of marriage. But she’ll never stop exploring life’s great possibilities as she roves the universe.

Janice Quick remembers a wonderfully sunny day in 1960 when she and a playmate purchased their first-ever blue popsicles at a Phalen Park refreshment stand. She leads cemetery art tours and local history hikes.

Wendy Red Star works across artistic disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialist structures, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star creates art that is informed both by her cultural heritage and her engagement with photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon.

Madeline Reding has had her work published in Midway Journal and The Fulcrum, and she is a recipient of the George Henry Bridgman Poetry Award. She studies creative writing and biology in Saint Paul, where she lives with her zebra finches, Pip and Felix.

Marcie Rendon , White Earth Anishinaabe, is a playwright, poet, performance artist, and author. She has published four plays, two nonfiction children’s books, and poems and short stories in numerous anthologies. Marcie is the author of two novels, Girl Gone Missing (2019) and Murder on the Red River (2017), published by Cinco Puntos Press.

Elena Renken grew up in Saint Paul and has lived in the Summit-University, Highland Park, and Cathedral Hill neighborhoods. She is a science writer and studied science and society at Brown University in Rhode Island. In her spare time, she is an avid baker, ceramicist, photographer, and screen printer.

Ben Remington is a North Saint Paul native, baseball fetishist, and recovering goaltender. He’ll also tell you that Minneapolis is pretentious. Ben writes about the Minnesota Wild and cohosts the podcast Giles and the Goalie. You can find his work at ZoneCoverage.com or on Twitter @BenRemington.

Tamsie Ringler is an artist whose international iron casting events engage environmental awareness. Her projects include The River Lee Project, held at the National Sculpture Factory in Ireland in 2018, and River of Iron: Pouring the Mississippi, performed at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis during Northern Spark 2015. Ringler is a McKnight Fellowship recipient and a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors.

Deb Runyon , carnie in the summertime, criss-crosses the Deep South in the wintertime with her sweetheart and their heirloom teardrop trailer in pursuit of excellent adventures.

Cory and Tamrah Ryan are a husband and wife photography team, CT Ryan Photography, based in the Twin Cities. They specialize in events and commercial work. For the photos featured in this book, Cory was photographing; Tamrah ran the marathon.

Roberto Sande Carmona describes himself as 50 percent chilaquiles verdes and 50 percent Jucy Lucy, having spent his first ten years of life in Toluca, Mexico, where his mom’s family is from, and having lived since then in Saint Paul, where his dad’s family resides.

W. Jack Savage began writing fiction fifteen years ago and is the author of eight books (wjacksavage.com). An associate professor of telecommunications and film at California State University, Jack is a veteran stage actor as well as a retired broadcaster. He grew up in Saint Paul and attended school at Brown Institute and Mankato State University in Minnesota. Jack and his wife, Kathy, live in Monrovia, California.

Daniel Schauer is a writer living in Saint Paul. He holds degrees in English and creative writing from Hamline University and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. His poems have been published in Causeway/Cabshair and The Quotidian magazines.

Lucas Scheelk is a white, autistic, trans, queer-identified poet from the Twin Cities now living in Washington. Lucas uses they/them pronouns. They are the author of This Is A Clothespin (Damaged Goods Press, 2016) and Holmes Is A Person As Is (self-published, 2016). Lucas has poems featured in Queer Voices: Poetry, Prose, and Pride (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2019). You can find Lucas on Facebook at lucasscheelk and on Twitter @TC221Bee.

Mary Schmidt is the owner of ByTheBooks Accounting Services LLC and a board member for the League of Minnesota Poets. Mary desires to create poems and photographs that are daring, measured, full of depth and beauty, and a source of encouragement to others.

Kurt Schultz lives on Saint Paul’s Eastside with his wife, Karen, and their puggle, Elliott. Inspired by Lewis Carroll, Kurt penned a small collection of nonsense poems enjoyed by children and adults alike. “Pet” is the shortest of these poems.

Maddie Schumacher is an oldest sibling, a recent college graduate, and a person passionate about communities. They are a queer and nonbinary Chinese person who found home in Saint Paul while attending Macalester College. They hope to pursue policymaking to reduce racial disparities and allow families to thrive. You can find them drinking tea in the morning or dancing in the evening.

Kenneth Schweiger is a Saint Paul artist who paints still life, portraits, figures, and landscapes.

Sagirah Shahid is a Black Muslim writer from Minneapolis.

Paul Shambroom is a photographer whose “Lost” series derives from missing pet posters. He captures serendipitous color and texture caused by environmental degradation and printer malfunctions and incorporates short selections of text from the posters. The words and images combine to transcend particular family dramas and address universal themes of loss and uncertainty.

Michael Shreve is a pediatric pulmonologist working in Saint Paul.

Steve Simmer is a photographer and retired forester. As a youth, he spent countless hours with his father, a professional photographer, on shoots and in the darkroom. He applies his intimate knowledge of wild places to tell a photographic story of the beautiful environments he encounters. A native of Saint Paul, he is enchanted by its architecture, landmarks, and parks.

Andy Singer is a cartoonist and illustrator. His work has been published in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, and books, including the New Yorker, Esquire, The Progressive, La Décroissance (France), The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Julia Klatt Singer is the poet in residence at Grace Neighborhood Nursery School and a rostered artist for COMPAS. She is the co-author of Twelve Branches: Stories from St. Paul and the author of four books of poetry: In the Dreamed of Places, A Tangled Path to Heaven, Untranslatable, and Elemental. She has co-written more than two dozen songs with composers Tim Takach and Jocelyn Hagen. Ms. Singer’s son likes to describe her as a long-haired, sweater-wearing poet and thief.

Ann Sisel is a painter and textile artist whose love of art began in childhood. She holds a BFA from Macalester College in Saint Paul. Her watercolors are often created outside in the summer. Many of her works have been accepted into national shows. Learn more at annsisel.com.

Fr. Greg Skrypek grew up in the Midway, where the Montgomery Ward tower once stood as the neighborhood’s calling card to shop and hang out and become of age. With a push from his eighth-grade teacher at St. Columba, he entered the minor seminary and was ordained thirteen years later. The bulk of his ministry was as a chaplain at Hennepin County Jail and Stillwater and Oak Park Heights prisons. Currently he serves as parochial vicar at the Church of the Assumption in downtown Saint Paul.

Annette Marie Smith is a poet, freelance journalist, and artist. She is the founder of the international feminist project Facing Feminism. Her two most recent books are Tell the Bees, a collection of love and lust poems, and She Wanted Storms, a collection of short stories and poetry. She is happily at work on a novel of magical realism set in Saint Paul.

John L. Smith is a graduate student at Hamline University in Saint Paul. His poem “Clouds,” written for a Landscape and Memory class, was selected to appear on a Saint Paul bus kiosk as part of the IMPRESSIONS Project, which places poetry and art in public transit spaces.

Susan Solomon is a freelance paintress living in beautiful Saint Paul. She is the editor and founder of Sleet Magazine, an online literary journal. Susan’s first book, The Pond, a collaboration with poet Richard Jarrette, was published in 2019 with Green Writers Press.

Molly Sowash is a graduate of Macalester College who loves writing poetry, growing food, and singing in her trio, Mama Caught Fire. She feels grateful to live in a city that appreciates and supports artists and writers so heartily.

Peter Stein is a Minneapolis poet and father to four sons. His work has appeared in The Talking Stick, Martin Lake Journal, Nice Cage, the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts chapbook, and the anthology The Road by Heart. Peter is president of the League of Minnesota Poets and an award-winning photographer.

Debra J. Stone is a short story writer, essayist, and poet. She is co-founder and co-facilitator of the Northside Writers Group in North Minneapolis, a community-based writing group that has been meeting for ten years.

Carolyn Swiszcz was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and followed an older brother to Minnesota to attend the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where she earned a printmaking BFA in 1994. Her penchant for experimentation has led her to create songs, music videos, and animations. She lives in West Saint Paul with her husband and daughter.

Chholing Taha is a certified Cree (nêhiyaw) First Nations artisan. Solitude and wilderness have been loyal companions throughout her lifetime. Some of her artworks are stories; these narratives find themselves with one hand holding the past, bringing new insights toward the hand holding the future. Chholing’s art is exhibited in numerous public and private collections in the United States, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, England, Brazil, and Canada.

Victoria Tankersley moved to Minneapolis for college but fell in love with the vibrancy and sounds of the city (the ring of the light rail gives her especially warm, fuzzy feelings). She now lives in Minneapolis with her partner and puppy and, somehow, can’t wait for winter to come each year.

Xavier Tavera is a photographer. After moving from Mexico City to the United States, he learned what it felt like to be part of a subculture, the immigrant community. Being subjected to alienation has transformed the focus of his photographs to sharing the lives of those who are marginalized.

Molly LaBerge Taylor is the founder and first executive director of COMPAS, a community arts agency that she began in Saint Paul forty-five years ago. Now retired, she enjoys the work of artists who influenced so many people, as well as the company of Minnesota wildlife in the woods near her home.

Sandra Menefee Taylor is a Minnesota-based artist whose work addresses vital matters such as land, health, and food. Her work is an ongoing pursuit of meaning through the self-revelatory use of materials, historical references, and methods of working. Her work has been exhibited and collected nationally. She is a member of the Form + Content Gallery in Minneapolis.

Justin Terlecki is an artist living and working in Saint Paul. Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, he exhibits his work regularly in the Twin Cities and is represented by Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis. He is the recipient of a Jerome Fellowship for Emerging Printmakers, which funded a series of prints inspired by his travels to India and Spain. His work appears in the permanent collection of the McDonough Museum of Art in Youngstown. Justin lives in the Lowertown Lofts Artist Cooperative.

Annie Thao is a nineteen-year-old Hmong woman who has lived in Saint Paul all her life. She is a dancer grown from eight years of Hmong and Thai dance with a mix of tap and ballet. Raised alongside six sisters and two brothers, she volunteers in her spare time for various causes and finds the importance of giving an essential part of her philosophy.

Diane Thayer teaches junior high vocal music in Iowa City, Iowa. She became acquainted with Saint Paul when her son and daughter attended two different colleges in the city. She now considers Saint Paul her adopted city and her favorite place to visit.

Thet-Htar Thet (she/her) is originally from Yangon, Myanmar, and moved to Minnesota five years ago to attend Carleton College. She has a degree in political science/international relations and education. New to the writing scene, Thet-Htar was a finalist in creative nonfiction for the Loft Literary Center Mentor Series. She is on the leadership team of LOCUS, an organization that provides space, connection, and opportunities by and for people of color and indigenous peoples. She is a College Possible access coach and has a vested interest in education and cheese curds.

Annie Thompson is a native Minnesotan who will keep traveling but return to the Midwest as soon as fall arrives.

Noah Tilsen lives in the Saint Paul Midway area with his amazing two children, dog, and cat.

Robert Tilsen is now ninety-four years old and recently went skydiving. He did it once when he was ninety and wanted to get better photos. He splits his time between Florida and Minnesota.

Will Tinkham has published six novels. “More Champagne?” is an excerpt from his seventh, The Miracles. His short fiction has been published on three continents—twice in the Saint Paul Almanac. He lives and writes in Minneapolis.

Amanda Tran is not of many words. She was born in Minnesota and raised by her mom, aunties, grandma, and grandpa. Her family emigrated from Vietnam in 1975. When she told her mom that she wanted to go to college for creative writing, her mom said, “You can tell our story.”

Anna Tran graduated from Highland Park Senior High School in 2019 and will be attending Trinity College in Connecticut in the fall as a first-generation college student. She enjoys reading about critical race theory and other nonfiction works. Outside of reading and writing, she hopes to get involved in work that will make a difference in her communities. Anna was born in Minneapolis but has lived in Saint Paul all of her life.

Steve Trimble lives in Dayton’s Bluff on Saint Paul’s East Side and can easily walk to Indian Mounds Park. He is a trained urban historian and has published several articles and books. In the summer you can often find him tending his heirloom tomatoes.

Lucy Allene Troy-Smith is a normal high schooler with a passion for writing: “I’m growing up in a regular home with a loving, supportive family. I like to write. I write all the time.”

Mary Turck lives and writes in Saint Paul. She has published extensively as a journalist and has published one chapbook, Forest City Poems. Her website, maryturck.com, includes her literary and journalistic blogs.

Adam Turman is an illustrator, muralist, printmaker, and artist from Minneapolis. His bold style offers colorful takes on beloved landmarks and the great outdoors. Adam’s murals can be found throughout the Midwest and his prints in private collections worldwide. He works with major brands, independent businesses, and private collectors alike to make art part of our every day.

Katie Vagnino is a poet, educator, and freelance writer based in Saint Paul. She holds degrees from Emerson College and Yale and teaches creative writing at the Loft Literary Center and the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

Julie Vang was born and raised in Saint Paul. She is a Hmong American womxn, a second-generation immigrant, and a free-spirited individual. She is on a mission to build collaborative power with the community through storytelling, liberation, and healing.

Kazua Melissa Vang is a Hmong American filmmaker, visual artist, photographer, teaching artist, production manager, and producer based in Minnesota. She is a lead artist as well as a teaching artist for In Progress, a Saint Paul nonprofit arts group dedicated to paving the way for new voices.

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay is a Lao American poet, playwright, and cultural producer whose work focuses on creating spaces for refugee voices. Her plays have been presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Theater Mu. She is an Aspen Ideas Bush Foundation scholar, a Playwrights Center fellow, a Loft Literary Center fellow, and a recipient of grants from the Jerome Foundation, Knight Foundation, and Forecast Public Art.

Erica Wallace lives in Minneapolis with her four children and husband. She is currently enrolled at Hamline University in the MFA program for creative writing. She practices Reiki at Wellness Minneapolis, a holistic health clinic. When Erica is not reading, writing, or raising children, she enjoys crafting and gardening.

Leon Wang is an artist, activist, and educator based in Saint Paul. He has worked with many organizations and movements to promote purposeful creativity. Wang is the founder of Firebird Design Lab and Love Hope Rise. He is also an adjunct instructor in the Art Department at Augsburg University.

Akeeylah Laronda Watkins was born August 17, 1994, on Chicago’s South Side at Michael Reese Hospital. When Akeeylah was six months old, Akeeylah’s mother, Sheronda, packed the both of them up and moved to south Minneapolis. At age two, they moved to the Skyline in Saint Paul’s Midway. Shortly after Akeeylah turned three years old, her mother purchased a home in Frogtown and they have lived there ever since.

Greg Watson ’s work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. His most recent collection is All the World at Once: New and Selected Poems. He is also co-editor with Richard Broderick of The Road by Heart: Poems of Fatherhood, published by Nodin Press.

Ben Weaver is a songwriter and poet who travels by bicycle. He uses his music as a tool to strengthen relationships between people and their local ecosystems. Ben’s most recent project, Music for Free, saw him riding three thousand miles from Canada to Mexico along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route with his guitar and banjo, making stops to offer free performances to communities along the way. Ben has completed many wilderness music-by-bike tours and released nine studio albums and five books of poetry. Given the choice, he will side with the animals, lakes, rivers, and trees.

Lily Weissman is a native Saint Paulite. She is thirteen years old and attends Open World Learning Community on the West Side.

Kelly Westhoff writes haiku and finds the process of counting syllables both soothing and addicting. She is working on a full-length memoir called The Road to Hanru about her experience with infertility. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, her son, and a nervous little dog. Learn more about her work at KellyWesthoff.com and follow her haiku on Instagram @KellyWesthoffWrites.

Linda White is a writer, reader, editor, reviewer, blogger, promoter, and teacher. Her writing has appeared on Writer’s Block, MNReads, Book Riot, and most recently in the anthology Upon Waking. She runs BookMania and the Publishing Bones, teaches at the Loft Literary Center, and helps people bring their stories to life. She is a member of the League of Minnesota Poets. She is putting finishing touches on a novel and a chapbook of poems. A University of St. Thomas alum, Linda is in love with Saint Paul.

Phyllis Wiener (1921–2013) was an abstract painter. Born in Iowa, she came to Minnesota in the 1950s, during which time her artwork was selected by the American Federation of Arts traveling exhibition to tour throughout the United States. Wiener taught at various Minnesota colleges and art centers, including St. Catherine University in Saint Paul.

Sydney E. Willcox is a narrative painter, potter, printmaker, high school art teacher, and parenting partner of six. She loves stories of transformation and aspiration. She seeks to encourage the way light streaming through stained glass windows illustrates story and prayers.

Morgan Grayce Willow has lived and worked on both sides of the Mississippi River. She has authored three poetry collections and several chapbooks and is currently working on a collection called Oddly Enough. In 2016, she exhibited her one-of-a-kind artist book, Collage for Mina Loy, at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

Zachary Wilson , born and raised in Yakima, Washington, made his way to Saint Paul by way of Rock Island, Illinois; central New Jersey; and Viking, Minnesota. He is married to Reverend Jen Rome and serves as one of the pastors at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church. Zach and Jen have two children attending Saint Paul Public Schools.

Eron Woods is an amateur photographer and local jazz musician. He teaches percussion at Cadenza Music in Saint Paul and is married to Chimgee Haltarhuu, author of “Circus Feats.”

M. Wright is an educator and poet living with his wife, Dylan, in Minnesota. He is the 2016 winner of the Atlantis Award in poetry and his poems have appeared in The Penn Review, Saint Paul Almanac, Glass Poetry, UCity Review, Wildness, and Jet Fuel Review. Find out more at wrightm.com.

Kuab Maiv Yaj , or Koua Mai Yang, is a Hmong American artist based in Saint Paul and an MFA candidate at the University of Minnesota. Yaj’s studio work investigates recurring themes surrounding bicultural identity, home, female experiences, and Hmong patriarchy. Working representationally from Western and Hmong notions of art, she makes meaning of the Hmong identity in America today. The heart of her work is to hold space for the possibilities of addressing the legacy of  tatelessness, wars, invisibility, and the layers of oppression in Hmong female experiences.

Cydi Yang is a passionate artist who expresses her own and other’s experiences through writing, dance, and spoken word. She graduated from Concordia University in 2017 with a communication major and a writing minor and wants to utilize all she learned to create stories that will connect with and uplift and enlighten her audience.

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong American writer and the author of two award-winning books, The Latehomecomer and The Song Poet. “The Drive Home,” the essay that appears in this book, is a love letter to Aaron Hokanson (“because I don’t speak these often and I write them perhaps even less so”).

Lisa Yankton , a member of the Spirit Lake Dakota, is a community organizer, educator, writer, and mother. At night, she can be found stargazing. Instead of wishing on a star, she wishes she knew their names. Her community activities include serving as a juror for the Saint Paul Sidewalk Poetry Contest, blogging for the Minnesota Book Awards, teaching at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, coordinating the Dakota Nationwide Conference, leading the Brooklyn Historical Society, and serving on The Circle newspaper board. During the Dakota War of 1862, her grandmother fled from Minnesota to North Dakota.

Ahmed Abdullahi strives for knowledge and has great sense of humor, as he says so himself. He lives in Roseville and was born in Africa.

Leilani Andrews is a twenty-year-old woman who is currently going to school and discovering who she is meant to be. She enjoys writing and  photography in her spare time.

Wendy Brown-Báez is the author of the novel Catch a Dream and two poetry books. Her poetry and prose appear widely in literary journals and anthologies such as Mizna, Poets & Writers, Talking Writing, Water~Stone Review, Duende, Peregrine, and Tiferet. Wendy teaches creative writing and memoir in community spaces such as schools, libraries, cafes, prisons, healing centers, churches, and yoga studios. Visit her online at wendybrownbaez.com.

Colleen Casey is a writer, artist, historian, editor, teacher, and community organizer. Of mixed Mdewakanton Dakota and European American heritages, she sees herself as a person of crosscurrents and confluences. She believes we are all related.

Bridget Geraghty is an aspiring writer and editor who has an incurable penchant for books, vinyl, and tea. When not reading or writing, she can be found cuddling with her cat Tinkerbell, listening to music, or dreaming of Ireland.

Marion Gómez is a poet and teaching artist based in Minneapolis. She has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation. She is a member of the Latinx spoken word collective Palabristas and works at the Loft Literary Center.

IBé is a son of Africans and a father to Americans. He was born somewhere between Guinea and Sierra Leone, and raised somewhere between there and St. Cloud, Minnesota. He is a writer, of many things: essays, poems, short stories, notes, and project status reports. Some of those he likes; some he does because he has to. Such is life, you win some, you deal with others. Like living through the bitter winters of Minnesnowta so he can appreciate the wonderful summers that much more.

Maryan Ibrahim graduated from high school in May 2019. She loves reading and learning about new things. She has about nineteen uncles and aunts just from her dad’s side. She thinks the word ordinary is overrated and would prefer to be called weird.

Kemet Egypt Imhotep was born in Saint Paul and raised by his aunt Willia, who was born on a plantation in Arkansas in 1918 and had great faith 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 in Uni-Dale Mall. Kemet says, “Growing in this hostile environment, writing down what I observe and experience as I grow daily, words have become one of my best companions in my journey to becoming a greater person.”

Michael Kleber-Diggs is a poet and essayist. He lives in Saint Paul with his wife, Karen, who makes art with flowers, and their daughter, an accomplished dancer.

Melody Luepke no longer considers herself a newcomer to Minnesota, having weathered numerous seasons and adopted the long Minnesota “o” in her speech. She is a grandmother, a newlywed, and a consummate consumer of words.

Khalid Mohamed is a young, curious, and intelligent person who loves to read books. He loves to ask questions and express his feelings. He brings up very important points. Khalid is a junior at Higher Ground Academy in Saint Paul. He wants to go to med school and is looking to become a nurse.

Kia Moua is a Saint Paul taxpayer and sometimes Minneapolis visitor. Kia is a part-time explorer of “what she wants to be when she grows up” and an equity consultant. She lives in Saint Paul’s West Side neighborhood with her pack of three girls, two fur babies, and life partner. When Kia is not on the clock, you can find her facilitating discussions around race, equity, and colonization within and outside her community.

Dr. Sheronda Orridge is a writer, spoken word artist, certified facilitator, motivational speaker, certified doula, curriculum developer, and community organizer. She is the recipient of the 2012 Leap Forward African American Award, the 2012 National Parent Leadership Award, and the 2011 Community Honor Roll Award. Dr. Orridge uses her talents and strengths as tools to organize communities around education, poverty, and foreclosure and to promote holistic healing.

Lucia Pawlowski is a recovering academic who runs the People’s Writing Center, which provides writing support for progressive political movements (so if you’re working for a leftist political cause, we will help you write). Originally from Pennsylvania, Lucia enjoys the Minnehaha dog park and playing the dulcimer.

Kathryn Pulley gravitates between two planets: motherhood and teaching. At times there is little space for the hobby moons of reading, writing, or playing Dungeons & Dragons, not to mention navigating the asteroid belt of marriage. But she’ll never stop exploring life’s great possibilities as she roves the universe.

Deb Runyon , carnie in the summertime, criss-crosses the Deep South in the wintertime with her sweetheart and their heirloom teardrop trailer in pursuit of excellent adventures.

Munira Said is a student with many talents. She loves to read books and write poetry and prose. A natural storyteller, she has the ability to make people listen to her stories when she tells them. As much as she enjoys reading and writing, Munira’s favorite subject in school is math.

Samira Abdikarim Salad attended high school at Higher Ground Academy in Saint Paul and graduated in the spring of 2019.

Colleen Sheehy has been a writer of various forms since her adolescence. She loves all forms of literature and nonfiction and reads widely. She also loves visual art, popular music, dance, gardening, and biking. She is the executive director of Public Art Saint Paul.

Thet-Htar Thet (she/her) is originally from Yangon, Myanmar, and moved to Minnesota five years ago to attend Carleton College. She has a degree in political science/international relations and education. New to the writing scene, Thet-Htar was a finalist in creative nonfiction for the Loft Literary Center Mentor Series. She is on the leadership team of LOCUS, an organization that provides space, connection, and opportunities by and for people of color and indigenous peoples. She is a College Possible access coach and has a vested interest in education and cheese curds.

Ben Weaver is a songwriter and poet who travels by bicycle. He uses his music as a tool to strengthen relationships between people and their local ecosystems. Ben’s most recent project, Music for Free, saw him riding three thousand miles from Canada to Mexico along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route with his guitar and banjo, making stops to offer free performances to communities along the way. Ben has completed many wilderness music-by-bike tours and released nine studio albums and five books of poetry. Given the choice, he will side with the animals, lakes, rivers, and trees.

Frankie Weaver is a thirteen-year-old from Saint Paul who attends Open World Learning Community School. In his free time he likes to skateboard, draw, and play ultimate frisbee.

Claudette Webster arrived in the Twin Cities after spending a significant portion of her life on the East Coast. Originally from Jamaica, West Indies, she enjoys writing poetry, memoir, and nonfiction. She loves looking at the sky, laughing, walking/running, and exploring. Her motto is “Let curiosity lead the way!”

Linda White is a writer, reader, editor, reviewer, blogger, promoter, and teacher. Her writing has appeared on Writer’s Block, MNReads, Book Riot, and most recently in the anthology Upon Waking. She runs BookMania and the Publishing Bones, teaches at the Loft Literary Center, and helps people bring their stories to life. She is a member of the League of Minnesota Poets. She is putting finishing touches on a novel and a chapbook of poems. A University of St. Thomas alum, Linda is in love with Saint Paul.

M. Wright is an educator and poet living with his wife, Dylan, in Minnesota. He is the 2016 winner of the Atlantis Award in poetry and his poems have appeared in The Penn Review, Saint Paul Almanac, Glass Poetry, UCity Review, Wildness, and Jet Fuel Review. Find out more at wrightm.com.

Alexa Yankton is a member of the Spirit Lake Dakota. She is in the twelfth grade at her high school. She delights in hiking nature trails, visiting museums, traveling, and being with her family. Alexa is a Pow Wow Princess and water carrier at ceremonials.

Lisa Yankton , a member of the Spirit Lake Dakota, is a community organizer, educator, writer, and mother. At night, she can be found stargazing. Instead of wishing on a star, she wishes she knew their names. Her community activities include serving as a juror for the Saint Paul Sidewalk Poetry Contest, blogging for the Minnesota Book Awards, teaching at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, coordinating the Dakota Nationwide Conference, leading the Brooklyn Historical Society, and serving on The Circle newspaper board. During the Dakota War of 1862, her grandmother fled from Minnesota to North Dakota.