Year in Review 2013: Literature
This year has been a solid-gold one for the literary scene, bringing in collaborative projects, audience engagement, star-studded showcases, and, of course, fabulous literature to the good old Twin Cities. Let's take a moment to set aside our modest Midwestern tendencies, and proceed to "ooh and ah" about what happened on the local scene in 2013.
The Loft Literary Center's Short-Short Salon
The literary scene wasted no time getting started in mid-January this year with the Loft Literary Center's first ever flash-fiction marathon, Short-Short Salon. The brainchild of Marge Barrett, Short-Short Salon featured readings from this year's three contest winners, as well as first-place winners from the past 12 years (the event had previously been hosted by MinnPost). Pulling in this year's first, second, and third places respectively were Katrina Wollet, Bonnie West, and Samuel Cole. A half-time show from comedian Rana May elicited chuckles and provided fodder between readers.
Vacationland by Sarah Stonich
April brought about the release of local fiction writer Sarah Stonich's Vacationland, an intricately crafted book of short stories. Each piece is linked by Meg, a recurring, fully-dimensional character, and the place she calls home: the remains of a tired, family-owned lakeside resort in Northern Minnesota. Stonich brings all of her characters to life with gorgeous, organic mastery.
Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow by Andy Sturdevant
Andy Sturdevant's Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow was published by Minneapolis's Coffee House Press in October, and has been popping up in literary conversations, reviews, and at innovative events ever since. A guidebook to the Twin Cities spaces, art, and culture, Potluck Supper is a smart and quirky read, giving love to many local gems.
David P. Hanson, work based on Lisp of Cloud by Leila Wilson
Motionpoems Screening at Walker Art Center
Motionpoems had another stellar year of taking poems from the page and turning them into short video. Creators Angella Kassube and Todd Boss (who is also a fantastic poet in his own right) revealed the world premiere of 2013 videos at a screening at Walker Art Center during the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. (Psst! Don't miss Motionpoems' and Todd Boss's newest endeavor, Arrivals and Departures, at the St. Paul Union Depot. For more details, check motionpoems.com.)
[PANK] Invasion: Minneapolis
The Michigan-based experimental literary organization [PANK] brought its nationwide reading series to Minneapolis with the added pizzazz of local lit and art publication Paper Darts. [PANK]'s portion of the lineup featured Matt Mauch (of Maeve's Sessions and Great Twin Cities Poetry Read), Kris Bigalk, and Jordan Wiklund. Paper Darts' three choices were Katie Sisneros, John Brandon, and John Jodzio (whose book, Get in If You Want to Live, Paper Darts' published last year). The mashup served up some of the best current local talent.
Conceived of and organized by Art Allen (one of the minds behind Buzzwords crowd-sourced series) in partnership with the Loft Literary Center, the first-ever Pundamonium was a night of ridiculous puns and hilarity. The rules of the evening were straight forward: Contestants had 30 seconds to whip out a pun based on the prompt given to them, which would then be judged by the audience. Whoever maintained the top score throughout the three rounds of Pundamonium won. The event was hosted by the giggle-inducing local writer Maggie Ryan Sandford, who added to the silliness of the evening.
Black Aperture by Matt Rasmussen
Local poet Matt Rasmussen's wryly written Black Aperture (LSU Press, May 2013) chronicles the suicide of his brother. The book was a finalist for National Book Award, and is recipient of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. Rasmussen won readers over with his dark humor and genuine approach to a complicated subject.
"Confess" from Revolver
In 2013, Revolver continued its streak of unique events with May's "Confess." The event stemmed from a collaboration with the project "We Are All Criminals" by 2011 Bush Foundation Fellow Emily Baxter. At four "confession" booths, event-goers could choose to:
1) Listen to Baxter's gathered confessions from "We Are All Criminals," featuring those who got away with their deeds.
2) Sit across from a stranger and confess something.
3) Confess to Baxter herself.
4) Listen to the evening's confessions.
Booze, music from DJ Shannon Blowtorch, and other shenanigans capped off the event with the typical Revolver style. (P.S.: Check out Revolver's next event, Revolver at the Ritz: 12 Experiments on January 18.)
Paper Darts Pop-Up
Paper Darts Pop-Up
With the monicker "A Storefront for Storytellers," this partnership between Paper Darts and SooLOCAL brought together 25 organizations and artists. For six weeks in June and July, the Paper Darts Pop-Up storefront was brimming with diverse events such as literary, art, gaming, and performance. Star happenings included the launch party for Paper Darts' fifth edition; Revolver's experimental event DESK, where a handful of artists/writers each took a turn destroying/recreating a desk; and Thirty-Two Magazine's "A Movable Feast: A Literary Pop-Up Dinner."
Photo by Zoe Prinds
A Pound of Steam by Dessa
While she already had buzz from her newest album, Parts of Speech, Dessa kept the excitement going with the release of her latest chapbook, A Pound of Steam, in October from Twin Cities' literary publication and organization Rain Taxi. More polished and confident than her previous poetry publications, A Pound of Steam proves Dessa to be a steamroller in her growth into an established artist, performer, and writer.
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