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May is springing up all over with great book events!

Let go of your secrets
Let go of your secrets

Yes, we had to wait longer this year. But let’s not beat that dead horse any more than it already has been beaten. Let’s just get out and enjoy a slew of fun, creative events!

Wednesday, May 8, 7:00 pm
Birchbark Books Reading Series
Lake of the Isles Lutheran Church, 2020 W Lake of the Isles Pkwy, Minneapolis
Birchbark was recently named by Robert Bly as ‘the best’ indie bookstore. And it’s not exclusive. You can go there too. As many of you know, they have been shuffling around to different locations since the Kenwood Café closed. So please do come out and support this eclectic reading series. This month’s program will feature Al Hunter and Friends. Al is a spoken word performer and author of three books of poetry. He is a member of the Rainy River First Nations, and will be joined by Marcie Rendon and Heid Erdrich, who will read from Sing, Poetry from the Indigenous Americas. Curated by Michael Kiesow Moore.

Also May 8:
Literary Death Match, 8:00 pm doors, show at 9:00 pm
Nomad World Pub, 501 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis
For those of you who want something a little more, shall we say, raucous, try this. This series, which visits cities around the world, loves Minneapolis (this is Episode 9 here and we were LDM’s City of the Year in 2011), and it’s always a great show. This edition will feature Jay Gabler, Christy Marie Kent, Allegra Lingo and Sally Franson, and will be judged by Ed Bok Lee, Robyne Robinson and Lorna Landvik. Nerf guns, musical chairs, trivia quizzes – you never know what you’ll find. Hosted by creator Adrian Todd Zuniga, produced by Sarah Moeding. Tickets are $7 in advance (through today only) or $10 at the door.

Saturday, May 11, 8pm – 1am
Revolver event {confess}
Thorpe Building, 1620 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis
Every story is a confession. Revolver returns again, this time to explore the art of oral storytelling. That’s right, there’s no print issue for sale. This event description could read like one of those from Stephan on SNL. It’s got everything. It’s an art exhibit, it’s a literary event, it’s a dance party. Work from St. Paul artist Chris Larson, the premier of an audio-visual exhibit “We Are All Criminals” from artist/attorney Emily Baxter, Revolver’s literary content transformed into multimedia experiences, installation art, and more. Dance party starts at 10:30 with the rockin’ DJ Shannon Blowtorch. Co-sponsored by Red Stag Supperclub, Rogue Arc, Summit Brewing and the Historic Thorpe Building. A portion of proceeds (75%) from beer sales will go to Rock Star Supply Co., which supports education for at-risk teens. Ten dollar cover charge at the door. And worth every penny. Tell your story at confess.

Tuesday, May 14, 5pm – 7pm
MNPub TweetUp
Chatterbox Pub, 800 Cleveland Ave, St. Paul
I am so there. This is always a fun time, and sure to be even more so since everyone will be all giddy from the sheer lack of snow in our world. It’s all about writers, publishing folk of all stripes, and those who like them. Now, be sure to know: this is not a club, it is not a membership thing, there are no fees, you don’t even have to RSVP. Just show up, even if you don’t know if you will know anyone else there. Even if you can only go once a year, just go. You will always meet someone, you will always make a new connection. And you don’t really *have* to be on Twitter. It’s open that way. Put on a name tag and enjoy. Step into a conversation. Sponsored by Minnesota Book Publishers Roundtable, because they like to have fun too.

Saturday, May 18, 11:00 am
Mississippi River Poetry Contest
Harriet Island Grounds and Pavilion, Saint Paul
What could be more quintessentially Saint Paulish than a poetry contest concerning the Mississippi River? This is a reading masquerading as a homage masquerading as a contest. It’s all three. Join poets Kris Bigalk, Kirsten Dierking, Robert Grunst, Julia Klatt Singer, and Francine Marie Tolf as they read their poems about the Mississippi River and other work in order to be selected as ‘bard of the Mississippi River’ by ArtStart, as part of the EcoArts Fest.

Tuesday, May 21, 7:30pm
Readings by Writers/Third Tuesday Readings
University Club, 420 Summit Ave, St. Paul
This month’s incarnation of this stellar series will include music by Violinist Mary Scallen and Flutist Jim Miller, to set the mood. Then short readings by Caroline Giles Banks, Norita Ditberner Jax, Todd Boss, Kate Hallet Dayton, Diane Jarvenpa, Matt Mauch, and Patricia Kirkpatrick. Marcus Young, Saint Paul City Artist in Residence, will announce the final choices of the 2013 Sidewalk Poetry contest. I cannot tell you how inspiring this series can be. Just go. Readings last about an hour, the bar is open, and books will be for sale. If you’d like to go early for dinner, call for reservations (651-222-1751) and say you are there for Poetry Night. No need to be a member of the Club. Curated and hosted by the incomparable Carol Connolly.

Wednesday, May 29, 7:00 pm
New and Nearby Reading Series
Trotter’s Café, 232 N. Cleveland
This monthly series, moderated by James Rogers, closes out the season with a reading by local resident Scott Banas. He has published poems in each of the three chapbooks published by this series. His poems evoke place and family. Come early and have a bite to eat.

Huh, I know what I’m doing this month, at least on several occasions. You can go out, get inspired, and then sit outside somewhere and write your own masterpiece. Or paint. Or take photos or make children happy or do whatever it is you do that brings goodness into the world. But it really does help when you get out and share that vibe with others. Go on, you know you want to.

I should say here that I often have qualms about going to an event. I always think I have too much to do elsewhere. But I have never – NEVER – been sorry, not once. Often quite the opposite. And if one of these doesn’t grab you, check out the Rain Taxi Twin Cities Literary Calendar. There are a TON of readings with authors of all stripes this month. You are sure to find something there.

And you know what? I'd LOVE to hear your comments below - events that you've been to, what you love about the Twin Cities Literary community, things you'd like to see covered here. Don't just read - read and do! And thanks for all that.


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