Minnesota Literacy Council and The Loft Literary Center partner to help more Minnesotans learn to read

One thing that I love about working for a nonprofit are the opportunities for collaboration—with other types of arts, other organizations, new communities. There is no possible end in sight for projects bred of new ideas when there are a wealth of people who want to help make it happen. The big news this week is that the Loft Literary Center (the nonprofit where I work) has received a grant from the United Arts Fund and Traveler’s Arts and Diversity Committee that will help them to further collaborate with the Minnesota Literacy Council, an organization established in 1972 that to this day provides free adult basic education classes for immigrants, refugees, and lifelong Minnesotans. Continue Reading

Thirty Two Magazine: Minnesota as seen from the outside in and the inside out

I’ve met Katie Eggers, founder of Thirty Two (“The New Twin Cities Magazine”), a total of three times now, and each time that we speak about her burgeoning American dream, what she’s trying to accomplish, and her amazing outlook on the Twin Cities and what they can become, I feel more inspired by and terrified for her. Is her vision ready for the world? Is the world ready for her vision? Can the world just for once turn out to be a place where dreams do come true and print media can rise from the dead? I don’t know, but my fingers are crossed. Continue Reading

Bloomday ennui: Who’s Minnesota’s fictional hero?

This week, my in-laws are in town from the suburbs of Philadelphia. While both of them are always very impressed with the Twin Cities in general, the glowing reviews they hear from my husband and me about the art and literary segments of the community have exceptionally wowed them. However, it being mid-June for this visit, my more-Irish-than-not in-laws looked at me with fretful curiosity and asked what this literary city is doing for Bloomsday on Saturday, June 16. Continue Reading

What I’ve been reading—and what you should be reading too (I mean, if you want to or whatever)

If there’s one question I get asked more than any other in these here Twin Cities it’s some iteration of, “Where do you find the time for everything?” To that I usually respond with the number of hours I still find to play Call of Duty, or I quote speed-addicted Liv Tyler from Empire Records, noting that “there’s 24 usable hours in every day.” While I’m content to be perfectly flip about the irrational amount of time that I pour into my passions each week (and yes, Call of Duty falls under that umbrella), I find myself feeling a little sad about the amount of time I have left over for pleasure reading. Continue Reading

Sic Semper Serpent: An ambitious new literary organization

While the Twin Cities are always considerably bookish (obvs.) there’s something in the air this spring that’s making publications, events, and organizations breed like crazy. Just in June alone the Twin Cities are booked with events launching the Whole Beast Rag, Double Barrel magazine, and Thirty Two magazine, not to mention that Northern Spark is bringing it with literary events from Rain Taxi, as well as the Loft and Paper Darts (both places where I work) and heck, even the Literary Death Match is coming back for sevenths! I mean, holy dang, is this city is insatiable when it comes to words and nerds or what? Continue Reading

Local comic finds at SpringCon

This past weekend I had the distinct pleasure of tabling at SpringCon for The Loft Literary Center (where I work as marketing coordinator). SpringCon is one of two annual comic book expos that the Midwest Comic Book Association (the other MCBA) plans and holds at the State Fairgrounds in St. Paul. Each year, more than a thousand comics fans flock to the State Fairgrounds to meet artists, look for rare issues, and sell their own art. This coming FallCon—the other yearly comic celebration (a.k.a. the One Day Wonder)—will mark the 25th anniversary of these events. Full of regional comic book dealers, artists, organizations, novelties, guest creator panels, and props, SpringCon is two full days of book hunting and people watching. Continue Reading

Talking with poet and naturalist John Caddy, winner of the 2012 McKnight Distinguished Artist Award

One thing about Minnesota that’s so amazing is that, without much effort or thought, one’s time can be split evenly between a creative urban environment and a wondrous wilderness. It’s also the kind of place where someone like me, who hasn’t even been camping since I was a teenager, has the opportunity to talk to one of the most talented and passionate contemporary nature writers. Continue Reading

Luke Marcott’s “Filmpocalypse,” a.k.a. “Filmzilla: The Novella”

I recently received a lovely thing in the mail—the first book from Cloud City Press. As the editorial director of Paper Darts I get to read a whole lot of work from young, up-and-coming writers. Generally, though pleasurable, this type of reading is not for pleasure; I’m reading it to decide whether or not it should be published with Paper Darts. It was nice, for a change, to sit back and read the early work of a writer just for kicks, and not have to make any decisions about it’s merit in terms of whether or not I believe it to be “ready” for publication, because the author made that decision already and published it himself. Boom. Continue Reading

2012 Minnesota Book Awards: Local literary luminaries lionized

On April 14, Meghan Murphy (editor-in-chief of Paper Darts) and I were delighted to attend the 24th annual Minnesota Book Awards, at the Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront Hotel. The event is presented each year through a partnership between the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the St. Paul Public Library itself, and the city of St. Paul. The gala celebration this year comprised three parts: a reception where guests were invited to mingle, order drinks from the cash bar, and buy books for the finalists autograph; the awards ceremony itself; and a post-gala party. Of all three, the post-gala party was by far my favorite in terms of socializing and people-watching—by the time we left some teens and parents were grooving heartily to music by the Endband (a trio with members from Cloud Cult and Seymore Saves the World), who were really bringing the noise in the best way possible. Continue Reading