Staff file photo by Brian Peterson

Staff file photo by Brian Peterson

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.

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