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ICYMI: April literary events – part deux

Leontia Flynn, 17th recipient of the O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry
Leontia Flynn, 17th recipient of the O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry

Well, apparently I missed some things! Minutes after posting my first event round-up this month, I received notices of other items I should have included. (At least that tells me folks are reading!) And here they are, the second half of the second half of April literary events! This is not to exclude the initial listing of events, so the dates do overlap a bit.

Monday, April 15
Literary Witnesses presents Zen poet Jane Hirshfield, 7:00 pm
Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave
Prize-winning poet, translator and essayist Jane Hirshfield will join the ranks of writers featured in this august series curated by James Lenfestey. Hirshfield is the author of seven poetry collections, and in 2004 was awarded the 70th Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by The Academy of American Poets, an honor previously held by such poets as Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Elizabeth Bishop. This event is co-sponsored by the Loft Literary Center and Rain Taxi Review of Books. There is plenty of free parking, and the event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, April 17
WordLab, 7-8:30 pm
MCAD Main Gallery, 2501 Stevens Ave S, Minneapolis
This new reading series explores the latest experiments in creative writing. Curated by award-winning poet Lightsey Darst, it features writers reading in five-minute slots. Anyone can sign up for the open mic, which goes from 7 to 7:30. Featured readers begin at 7:30, and this month will include Jeffrey Skemp, Sun Yung Shin and Andy Sturdevant. Free and open to anyone.

Thursday, April 25
Two Poets Talk Connections, 7:00 pm
University Club, 420 Summit, Saint Paul
In this evening of conversation, poet Dobby Gibson will converse with Leontia Flynn, as part of the celebration of her O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry. Their conversation will center around “Wireless Connections: How Poetry Communicates.” Gibson is the author of three books of poetry, all published by Graywolf Press, and has twice been a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. Presented by the University of St. Thomas Center for Irish Studies and the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Free and open to the public.


Friday, April 26
O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry Reading, 7:30 pm
OEC Auditorium, UST, Saint Paul campus
Poet Leontia Flynn of Belfast, Northern Ireland, is the recipient of the 17th annual Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry. She will read from her work at this event on the main campus of UST in the auditorium of the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center. Flynn has published two books of poetry and is currently a research fellow at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry in Belfast. The Poetry Award carries a $5,000 prize and was established in 1997. It honors Irish poets; previous prizes have gone to Theo Dorgan, Leanne O’Sullivan and Gerard Smyth, among others. This event is free and open to the public.

Presented by the University of St. Thomas Center for Irish Studies and the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. For more information on these two events, visit the website of the Center for Irish Studies.

Monday, April 29
Pundamonium! The Twin Cities Pun Slam, 8:00 pm
The Republic – Seven Corners 221 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis
What a cool, fun idea. Get people thinking. It’s a simple premise: 20 players are given a prompt, and then have thirty seconds – just thirty seconds! – to come up with a pun and two minutes to execute the pun. They will be judged by five audience members. There will be prizes! Admission is $4 for students, $6 for everyone else. Sponsored by the Loft Literary Center. Organized by Art Allen, who says that puns are alivelicious.

And you know, if you do attend any of these or the myriad other literary events going on around the Twin Cities, you should leave your recap on It’s all about the events, everything and then some. And if none of the above grab you, just check out the Twin Cities Literary Calendar put up by Rain Taxi – you are sure to find something you like! Of course, I'd always welcome your comments below.

Since there are so many event listings now, I am toying with the idea of giving up this column altogether. I’ve found it a great forum for getting to meet people and find out more about the great Twin Cities literary community – doing profiles on bookstores, publishers and authors, reviewing books and just plain getting to talk about books. I have heard many people say that they like these event round-ups, but the numbers just aren’t there. If you do like this, please do share it with those whom you think might be interested. It takes a lot of time to put this together, and I'd love to share it with more people. So if you enjoy the profiles, reviews, round-ups and event talk, please let me know. Many thanks.

I do aim to cover The Twin Cities for bookish sorts!


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