I caught the final reading for the 2014 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Writers recipients early in September, as this year’s fellows – Susanne Aspley, Susan Power, Shannon Gibney and Josh Ostergaard for creative prose and Kelly Barnhill for children’s literature – have begun to hold readings as fellows as part of the Loft’s McKnight series.
Two facts stood out to me about the 2014 fellows: they – Carolyn Williams-Noren, Danez Smith, Sierra DeMulder, and Sun Yung Shin – were all poets, and they all were marginalized voices, if not in terms of gender, then by race or sexual orientation or multiple intersections.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Shin.
Some background about her work: Shin’s pieces takes the forms of lists and entries, poetry that is formal to the point of being disorienting. I first prepared by reading her poetry to see what the written word captures that the spoken word could not. I found poems shaped to resemble dictionary entries or other factual things, poems with shapes a reader could feel. Brackets, columns, dashes or dashes mark off the unusual space these poems occupy, spaces with unusual rules. Some cultural references, like workings of the Korean writing system, are explained. Others are not.
On a rainy, cool day Ha Tien is a warm and welcoming site. The shelves are lined with colorful products, and the aroma coming from their deli – roasted pork and pepper shrimp – is intoxicating. It’s been over a year since the Daily Planet last stopped in to Ha Tien Market. In that time, much has changed around the grocery store, located at 353 University Ave. The Green Line has been completed, construction has ended, and things are starting to settle down into a new normal. But according to Ne Dao, proud co-owner with her husband Son, that new normal may not be for the better.
Standing in the midst of their root vegetable section, we discussed how the Green Line had affected their business. Did it bring in new customers? Was it easier for old customers to reach the Market? To my surprise, Ne spoke critically of the light rail station that sits in front of her business.
The Minnesota Women’s Press published a feature profiling the ways the new women leading Minneapolis’ NAACP chapter are taking a fresh approach that combines activism and policy-making. Revitalizing a venerable organization takes bulldog determination, says Nekima Levy-Pounds, the new president of the Minneapolis NAACP. That’s exactly the quality the organization’s first all- female elected board of directors has in abundance.
“I learned about Palestine through stories, like a fairy tale,” one of the interviewees reminisced in the live-action-and-mixed-animation documentary, “The Wanted 18,” about a Palestinian town’s quest for self-determination at the beginning of the intifada and the absurd lengths the Israeli government and military went through to stop it, featured at Mizna’s 10th annual Arab Film Fest (AFF) at the St. Anthony Main Theatre earlier this month.