past readings

2019 Rain Taxi Readings

Tessa Hadley

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!


Claudia Keelan

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.


Don Cummings

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).


Carolyn Forché

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!


Independent Bookstore Day

Saturday, April 27, 2019

See the recap and winners here!


Cherríe Moraga

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!


Jessica Abel

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.


Print Matters

Saturday, June 8, 2019, The Hook & Ladder Theater, Minneapolis


Steve Healey & Daniel Borzutzky

Saturday, September 14, 2019, The Hook & Ladder Theater, Minneapolis

A packed house came out to celebrate the book launch of local poet Steve Healey's Safe Houses I Have Known. Healey was joined by Chicago poet and translator Daniel Borzutzky, author of the recent Lake Michigan. Together, the two poets delivered stirring readings, evoking family secrets, patriarchal angst, and political/economic violence.


Amitav Ghosh

Thursday, September 26, 2019, Grace-Trinity Community Church

Award-winning author of the best-selling Ibis trilogy made his first appearance in Minneapolis on the occasion of his newest novel, Gun Island, a folkloric adventure novel about family and heritage. Ghosh read from his book and engaged with audience members on many topics, including his activism in the global warming threat.


John Freeman

with Wang Ping, David Mura, Chris Martin, and Hawona Sullivan Janzen

Wednesday, November 20, 2019, Magers & Quinn Booksellers

John Freeman — literary critic, editor, and poet, read from his new book of lyrical essays, Dictionary of the Undoing. He talked about literary activism that provide positive answers to the current political stresses. Freeman was joined by local poet-activists Wang Ping, David Mura, Chris Martin, and Hawona Sullivan Janzen, who discussed how poetry in particular creates community and draws in a multiplicity of voices.

1998 Rain Taxi Readings

Arthur Sze

Weinstein Gallery — May 3, 1998

At our inaugural event, poet Arthur Sze dazzled an audience of nearly 80 people, reading selections from his forthcoming collected poems as well as translations from the Chinese of Wang Wei. Reading with Sze were local writers Sarah Fox and Melissa Olson.

Victor Hernández Cruz

CreArté Chicano and Latino Arts Center — July 12, 1998

The legendary Puerto Rican poet performed a dynamic suite of selections from his work; reading with him were local writers e.g. bailey and Liz Cruz-Smith.

Rikki Ducornet

No Name Exhibitions at the Soap Factory — September 27, 1998

The Nation has called Ducornet “one of the most interesting American writers around,” and we couldn't agree more. Emerging from an installation of pampas grass she read stories of Egypt. Local writers Fred Schmalz and Juliette Patterson opened with poems.

Clayton Eshleman

Weinstein Gallery — December 6, 1998

The acclaimed poet, translator, and Sulfur editor read from From Scratch, his latest book of poems, together with local writer Joanna Rawson, whose first book Quarry had just been released.

Poetry Tarot at Northern Spark 2014

It was a dark and stormy night on June 14, perfect for Poetry Tarot at Northern Spark! Hundreds of revelers, seeking shelter from the rain, made the journey to the 8th floor gallery to have their fortunes told and written in the form of a poem. The spooky setting lit only by electric flames and lightning put people in the mood for some relaxed sooth saying. Poets Paula Cisewski, Paul Dickinson, Sarah Fox, Ed Bok Lee, Eric Lorberer, Roseanne Wasserman, and Dara Wier communed with the spirits to craft poetic fortunes for the lucky, patient few.

It was a dark and stormy night . . .

It was a dark and stormy night . . .

Poet Dara Wier communes with the spirits in preparation.

Poet Dara Wier communes with the spirits in preparation.

Roseanne Wasserman, Ed Bok Lee, and Dara Wier read the cards.

Roseanne Wasserman, Ed Bok Lee, and Dara Wier read the cards.

Roseanne Wasserman gives a lively reading.

Roseanne Wasserman gives a lively reading.

Paul Dickinson, Eric Lorberer, and Paula Cisewski read the cards.

Paul Dickinson, Eric Lorberer, and Paula Cisewski read the cards.

What do they say?

What do they say?

Sarah Fox invited the spirits to join.

Sarah Fox invited the spirits to join.

poem from poetry tarot

A poetic fortune from Poetry Tarot


Sunday, November 10, 7:00pm

Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College
130 South Macalester Street, St Paul

The Rain Taxi Reading Series presents noted poet Brenda Hillman reading from her latest collection, Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire (Wesleyan University Press), longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award. With fire as the metaphor for financial breakdown, environmental crisis, and social justice, the book is the final volume of Hillman's extraordinary series on the elements, and merges the political and the personal to summon us all to action. Hillman last read in the Rain Taxi Reading Series in 2002, when the first volume of this series,Cascadia, was published; we are thrilled to have her here again upon its conclusion! This event is cosponsored by the College of Saint Benedict Literary Arts Institute and the English Department at Macalester College. Reception to follow!

"Linguistically, spatially, politically, emotionally, Brenda Hillman's brilliant poems are some of the most thrilling poems we have. . . Each line, each poem, each book, extraordinarily fresh and original, is minted alive before our eyes." —Sharon Olds