Class: Writing Peace Into Your Life

How do you hold light in the darkness? Can “peace” be such a light, and if so how? There are perhaps fewer words more used, for who does not want peace for themselves or the world? But what does peace actually look like?

Through writing we will consciously explore what peace is. Writing is a powerful tool for understanding ourselves and the world; writing can even change how we relate to both ourselves and the world. Participants will pull from their own craft toolkits of poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction.

There will be something here for beginners and advanced alike. As writers and as concerned human beings we will use writing to make peace in our lives and the world not just a noun, but a verb. The workshop will include opportunities for writing, as well as readings, discussion, and guided meditation.

Reading: Bridges reading series at Barnes & Noble

October brings a first for the Bridges reading series at Barnes & Noble HarMar Mall: All readers are participants in the Martin Lake Poetry Workshop founding in 2016 by guest host Michael Dean. Beginning with some writing friends, the workshop now has over 1,000 participants. I will read with fellow participants of the Poetry Workshop.

Class: Playdate with Words

This class is about using playful techniques to inspire new writing. Working with external prompts we’ll make found poems, bricolage poems (a type of found poem using multiple sources), and use images and objects as inspiration, especially from art in the galleries. Students can expect to write during class and share work with one another. You will leave with several new poems started and creativity ignited. (3 Thursday nights, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm)

Reading: Birchbark Books Reading Series, April 26

The Birchbark Books Reading Series returns on April 26 after taking a winter break. Please join us!

Margaret Hasse has published five books of poems: Stars Above, Stars Below (New Rivers Press); In a Sheep’s Eye, Darling (Milkweed Edition); Milk and Tides (Nodin Press); Earth’s Appetite (Nodin Press); and most recently, Between Us (Nodin Press). Her honors and awards include the New Rivers Press’ Minnesota Voices prize, Milkweed Editions’ Lakes and Prairies competition, and the poetry award of Minnesota Independent Publishing Association. Margaret has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Minnesota State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, and The McKnight Foundation. She lives in Minnesota as a “citizen poet” — an indefatigable supporter of other poets, the literary culture, and efforts to enrich people and communities through the arts.

Denise Lajimodiere is an enrolled Citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Belcourt, North Dakota. She has been involved in education for forty years as an Elementary teacher and Principal, earning her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees from University of North Dakota. Dr. Lajimodiere currently works as an assistant professor in the Educational Leadership program, North Dakota State University, Fargo. Her poetry books include Thunderbird (North Dakota State University), Dragonfly Dance (Michigan State University Press),  Bitter Tears (Mammoth Press), and an academic book Stringing Rosaries, Stories From Northern Plains Boarding School Survivors (North Dakota State University Press, pending). She is a Birch Bark Biting artist, and a traditional Jingle Dress dancer.

Denise Low, 2nd Kansas Poet Laureate, is award-winning author of 25 books, including her 2017 memoir, The Turtle’s Beating Heart, about her grandfather’s Lenape heritage (University of Nebraska Press). Other recent books are Jackalope (short fiction, Red Mt. Press), Mélange Block: Poems (Red Mt. Press), and Natural Theologies: Essays (The Backwaters Press). She has won three Kansas Notable Book Awards and has recognition from Seaton Prize, Pami Jurassi Bush Award of the Academy of American Poets, Roberts Prize, and the Lichtor Poetry Prize. She teaches professional workshops and classes for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Low is former board president of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs. She blogs, reviews, consults, and co-publishes Mammoth Publications. Low has an MFA (Wichita State U.) and Ph.D. (Kansas U.).

Thomas Pecore Weso’s Good Seeds: A Menominee Indian Food Memoir (Wisconsin Historical Society Press) is a finalist for the international Gourmand Award and national winner in the category of Historical Recipes. The Midwest Independent Booksellers picked Good Seeds as one of three November selections, and The Miller’s Tale selected it as one of the “Best of the Fall Cook Books.” Weso is co-author of Langston Hughes in Lawrence (Mammoth Publications) and articles, reviews, and personal essays. Weso has an M.A. in Indigenous Studies from the University of Kansas and teaches social sciences at Kansas City Kansas Community College. He is a speaker for the Kansas Humanities Council library program Talk about Literature in Kansas and co-publisher of Mammoth Publications. Weso is an enrolled member of the Menominee Indian Nation.

Reading: Launch Party for Saint Paul Almanac 11

The Saint Paul Almanac will hold a release party for the latest edition of the Saint Paul Almanac: On a Collected Path at the Black Dog Café on Thursday, April 6, at 7 p.m. This eleventh edition has a new look with new Saint Paul stories like the ones that have gained the Almanac its national reputation for curating authentic voices with a sense of place.

This year’s theme is “On a Collected Path.”

Readings for this event include “1984: Refugee” by Choua Yang, “Energy Transferring Over” by Brittany “Miss Brit” Lynch, “99 Sheep” by Ethna McKiernan, “Night Rider” by David Lyndale, “Where I Belong” by Joan Maeda Trygg, and “The Lost Language” by Michael Kiesow Moore.

Birchbark Books Reading Series – November 9

The Birchbark Books Reading Series continues its 8th season of readings on Wednesday, November 9. Reading will be Naomi Cohn, Donte Collins, William Reichard, and Gwen Westerman.

Curated by Michael Kiesow Moore and Ardie Medina, the Birchbark Books Reading Series features new, emerging, and established writers quarterly September through June.

For more, see

Quatrefoil’s 30th Anniversary Party and Book Fair

All are invited to a free anniversary party on Thursday, Oct. 13, 6-9 p.m., at Open Book (1011 South Washington Avenue, Minneapolis) that will feature drinks, appetizers, presentations, guest speakers, dessert and coffee – all to celebrate 30 years of being the Twin Cities GLBT community library!

The evening will include a book fair with author signings.

Birchbark Books Reading Series – October 12

The Birchbark Books Reading returns Wednesday, October 12 at 7:00 pm to begin our 8th season of readings. Reading will be James Bettendorf, Leslie Matton-Flynn, Venessa Fuentes, and Linda LeGarde Grover.

Curated by Michael Kiesow Moore and Ardie Medina, the Birchbark Books Reading Series features new, emerging, and established writers quarterly September through June.

For more, see

Workshop: Writing Peace Into Your Life

When we say we want peace in the world—peace in our own lives—what do we mean? In this workshop we will use writing to explore these questions. The workshop will include short readings, opportunities for writing, and discussion to consciously explore the nature of peace and how we can bring it into our lives. There will be something here for writers of all levels. We will use writing to make peace not just a noun, but a verb.

Reading: Queer Voices Special Pride Reading

The longest running series of its kind in the nation, Intermedia Arts’ Queer Voices reading series has been creating a safe space for LGBT writers and audiences to explore the day-to-day material of life without internal or external censorship for nearly a decade. Curated by Andrea Jenkins and John Medeiros.

Birchbark Books Reading Series

The Birchbark Books Reading Series concludes it’s seventh season of readings on Wednesday, June 1 at 7:00 p.m. Readers will be James D. Autio, Sharon Chmielarz, Kasey Payette, and Lynette Reini-Grandell

Curated by Michael Kiesow Moore and Ardie Medina, the Birchbark Books Reading Series features new, emerging, and established writers quarterly September through June.

For more, see


Poetry Workshop: Unlocking Your Creativity with Image and Metaphor

Some of the most creative aspects of poetry writing is making good use of images and metaphor. These can be the keys to unlocking your own imagination, as well as that of your reader. We will look at how a few master poets used images and metaphor such as Pablo Neruda, Tomas Tranströmer, and Jim Moore. And then we’ll give it a try ourselves with opportunities to write. The workshop is for all levels of poetry makers.

This is an hour long workshop. Exact time TBD. To register, go to

Birchbark Books Reading Series

The Birchbark Books Reading Series will continue its 7th season on April 20. To celebrate National Poetry Month we will feature poets Julia Klatt Singer, Norita Dittberner-Jax, Dara Syrkin, and Greg Watson.

Curated by Michael Kiesow Moore and Ardie Medina, the Birchbark Books Reading Series features new, emerging, and established writers quarterly September through May.

Julia Klatt SingerJulia Klatt Singer writes poems, is the poet in residence at Grace Nursery School, and a rostered artist for Compas. She’s author of three books of poetry, her most recent, Untranslatable, and co-author of Twelve Branches: Stories from St. Paul. She’s co-written over a dozen songs with composers Tim Takach and Jocelyn Hagen.

NoritaNorita Dittberner-Jax is an award-winning poet whose work has been widely published in small press. Her collections of poetry include, Stopping For Breath, (Nodin Press); The Watch (Whistling Shade Press); Longing For Home (Pudding House Press; and What They Always Were (New Rivers Press). She is one of the poets in the anthology, 33 Minnesota Poets as well as To Sing Along the Way, Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-territorial Days to the Present. She is one of the poetry editors for Red Bird Chapbooks.

DaraSyrkin0512-smallDara Syrkin counts her lucky stars every day. One piece of great good fortune is to have work included in the Nodin Poetry Anthology. Dara’s poetry revolves around ancestors, blue roads, encounters with strangers, and her respect for seeds.

GregGreg Watson’s work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, and has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. His most recent collections are What Music Remains, and All the World at Once: New and Selected Poems, both published by Nodin Press.

MKM at Birchbark