Cracked Walnut: A monthlong literary reading crawl in the Twin Cities

Since March 18, Cracked Walnut has been presenting 20 literary readings across the metro area, and one reading in Duluth. These readings feature a mixture of over 50 poets and prose artists. The series will conclude on April 12 at Cafe Bene in St. Paul.Cracked Walnut founder Satish Jayaraj started the program as a means of bringing literary readings into unusual locations within different communities. In the past, they’ve presented readings in a funeral parlor, a grocery store, and a public park. Continue Reading

CENTRAL CORRIDOR VOICES | July: A poem

Just one more dayA yellow daisy dayA too hot sidewalk, barefoot dayA last mosquito dayA sunset at the beach dayOne scorcher day to hold midwinterAt bayMarcie 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 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.Coverage of issues and events affecting Central Corridor communities is funded in part by a grant from the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. Continue Reading

CENTRAL CORRIDOR VOICES | University Ave: A poem

“Pho all the way around,”The leather jacket boy saysWhile the girls compare nail polish.The steaming bowlsWith plump shrimp swimmingBetween the transparent noodlesAnd beef slices arrive. ThenThe click of chopsticks,The happy slurp from spoons.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, which meets every other Sunday morning in a small studio above a garage in St. Paul.Coverage of issues and events affecting Central Corridor communities is funded in part by a grant from the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. Continue Reading

CENTRAL CORRIDOR VOICES | River prayer: A poem

The old man was not really in a rowboatunder the Mississippi River bridge.He was in the process of turninginside himself, as we all will do one day.Inside, he was finalizing the finishedand unfinished business of his life.I just made up the part about him in a rowboat,fishing being some of his best times.In the rowboat, he tied a hook on a line,fashioned a slab of plywood into an oar,nailed, plugged, chopped, and weldedall the materials of his backbreaking years.This was great work for him and his facewas pinched with effort. Beads of sweatglinted on his forehead as he gently laideach of the items back into the waterfrom which they came, I imagine. The riverwas grateful and in return rocked himin its faithful current downstreamtoward home,which was a warm house filled with sistersand all his old friends and Ma right there.There, baking bread in the wood stovefrom a recipe in her head.Linda Back McKay is a St.-Paul-born writer and teaching artist. Her books include Choppers (youth nonfiction), Ride That Full Tilt Boogie (poems), Iron Horse Cowgirls: Around the World with Women Bikers, and Shadow Mothers: Stories of Adoption and Reunion (both nonfiction). She lives in (gasp) Minneapolis.Coverage of issues and events affecting Central Corridor communities is funded in part by a grant from the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. Continue Reading

CENTRAL CORRIDOR VOICES | “April,” a poem

nature abhorstaxationas does thepopulace,yet rain showersand sunshineblend well this monthas do last minuteimportantimaginativedeductionsthat give usa running chanceto refundourselves.Diego Vázquez Jr. writes poems to flowers, birds, rocks, rivers, salmon, and people, too! Vázquez’s stories were included in Twelve Branches, and his novels include Growing through the Ugly and The Fat-Brush Painter. You might meet him in your school through a COMPAS residency. He is proud to have his poem stuck in cement (in a Saint Paul sidewalk).Coverage of issues and events affecting Central Corridor communities is funded in part by a grant from the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. Continue Reading

Eighth graders and poetry, then and now

Tonight we photographed more authors for a feature that will be published about our Irrigate Arts-funded projects “Lowertown Voices” and “University Avenue Voices.” The two projects consist of 14 large scale posters and one 200-square-foot banner that have been installed at various points along the light rail corridor. The posters and banners feature excerpts from stories originally published in The Saint Paul Almanac. Continue Reading