Literary Northland

awpThis week has been a week of literary experiences for me, from International Falls to Minneapolis, from Icebox Radio to Holy Cow Press.

I drove with friends from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council to International Falls. It was both planning/working/friendly talking time with Ashley (grants manager) and Bob (executive director) and time to visit friends in International Falls.

First and foremost was Jeff Adams. Jeff is a freelance writer and community arts organizer in the Falls — the artistic director of the Icebox Radio Theater, an old-time radio style podcast of awesome performing new scripts under Adams’ guidance as author and director.

Jeff’s partner is Diane Adams, director of the IFalls public library (a marvelous small town library) who sees the library as both an engine for community literacy and community events as well as an engine for rethinking what IFalls can be in the 21st century.

Jeff and Diane introduced me to Douglas Skrieff, whose poetry resonates with the natural world while attaining an international audience.

I spent Friday and Saturday in Minneapolis at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference, a creative writing conference. Duluth was well represented (Claire Kirch, Whitney Walters, Amy Waugh, Crystal Gibbins, Lucie Amundsen, Jayson Iwen, Jamie White-Farnham, Deborah Schlacks, Julie Gard and so many more).

Jim Perlman was celebrated — his work at Holy Cow Press was the subject of a presentation of more than an hour. We are genuinely blessed to have a creative vision like his in Duluth, MN.

I met some folks through Lucie, too — people not from Duluth but whose work seems interesting: Matt Dahl, Minnesota owner and operator of Chatsworth Press, for example, has a creative energy: passion and charm and vision that was fun to see. Marjorie Hakala has ties to Northern Minnesota (including time as an intern at the International Wolf Center) and a passion for writing about nature/animals. Beyond that, though, she has experimented with Children’s Lit (“Mermaid Dance“).

In the last week, I have been lucky, lucky, to meet so many with so much energy for creative writing.

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