in conversation with Curtis Sittenfeld
Thursday, January 24, 2019, Magers & Quinn Booksellers
British author Tessa Hadley and newly-local author Curtis Sittenfeld had a lively discussion about Hadley's new novel, Late in the Day, as well as writing habits, novels vs. short stories, and much more before a packed crowd on a chilly winter night.
Minnesota Celebrates Robert Bly
Monday, February 11, 2019, Plymouth Congregational Church
While the 92-year old Robert Bly was, as event curator and emcee Jim Lenfestey put it, “sensibly at home in his pajamas,” over 30 voices filled Plymouth Congregational Church to celebrate the publication of his Collected Poems. Individual poems were read by several members of the Bly family (Bridgit, Noah, Emily, Max, Isaac, and David), the heads of local literary organizations (Rain Taxi’s Eric Lorberer, The Loft’s Britt Udesen, and the Anderson Center’s Stephanie Anderson), and many poets and artists connected to Bly’s work (Michael Dennis Brown, George Dubie, Mary Moore Easter, Mike Hazard, Ezra Hyland, Louis Jenkins, Robert Johnson, Patricia Kirkpatrick, Freya Manfred, Jim Moore, Bly & Rowan Pope, Josh Preston, Matt Rasmussen, George Roberts, Thomas R. Smith, Warren Woessner, and Tim Young). The event also included a brief history by Bly’s official biographer Mark Gustafson; charming anecdotes by his longtime friend and co-editor of The Fifties William Duffy; music by flautist Peter Skjervold; recordings of poetry readings by Robert and Ruth Bly; and the publication of a broadside created by Gaylord Schanilec and Hans Koch. It was an exhilarating event. Happy Collected Poems, Robert!
Thursday, March 7, 2019, Common Good Books
Poet Claudia Keelan entranced with a reading from her selected and new collection, We Step Into the Sea, along with some selections from her translations of poems by women troubadours from Truth of My Songs: Poems of the Trobairitz, with the help of audience members. Keelan was joined by local poet Chris Santiago, who warmed up the crowd with poems from his recent book, Tula.
Ed Bok Lee
Saturday, March 16, 2019, Plymouth Congregational Church
A splendid time was had by an overflowing crowd at the book launch for Ed Bok Lee’s Mitochondrial Night, with DJ Nak providing music and opening poets Saymoukda Vongsay and Donte Collins helping to kick things off. The event, free and open to the public, was co-sponsored by Literary Witnesses, Rain Taxi Review of Books and Korean Quarterly.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019, Honey
LA playwright Don Cummings presented his new memoir, Bent But Not Broken, with panache, humor, and music! He was joined onstage by local actors Mo Perry and Craig Johnson, who portrayed members of the medical establishment as Cummings documented in hilarious detail his experience with a serious medical malady, Peyronie's Disease. Did it get him down? No, it did not! Don also performed an original ballad, and guests were entertained by the Debbie Briggs Vintage Jazz Combo, featuring Briggs (vocals), Jeffrey Sugerman (upright bass), Sam Kjellberg (percussion), and Bernie Wollenberg (keys).
Friday, April 26, 2019, Plymouth Congregational Church
Poet Carolyn Forché held the audience under a spell as she recounted her experiences in late-’70s El Salvador, a witness to the death squads and horrific events leading up to the war. Her new riveting memoir, What You Have Heard Is True, details this moment in history, and everyone present felt that they were there with her. Forché was joined by Rain Taxi editor Eric Lorberer to discuss her work. A limited-edition signed broadside of an excerpt from her book was created for this event, and is available for purchase. See here for details!
Saturday, April 27, 2019
Thursday, May 2, 2019, Hook and Ladder Theater, Mission Room
An adoring crowd warmly welcomed author and activist Cherríe Moraga as she presented her new memoir, Native Country of the Heart. She was joined on stage by Alexis Pauline Gumbs for a lively discussion of her work and impact on the queer and Xicana communities.
Andri Snær Magnason
Sunday, May 5, 2019, Open Book, Minneapolis
Icelandic author and eco-activist Andri Snær Magnason discussed his wide-ranging work with Rain Taxi editor Eric Lorberer, including his newest novel The Casket of Time. His work bringing awareness to the calamities of climate change brought him close to winning the 2016 Iceland presidential election. He continues his activism through his talks and writings. View a recording of this talk HERE!
Wednesday, May 22, 2019, Parkway Theater, Minneapolis
Champion of comics and creativity, Jessica Abel gave a presentation about the making of her new comic, Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars. She also sat down with Eric Lorberer to discuss her work as a comics artist and maven of creative steadfastness. This event was part of a Symposium on Meme Culture and Comics. Earlier in the day, a group of cartoonists, illustrators, storytellers, and a publisher gathered at Moon Palace Bookstore to discuss and make sense of current trends and speculate on future directions of comics in the digital age. Participants included: Shannon Wright, Blue Delliquanti, and Greg Hunter, moderated by Caitlin Skaalrud.