Read it and weep, St. Paul. Linden Hills poet Elissa Cottle has started a bimonthly reading series in art galleries, but only in Southwest Minneapolis. This is partly because she is too time-deprived (like many of us) for "schlepping all the way out to St. Paul, or wherever," whenever she's hungry for literature. (This quote is from an interview with patch.com.) Hmph. Well, then, St. Paul will simply have to come to her.
Since last fall, every few weeks she has gathered up four or five writers, found a welcoming gallery, and curated what might be called a lovely salon. In June, she and four writers will be at Simply Jane Open-Art Studio on 54th and Nicollet.
The event begins at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, and you can listen to George Roberts, Cottle's first writing teacher and the author of "the blessing of winter rain." (That lower-case title is his, not mine.) Also, Margaret Hasse, author of "Milk and Tides," which won a Midwest Book Award. Also, Paul Mattes, a poet and memoirist. And also Monika Deinard, who writes flash fiction and likes to ride her bike. Appetizers and beverages to follow.
It's all free, and it sounds most pleasant. Oh, and Gwendolyn? There isn't one. Cottle just likes the lyrical name.
To be considered for the Aug. 14 reading at Uniquely Yours gallery, e-mail one page of your best writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, and here's an update from the previous blog entry, about the overnight reading sponsored by Rain Taxi Review. If you're a writer, and you're interested in taking part, send an email to the folks at Rain Taxi to get a time slot. They have openings from 3 to 4 a.m., and from 4 to 5 a.m. Good luck and don't forget the no-doz.
We don't exactly have white nights here in Minnesota, but the Northern Spark Festival will do its best to light up your night, from sundown on June 4 until dawn on June 5.
To learn about the scope of the festival--which will stretch from Minneapolis to St. Paul (or from St. Paul to Minneapolis, if you prefer) along the Mississippi River--you should click on the link. above. There's more planned than I can go into here, and since this is a books blog, I'm only going to focus on one small part of it all: the bedtime stories at Walker Art Center (and sponsored by Rain Taxi Review of Books).
Beginning at 3 a.m. and ending at dawn--right around 5:30 a.m.--poets, songsters, writers and comedians will read or recite in small groups scattered across the Open Field at Walker Art Center. (The Walker's contribution to the festival, Nightshift, includes many other events, including later gallery hours, lullabyes, and stargazing.)
Each bedtime story will last just ten minutes. (Wouldn't want to put anyone to sleep, you know. Too much to do!) So far, nearly a dozen writers have agreed to forego sleep and entertain the sleepy, arty crowd--Valerie Deus,Gabrielle Civil,Terri Ford,Catherine Lundoff, John Colburn,Paula Cisewski,Gary Dop,Ute Bertog and Will Alexander--with more to come.
What will they read? What would you read at 4 a.m.? Susan Marie Swanson's "The House in the Night"? Joyce Sidman's "Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night"? Or something creepier, maybe--a little Dracula, a little "Twilight"? Too obvious? Maybe your own fevered journal entries, jotted down by the light of a full moon?
Come and see. The whole thing evaporates at dawn, with the arrival of the sun, and doughnuts.
One of the joys of being a subscriber to Granta is seeing, with each issue, what theme the literary journal is going to tackle this time. Themed issues began in 1979, under editor Bill Buford, and they have been both eclectic ("What Young Men Do") and frank ("Losers").
The themes continued when John Freeman took over a few years back,and the most frankly-themed issue of all ("Sex") was a best-seller. And now we have "The F Word," which is not what you might think it is.
The newest issue of Granta tackles feminism, and it plunges right into the topic with pieces by Francine Prose, A.S. Byatt, and Edwidge Danticat. Eudory Welty is in here, too. So is Louise Erdrich.
"The Ojibwe Week," Erdrich's offering, is from her novel "The Antelope's Wife," which, according to the contributors' notes,is forthcoming in a newly revised edition.
The folks at Granta have created three short films, inspired by three of the pieces. One film, inspired by Helen Simpson's "Night Thoughts," is posted on the Granta website. I can't link to it here because this is a family newspaper and the film is mildly -- well, imagine what you might be thinking about when you're lying awake at 3 a.m. and there you have it, darkness and all.
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