Volume 4: Saint Paul Almanac (2010)

Stories, articles, poems, events, and a calendar & datebook for your own notes—all about Saint Paul!

Cover art by Kevin R Brown.

Jump to: Selected Stories · Purchase the Book · Contributors

Includes work by new writers alongside the likes of Garrison Keillor, David Mura, Diego Vázquez, Jr., Marcie Rendon, Jim Heynen, Diane Wilson, Loren Neimi, Carol Connolly, Mike Hazard, Nora Murphy, Katie Ka Vang, Kathryn Kysar, Greg Brick, Patricia Kirkpatrick and other acclaimed Saint Paul writers.

384 pages, 5 3/16 x 8 inches, 120+ B&W photos. ISBN: 978-0-9772651-5-2

Selected Stories

Revolt at the Midway Discount Shopping Mall

By Richard Broderick ● 2010

The department’s floor personnel—Bobbi, Tess, Shaun, Alice, and the stock boy, Luis—received word in that week’s pay envelope, but rumors had been circulating for some time that the store was closing. It was, after all, impossible to ignore how the shelves were not being restocked. “No mas,” Luis would shrug, his palms turned upward, when one of the sales associates asked why a particular item—like those fleece-lined shoe inserts the old ladies liked so much—hadn’t been replenished. “A little shipping problem,” Mr. Beechner, the head buyer, had assured Alice, the oldest among them, when she’d worked up the nerve to ask. “Central’s working on it,” he said, then marched off in a rush. He was always in a rush.


By Diane Wilson ● 2010

I raise my baton, a rake, a half-chewed stick: dry leaves crackle, snap tympani for the horn toot of geese flying south.

Big Hair

By Margaret Hasse ● 2010

This fall, our son’s chosen to grow his hair out long. He keeps his tresses clean, Otherwise lets the fields lie fallow, Doesn’t cultivate with comb and brush. One woman on Grand stares so long at his hair, she trips over the curb...

Art by Kirk Anderson

Can’t Nobody Make a Sweet Potato Pie Like My Mama

By Rose McGee ● 2010

Every holiday, every barbecue, every church social, and Lord knows for every somebody or another’s funeral, the unspoken expectation has always been that my mama makes the sweet potato pies. Calling her pies delicious is an understatement—they are heavenly.


Abenet Amare is from Ethiopia. He didn’t know how to write a good story, but with a lot of help from his teachers, Ms. Sevald and Ms. Lind (they help him a lot), now he can write about anything. He became a good writer because he started writing at home or somewhere else when nobody was around. He thinks he can write a book because he can’t stop once he starts.

Annelia Anderson attends St. Anthony Park Elementary School, and she is eleven years old. She had fun writing about the O’Shaughnessy theater because she performed her first big show there. She didn’t have to do much research, because she remembered it all. Thanks for reading her writing.

Kirk Anderson grew up in a loving, stable, small-town Midwestern middle-class family, a difficult start for a professional cynic. Over time and with great determination, he was able to nurture his underdeveloped angst and rage through his parents’ controlled exposure of him to the real world. From these unlikely beginnings, Kirk turned himself around and flowered into the fully maladjusted, paranoid professional pessimist that he is today.

Tony Andrea is a travel videograinpher, educator, and proud East Sider. While his travels have brought him on many unique adventures, he claims that the more he travels, the deeper his roots grow into the East Side of Saint Paul. Furthermore, he is always available to help his hometown in any way he can!

Suad Arouni is from Sierra Leone, and misses Christmas picnics on the beach with her family and friends.

Ashanti Austin is a writer for Nonprofit Newsletter Partnership, a subsidiary of Redbird Media & Design. She is also the marketing and community outreach coordinator at Sibley Bike Depot in Saint Paul. She is a recent transplant from California, where she grew up, worked, and taught critical reading and writing on race, gender, sexuality, and class as a teaching assistant at University of California–San Diego in the Dimensions of Culture Program. Ashanti has found a home in Minnesota teaching women how to fix their bicycles for Women and Transgender Night at Sibley. She is obsessed with underground hip-hop culture, loves dancing, graphic novels, and everything African Diaspora.

Shalaya Avant likes to dream. Shalaya attends Saint Paul Public Schools.

Amanda Baden is eleven years old and she lives in Saint Paul and attends St. Anthony Park Elementary School. She is in sixth grade. She has a cat and a dog. Her favorite kind of writing is poetry.

Elen Bahr is a self-proclaimed Saint Paulite, grant writer, and aspiring children’s book author. Elen and her family live in the Summit-University neighborhood, where she bakes pies, grows beautiful gardens, coordinates her neighborhood block club, and would never, ever dream of trading love for a street grid system.

Carolen Bailey was hired as a police woman in 1961 in Saint Paul and retired in 1991 as a lieutenant, the first woman to pass the same test as male officers. She was a pioneer in sexual assault and domestic violence work, was appointed Minnesota Assistant Commissioner of Public Safety (1992–1997), and served as president of Minnesota and the International Association of Women Police.

Aleli Balagtas prudently does not ski downhill. Occasionally, she cross-country skis—at Como Park, of course. Sometimes she writes. More often, she has good ideas for writing that she soon forgets, in the confusion of getting kids to soccer games at the right times.

Paul Bartlett and his wife, Linda, trekked their way through Wisconsin in the 1990s and plopped down here in Minnesota. They came from the land of cheese—and a beer and a bratwurst, please—to live with the Nordics. They couldn’t be happier. Paul is a quirky guy; he’s a lifelong Democratic activist, pens many, many political letters to the editor (all around the country), and so loves our new president that he sports a Barack Obama “rising sun” tattoo on his right arm.

Marjorie (Weaver) Bednarek enjoys writing poems and stories with a nostalgic touch. She has published letters to editors of various publications and written stories for Antique Week Newspaper and Yesterday’s Magazette. Thanks for the opportunity to appear in the Almanac!

Kenneth (“Kenny”) A. Blumenfeld’s head went into the clouds during early childhood, and he has spent most of his life fighting to keep it there. He recently earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, where he studied Minnesota’s extreme and hazardous weather. Kenny’s presentations on tornado history almost always include at least one defeathered chicken as a visual aid.

Todd Boss is the poet laureate of Nina’s Café on Cathedral Hill, which was named for the madame who once ran a brothel there. Todd doesn’t drink gin unless F. Scott or Nina is buying.

Patricia Bour-Schilla has lived in Saint Paul all her life. She enjoys being with friends and family and spends her free time bicycling, hiking, and photographing. Her best friend is her partner, Larry.

Greg Brick, a native of Saint Paul, teaches geology at local colleges. His latest book, Subterranean Twin Cities, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2009. His work has been featured in National Geographic Adventure magazine as well as on the History Channel.

Richard Broderick has lived in Saint Paul for the past twenty-one years. The author of three books of poetry and prose, the recipient of a Minnesota Book Award, and cofounder of The Twin Cities Daily Planet, an award-winning online community newspaper, he currently serves as president of the Macalester-Groveland Community Council.

Frank Brown has greeted people each and every day for the last twelve years with the saying “Another day, another blessing.” When he says this, he is giving all thanks to his Lord. Frank believes in what he calls the “4Ps”: “patience, perseverance, persistence, and prayer,” because nothing can come about without God.

Mary Legato Brownell, who grew up in Saint Paul, now lives outside Philadelphia and teaches in a nearby independent school. She’s received study seminar grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Leeway Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Arts Council, and Pennsylvania Council of the Arts. She has been published in American Poetry Review, Pivot, Comstock Review, GSU, Margie, Wind, InkPot, and other journals. She was awarded first honors by the W. B. Yeats Society of New York, finalist and honorable mention by the Comstock Review, “Discovery”/The Nation (2006), and others.

Deacon J. Moreno Carranza is a native Texan and adopted son of Saint Paul. He attended the University of Houston and St. Mary’s Seminary and was ordained a deacon in 1978. He worked in corporate America through the 1980s and then created his own enterprise, Accent Resources, Inc. All along, his interest in Native American culture never waned. Currently, he is connected with Native American Ventures, directing the creation, marketing, and sale of Native American arts and crafts.

John Lee Clark can often be found roaming downtown, sometimes with his wife and three sons in tow. He is a widely published poet whose first collection of poems is Suddenly Slow (Handtype Press, 2008). He also edited the definitive anthology Deaf American Poetry (Gallaudet University Press, 2009).

Mariela Consuela Cole is twelve years old. Her birthday is September 4, 1997. She has an older sister, Marisa, and an older brother, Diamonte. In her life, Mariela has had four dogs, eight cats, two hamsters, and three fish. She has gone to two different schools, Pratt and St. Anthony Park. She thanks you for reading her life story.

Carol Connolly, Saint Paul’s first poet laureate, was appointed by Mayor Chris Coleman. Her family has lived in Saint Paul for six generations. She has been a political candidate, political and human rights activist, journalist, and poet. Her book of poems, Payments Due, now in its fifth printing, was published by Minnesota Villages and Voices, a small press founded by poet Meridel LeSueur. Currently, Carol is a columnist for Minnesota Law & Politics, and for ten years she has curated and hosted the monthly Readings by Writers series at the historic University Club of Saint Paul, presented by Public Art Saint Paul/Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk.

D. D. Costandine is an artist and writer who loves her fair city and the interesting nooks and crannies that are waiting to be explored. Deborah is continuing her studies at Adler Graduate School in hopes of becoming an art therapist in the near future.

Barbara Cox lives in the Mac-Groveland area with her husband, Joe, and her three young children. She has the kind of zeal for the city often found in those raised in the suburbs. Her favorite spots in the city include Mattocks Park, the River Road bike trail, and Candyland.

Kira Cronin-Hennessy moved from New York State to Minnesota five years ago. She has this to say: it’s different. For one thing, it’s a lot colder. Also, there are a lot more parades and a lot fewer hills. She likes it at the Half-Price Bookstore because she gets a strange feeling of security with books all around her. When she sees a book that she has read, she smiles because she knows another child is going to be able to enjoy that same book.

Molly Culligan’s life has revolved around Saint Paul. Act I: Third of six in the John and Margaret Culligan family. Act II: Motherhood. Act III: Actor, dancer, director, producer, writer, editor, poet, coach. Peace work figures large. She presents readings of her poetry on life, death, and the tango. She performs as Meridel Le Sueur and other writers.

Patricia Cummings grew up in Nativity Parish. After graduating from St. Catherine’s College, she taught English, married, and had three children. Pat then spent twenty-five years in the field of philanthropy, most recently as the executive director of the Phillips Foundation. Now retired, Pat spends much of her time volunteering in the community and writing.

Captain Bob Deck grew up following his father from air force base to air force base. In 1975, after graduating from Highland Park High School, he hired on as a barge deckhand on the Upper Mississippi in Saint Paul. He has written a book about his adventures, Deck on Deck—Towboating in the Twin Cities.These days, he teaches elementary school and works the Padelford Packet boats.

Collette DeNet was born and raised in Saint Paul. Do not be fooled by the spelling of her last name: it does not rhyme with her first name (the ‘t’ is silent). This bright young twenty-four-year old is an avid Guinness drinker and travel enthusiast. She also has a deep love for acoustic ’70s ballads and Irish folk songs. If you ever need to find her, she is probably walking around Como Lake with her dogs singing a cheesy ’70s ballad.

Louis DiSanto never thought of being a zookeeper after graduating from UW-River Falls in 1972 with a degree in journalism. But after several jobs as a writer-photographer and many résumés, a civil service exam led him to a position at Como Zoo in 1985. For the next twenty years, Louis took care of creatures great and small, becoming skilled with a hose and shovel. Now retired, Louis enjoys making photographs and writing children’s stories, some inspired by his zoo experiences.

Norita Dittberner-Jax is the author of two collections of poetry, What They Always Were and The Watch.She has won a number of awards for her work. A lifelong resident of Saint Paul, Norita is crazy about the city.

Marsha Drucker misses Saint Paul and currently lives in Ohio.

Teri J. Dwyer has been a fitness enthusiast all her life. She’s been lucky enough to parlay her recreation passion into a great excuse to not grow up. As a freelance sports and health & fitness writer, she’s made a career out of going outside to play.

Tina Dybvik boards the bus in Lowertown Saint Paul. Her work has appeared in Iron Horse Literary Reviewand Lake Country Journal, and she occasionally sounds off in the Downtown St. Paul Voice. Visit her website at www.TinaDybvik.net

Pamela Espeland moved to Minnesota for college and has never left. She is the author of many books and has been a freelance writer for most of her life. She writes about jazz for MinnPost.com ; JazzPolice.com and bebopified.blogspot.com — Pamela and her husband, John, a photographer, have an exuberant little dog named Carmen.

Janaly Farias is a GED and ABE student at the Area Adult Learning Center in Gaylord. Although born in the United States, she lived in Mexico during her middle childhood. Janaly works at Michael Foods/MN Pullet (producers of eggs and egg products) and enjoys drawing, listening to all types of music, spending time with friends, and playing soccer, tennis, and volleyball. She wants to get a baccalaureate degree so she can have a professional career. She is interested in being an interpreter.

Daniel Gabriel’s life and writings span the globe, but after watching his two boys grow up in Saint Paul, he knows where his deepest roots now lie. Speaking of lying, if you prefer fiction to reality, check out his short story collection, Tales From the Tinker’s Dam, at local independent bookstores.

Joyce Garcia grew up in Northern Minnesota like Mowgli in The Jungle Book, running through the trees. Although not as flexible as she once was, she still dreams that dream.

Heatherjo Gilbertson is a local photographer who owns Personal Image Photography studio in Lowertown. Saint Paul has always been near and dear to her heart. She enjoys the history and culture of the city and its residents. One of her favorite past times is capturing the charm and beauty of the city in photographs.

Connie Goldman’s long career has focused on the changes and challenges of aging. Her message on public radio, in print, and in person is clear—make any time of life an opportunity for new learning, creative pursuits, self-discovery, spiritual deepening, and continued growth. Her presentations are designed to inform, empower, and inspire.

Adán González moved to Saint Paul from Guatemala three years ago. He really appreciates the quiet and safety in Minnesota, as well as how nice and helpful people are. However, he really misses his two daughters, who are still living in Guatemala. In the future, he would like his daughters to be fluent in English. He is looking forward to visiting them and teaching them to read English, using his story from Saint Paul Almanac.

Tom Haas was born and raised in Saint Paul. When is he not busy with his dream job, working in a cubicle in a corporate tower, he loves to write for fun. When he is not writing, he loves to ride his bike and of course walk around Como Lake.

Andrew Hall is fifteen years old and a sophomore at Highland Park Senior High School. Andrew only writes occasionally but wishes he did so more often.

Carol Hall is a senior, a freelance writer, and a lifelong resident of Minnesota. Her column, “Good Memories,” has appeared in Minnesota Good Age magazine since 2004. Previously, she contributed columns and articles to a number of local publications and edited her husband’s college textbook, Integrated Project Management. In her younger years, Carol earned a BA in journalism from the U of M while working as a stewardess for that “magic carpet of the Corn Belt,” Northwest Airlines.

Evan Hall is a reader, writer, talker, and a player who likes basketball. Evan is ten years old and a student at Expo Elementary.

Moira Harris, an art historian, enjoys viewing and writing about public art, permanent and ephemeral. Her interests range from murals and sculpture in Minnesota to painted cars, dragon boats, and donkey carts elsewhere. She was born in Minneapolis but has lived mainly in Saint Paul.

Margaret Hasse is twice blessed, with degrees in English, one from Stanford University and one from the University of Minnesota. She loves living in the Mac-Groveland neighborhood, where every block has at least one writer and many avid readers of poetry and other literary work. The titles of her three collections of poetry are Stars Above, Stars Below; In a Sheep’s Eye, Darling; and Milk and Tides.

Mike Hazard, aka Media Mike, is a Bush Artist Fellow. He earns a living working as an artist in the schools and makes a good life writing poems, essays, and film scripts. For more, visit his website at www.thecie.org — Mike is part of the Saratoga Studio A.M. Sunday Writers.

Marlin L. Heise is an old, technology challenged, one-speed bicyclist who loves heat and sunshine. Home is western Minnesota, Stuttgart, Oslo, Sheffield, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Phnom Penh, and Saint Paul—when it is hot and sunny. He thanks the University of Minnesota for his Scandinavian, German, history, and library classes.

Jim Heynen no longer teaches full-time at St. Olaf, where he was writer-in-residence for many years. He is not retired but instead is trying to write sort of full-time, and therefore is not necessarily available for rides to the airport, instant walking dates, coffee at any old time, dog sitting, garden watering, reading rough drafts of the memoir you just finished, or listening to hardships of the heart. You’re always welcome, however, to ask him for samples of what he has been writing.

Jennifer Holder’s passions are writing and traveling. During the school year, she and her husband live in China, where she does freelance writing and also teaches English at a specialist foreign language school. She enjoys returning to her home in Saint Paul semiannually.

Lonnie Howard fell in love with a poet in 2000. The relationship didn’t work out, but she discovered the poet within. She grew up in Saint Paul and still visits often, but she has lived for many years in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where a wild gray fox who comes into the garden at night is currently one of her muses.

Ed Howell was born and raised in the Boston area, the son of immigrant parents. Well, actually, they were from Canada, but you get the idea. He currently resides in the Lowertown area of Saint Paul.

Matt Jackson is thirty and has lived in Saint Paul his whole life. He owns rental property and so has a lot of free time. He spends it eating pho on University, drinking beer on Selby, and reading in the sun on Grand Avenue, accompanied by a cup of Earl Grey. Drop by and say hello.

Ann Iverson is a poet and artist who grew up in Saint Paul. She is the author of Come Now to The Window (Laurel Poetry Collective) and Definite Space (Holy Cow! Press). She is the dean of learning at Dunwoody College.

Katie Ka Vang is a Hmong American performance artist/actor/playwright/poet. She has performed on stages locally (Pillsbury House Theater, Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, Pangea World Theater, Mu Performing Arts, Intermedia Arts, Exposed Brick Theater, The Loft) and at conferences nationally in Florida, Wisconsin, and New York. She was a recipient of a Jerome Foundation Naked Stages grant, for which she used her poetry to create her first solo performance art piece 5:1 Meaning of Freedom; 6:2 Use of Sharpening, directed by Laurie Carlos. She was also awarded an Artist Initiative poetry grant through the Minnesota State Arts Board, with which she produced her first chapbook. As a new recipient of a Jerome Travel and Study grant, she will be interviewing Hmong dancers and choreographers for her next one-woman show. She’s currently working on a play as part of Mu Performing Art’s New Eyes Festival and will be holding workshops in creative drama through Center for Hmong Arts and Talent.

Kim Kankiewicz writes fundraising and marketing materials for nonprofit organizations and launched the Minnesota Bookshelf blog— www.minnesotabookshelf.com —dedicated to Minnesota books and readers, in 2009. She has written for Nebraska Public Radio, Denver’s alternative weekly paper, and other publications. Her family moved to the Twin Cities in 2007.

Linda Kantner is a Honda Rebel–riding writer who gets her kicks riding too fast and living to tell the story. She will publish her memoir, As Told To Me, if there is any justice in the world.

Karen Karsten is a life coach and continues to live in downtown Saint Paul, even though it is rumored that Minneapolis is much more exciting. She has come to consider reality as just one option for explaining the world, loves words, and delights in helping others find their own power.

Garrison Keillor is the host and writer of A Prairie Home Companion, the author of many books, including the Lake Wobegon novels and Daddy’s Girl, and the editor of Good Poems and Good Poems for Hard Times. His most recent publication is 77 Love Sonnets. His syndicated column, “The Old Scout,” is seen in papers coast to coast. A member of the Academy of American Arts and Letters, he lives in Saint Paul.

Dennis Kelly grew up in Saint Paul hopping trains on the Short Line, vaulting the fence at the State Fair, playing outdoor hockey at Dunning Field, and shooting pool at Sarge’s Billards.

Patricia Kirkpatrick lives in Saint Paul and teaches at Hamline University, where she edits poetry for Water-Stone Review. Her book of poetry is Century’s Road. Recent poems have appeared on Saint Paul sidewalks through the Everyday Poem Project and in the anthology The Poets’ Guide to Birds.

Hannah Kroonblawd spends nine months out of each year in Nebraska, two months in Idaho, and whatever time is left over in Minnesota. She misses the state of loons and lakes dreadfully at times, but knows that the land of sky blue waters will always be home.

Kathryn Kysar is the author of Dark Lake, a book of poetry, and the editor of Riding Shotgun: Women Write About Their Mothers. She grew up riding her banana bike around the Midway neighborhood and now rides a mountain bike with her children in the Highland Park area. Find out more about her work at www.kysar.com

Andrea Taylor Langworthy knows if she ever loses her column gigs for the Rosemount Town Pages and Minnesota Good Age newspapers, she can always write stories about the cast of characters she met in her nearly thirty years of selling cars in the Twin Cities area.

Keng Lee lives in Saint Paul. He is a very nice person. He went to high school at Highland Senior High.

Maxine Lightfoot was born in Indiana, and her full name is Maxine Indiana Lightfoot. She lives in Saint Paul and attends St. Anthony Park Elementary School. Her favorite color is turquoise, and if she had three wishes, they would be world peace, no animals would become extinct, and mosquitos wouldn’t bite. She is the oldest child in her family.

Steven Lukas moved to Minnesota from Nebraska in 1971 with his wife, Dianne. After a career as a CPA and chief financial officer for several medical device companies in the Twin Cities, he transitioned into semiretirement and teaches various graduate level courses in business. He enjoys writing, motorcycles, winter, and time with his family at their cabin on the North Shore.

Angela Mack at seven years old loved Wonder Woman. Her mom bought her a Wonder Woman swimsuit with gold bracelets and a cape. Angela believed she could fly. She dove from the couch to the loveseat and landed on her feet. Her flying powers got stronger, so she started jumping from the top of the bunk bed, making perfect landings. As her powers grew, so did her courage. She climbed onto the third floor window ledge. She could feel the wind blowing her cape, letting her know she was ready for take off: 3, 2, 1 . . . just then, her mom grabbed her, yelling “Girl, you cannot fly!”

Rick Mantley is a native of Denver by way of Los Angeles. He now calls the city of Saint Paul home. He writes, edits newspaper copy, videotapes, facilitates, and is a student of all the vagaries of human nature. He was delighted to be asked to contribute a piece to the 2010 Saint Paul Almanac partly because doing so was a labor of love and a paean to a city he has become quite attached to.

Donna Martin is a retired purchasing agent who has found great joy in documenting the Bernier Family Century Farm life stories, using vignettes to capture the essence of our ancestors’ heritage, beginning when Cyrille Bernier purchased and cleared land in 1890 and continuing on to current seventh-generation farmers.

Michael Maupin is a former educator, writer, and managing editor of Minnesota Law & Politics magazine. He has lived in Indianapolis, Washington, DC, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Iowa City, London, and Glasgow, but he calls Saint Paul home.

Jewel Hill Mayer was born and raised in Mississippi and came to Minnesota as a young bride in 1952. She considers herself a native. (Yah! You betcha!) She writes poetry, essays, novellas, and songs—accompanying herself on the autoharp—and is quite active in City Passport for people over fifty, living life to the fullest.

Rose McGee is a member of Women Who Really Cook. Her business, Deep Roots Gourmet Desserts™, features her own creations, Sweet Potato Pie and Mango Cobbler. She sells her products on select Saturdays at the Midtown Global Market and previously at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Her sweet potato pies were among ten Minnesota foods selected by Minnesota State Senator Amy Klobuchar for her reception in Washington, DC, during the 2009 Presidential inauguration. She is currently writing a delightful novel, Can’t Nobody Make A Sweet Potato Pie Like My Mama, a tribute to the history of the sacred dessert and an homage to the legacy of magnificent bakers embodied by her deceased grandmother.

James McKenzie got his first Saint Paul library card five years ago, when he retired here to the south from Grand Forks about the same time he began volunteering at the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT). He bikes to coffee shops every day, as far into the winter as possible, where he works on the great American autobiography.

David Mura has written three books of poetry: Angels for the Burning, The Colors of Desire, and After We Lost Our Way. He recently published a novel, Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire. If you don’t know who Chow Yun Fat is, go rent The Killers or Hardboiled.

Nora Murphy was born at St. Joe’s Hospital in downtown Saint Paul, was raised in Minneapolis, and now lives in Highland Park, just a few blocks from where her mom grew up. Check out Nora’s latest book, Knitting the Threads of Time, a knitting memoir and cultural history of women’s fiber arts, at www.nora-murphy.com — Nora is part of the Saratoga Studio A.M. Sunday Writers. They meet every other Sunday morning in a small studio above a garage in Saint Paul.

New Foundations Writers worked together as a group to write their poem. New Foundations is a nonprofit organization located on Saint Paul’s East Side that provides permanent, supportive, affordable housing and comprehensive on-site services for homeless dually diagnosed adults in recovery and their families.Together they create a housing community where adults achieve education and employment goals, strengthen families, build relationships, and contribute to the community.

Suzanne Nielsen strived for years to become Klondike Kate, and to this day practices sultry solos in the shower. In addition, she vied for Mudonna’s role for the Saints, but her height was a disadvantage. Today, Nielsen accepts her fate as a writer arguing with her characters and inevitably surrendering to their desires.

Loren Niemi is a storyteller, poet, performer, public policy consultant, and trainer who either has a short attention span or multiple converging interests. He is also author of The Book of Plots and coauthor, with Elizabeth Ellis, of Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking About Difficult Stories. Loren is part of the Saratoga Studio A.M. Sunday Writers. They meet every other Sunday morning in a small studio above a garage in Saint Paul.

Tim Nolan is a lawyer and poet in Minneapolis where he lives with his wife, Kate, and three teenage kids. Years ago, Tim lived in various apartments in Saint Paul, including one above the Animal Medical Clinic at St. Clair and Snelling, from which he ventured out often to the Clo-Spin Laundry.

Gordy Palzer’s quest to be a serious writer has continually been delayed by various calls to duty along the road of life. Over the years, he has kept his writing skills honed through the penning of countless personal letters and several published articles. Encouraged by having made it into Saint Paul Almanac,Gordy plans on further mining the rich mother lode of memories he has just scratched into with his piece on Crosby Lake.

November Paw (she was indeed born in November) is now a student at Roseville Area High School. She’s taking many mainstream classes like physical science and algebra. Recently, she was honored as student of the trimester! This summer, in her spare time, she hopes to learn Spanish, piano basics, anatomy, and how to be a good badminton player.

Margery Peterson is a writer/artist who has created a life in Saint Paul for many years.

Ron Peterson has been coaching November Paw and her sister December to learn English rapidly, using Rosetta Stone. He is the former chief technology officer of Honeywell, a community organizer, a doting grandfather, and has written a science fiction novel, Children’s Chrysalis.

Marcie Rendon, White Earth Anishinabe: Saint Paul was her first home in the urban area in the infamous Selby-Dale area of the late ’60s, early ’70s. American Indian Movement (AIM) and Marvin Gaye combined to raise her poetic awareness. Now the Sunday Saratoga poets help nudge her words onto the page. Marcie is published in many Native anthologies.

Steve Rouch has been creating images since 1971. He has been named master of photography and has won the Minnesota State Wedding album competition. He has had his work selected for a show at Epcot Center at Disneyworld. He has published three fine art photo books, a book of poetry, and a book of short stories. He is a singer-songwriter, performing around town, and holds a second-degree black belt in karate. Most important, he believes in being silly and marveling at the mystery and majesty of life.

Allison Rudolph is a ten year old who lives and plays in Saint Paul. On the weekends, you can find her at the History Center or munching on gumdrops at Candyland. She always has a smile on her face and an incredible zest for life. She has a love for creating art, writing, and playing her clarinet. Her favorite Saint Paul places are Carbone’s on Randolph and Artscraps. Her dream is to one day be a writer.

Mary Kay Rummel’s newest poetry book is Love in the End (Bright Hill Press, 2008.) Her other books of poetry are The Illuminations (Cherry Grove Collections, 2006), Green Journey Red Bird (Loonfeather Press, 2001), The Long Journey Into North (Juniper Press, 2000) and This Body She’s Entered (New Rivers Press, 1989) She lives in Fridley.

Maximilian Selim evolved from an ambitious student to a struggling, unemployed writer/filmmaker the moment he received his diploma from the University of Minnesota in spring of 2009. You may find Max at Dunning Field coaching the Saint Paul Central Baseball Team or playing for the Highland Park Amateur Baseball team in his spare time.

Jane Sevald, Saint Paul public school teacher, unprepared in September 2001 at forty-five to begin a career teaching English to teenage immigrants, will forever be grateful to Linda Kantner for giving her the courage to move away from the textbooks and embark on a journey of discovery with the students. Uncharted waters indeed!

Richard Shwe moved to Saint Paul with his wife and five sons in August 2008. Within his first year, he accomplished the three goals he had set for himself in English class: buy a car, move to a new apartment, and find a permanent job. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at the mechanic’s, getting his car fixed.

Andy Singer is a four-armed, six-eyed alien with large horns and powerful jaws. In 1965, he came from the planet Neptor to observe the earth and make small drawings of everything he saw. His multiple arms have enabled him to be very prolific and his multiple eyes have enabled him to see things that most humans are unaware of. If you see him riding his bicycle around Saint Paul, don’t be intimidated by his appearance. He’s really quite friendly. You can see more of his drawings and cartoons at www.andysinger.com

Julia Klatt Singer gave up wearing a watch while in Barcelona two years ago and has managed to find a few hours tucked in between the couch cushions and hidden between the changing months of the calendar. She has donated all of them to poetry. Julia is part of the Saratoga Studio A.M. Sunday Writers. They meet every other Sunday morning in a small studio above a garage in Saint Paul.

Su Smallen’s book Weight of Light was nominated for the Pushcart Press Editor’s Book Award. Her many honors include the Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize. Su Smallen is a frequent contributor to Saint Paul’s Water-Stone Review and teaches in the MFA programs of Hamline University.

Dennis Stern was a farm kid from western Wisconsin who moved here to teach seventh and eighth grade at St. Rose of Lima School in Roseville but he lost the job “because I was too liberal for the nuns and was dating one of the lay teachers.” He has worked in advertising for The Villager and Midway Monitor. He and wife, Mary Lee, have three sons who love playing disk golf with their “old man.”

Keith Sterner, a native of the East Side now living in Vadnais Heights, has a passion for family, nature, and the simple pleasures of life. He prefers the woods to the city, a storm to a clear sky, and a few close friends to a wide circle of friends. Always bring humor when you meet him.

Sain Thin arrived in Saint Paul on August 1, 2008, after living in a refugee camp in Thailand for three years. He has one beautiful daughter and a son who was born in April. He says that his son is good luck, since he was born the same day that Sain Thin got his first job in Minnesota.

Ellie Thorsgaard doesn’t like tornadoes, but she still likes to bike. Ellie attends Saint Paul Public Schools.

Sebastian Tippett is ten years old and attends St. Anthony Park Elementary School. He has an older sister and a mom and a dad. He likes to play sports. He plays football, baseball, soccer, and tennis. He also likes hanging with friends and sometimes writing.

Chuck Tompkins, a frequent visitor to the Saint Paul Hotel, is an independent insurance agent, author, and pilot. He and his wife, Linda, fly his Citation II into the downtown Saint Paul airport frequently. Tompkins is also the author of The Insurance Wars (2004)— www.theinsurancewars.com —a business novel.

Deborah A. Torraine has worked as an theater artist in the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, DC, and Minnesota. She is an award-winning short story author and has written five locally commissioned children’s plays. Deborah’s hobbies include making pudding out of bread and turning water into wine. Deborah speaks survivor French and Spanish. Her favorite sayings include “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.” But if you want to know what that trouble has been . . . buy the book.

Steve Trimble lives in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood on Saint Paul’s East Side. Steve has taught at local colleges and, while he has degrees in history, tries to write books and articles in a way that regular people will enjoy them—usually in local newspapers or in the Ramsey County History magazine. His house near Indian Mounds Park is filled with books and odd collections mostly garnered at garage sales.

Penny Ueltschi has lived in Saint Paul for most of her life, moving with her family from the East Side to Battle Creek to Highland Park, where she currently resides. Penny loves to write long letters to friends and family and is the official record keeper of family information.

Matthew Van Tassell resides in South Saint Paul. He enjoys spending time with his four children and fourteen grandchildren. He also spends time painting and writing. Since retiring from the army two decades ago, he has worked as a school bus driver. This has given him freedom, and it also pays the rent.

Robert Van Tassell knows the soul grows from life’s experiences. His formal education was in art at the University of Minnesota and then commercial art training. Robert has learned we are all teachers and students simultaneously. Two life experiences left him with that awareness. The first was teaching printmaking to second and fifth graders; the second was an independent study doing impressionist painting in Paris. His motto is that each day we should all be born-again virgins, experience life, and acknowledge our curiosity.

Diego Vázquez, Jr., wrote his first poem crossing the border with his legal guardian during a snowstorm in the desert. He rose to prominence as a poet last year when his poem was stuck in cement on the sidewalks of Saint Paul. www.diegovazquezjr.com — He is also part of the Saratoga Studio A.M. Sunday Writers. They meet every other Sunday morning in a small studio above a garage in Saint Paul.

Kathleen Vellenga grew up where dry air and lack of trees made clothes dryers redundant. Having lived in Saint Paul most of her adult life, she now cherishes trees, rivers, lakes, and humidity—but a walk down her alley will reveal her clothesline is not empty. She regrets failing to point this out in her campaign brochures while serving in the Minnesota state legislature.

Camille Verzal lives in Saint Paul. She has been writing in the corporate world for years but longs to earn a living as a screenwriter, short story writer, or children’s book author.

Greg Watson’s poetry has appeared in numerous literary reviews, as well as Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. His most recent collections are Things You Will Never See Again and The Distance Between Two Hands, both published by March Street Press. A new book, Not Elsewhere, But Here, is forthcoming. Born in Saint Paul, he currently resides in Mac-Groveland.

Annie Wilder is one of Penny’s many cousins on the Irish side of the family. Annie is the author of House of Spirits and Whispers, her account of living in a haunted house, and Spirits Out of Time, a collection of true family ghost stories.

Diane Wilson is a writer, walker, weeder, and waterer who claims to have taught her dog to whistle. Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past was awarded a Minnesota Book Award in 2006 for creative nonfiction, memoir, and autobiography. Diane is part of the Saratoga Studio A.M. Sunday Writers. They meet every other Sunday morning in a small studio above a garage in Saint Paul.

Andreesa Wright attends Rochester Community College and is majoring in communication studies.

Alcides Andreas Xiong is a person who comes from nowhere. He is a wonderful person who makes all things seem happy, a person who came to the United States to be your friend. He is a person who came from a little town in Argentina to the best place in the world.

Chong Xiong was born in Ban Vinai refugee camp in Thailand. She came to the United States with her family in 2004 and lived in Rhode Island for a year and a half before moving to Minnesota. Although she enjoys the many support services that Minnesota offers for refugees, she misses ocean beaches, which are sorely lacking in Minnesota. In her free time, Chong enjoys going to the zoo and playing hide-and-seek with her children.

Lily Kaliea Yang used to live in California, but now she lives in Saint Paul. Lily attends Saint Paul Public Schools.