2016 SPA Contributors

RASHIDAH ISMAILI ABUBAKR is now retired but teaches in a low-residence creative writing MA and MFA program at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. She is now writing full time in all genres. Her apartment is home to Salon d’Afrique, where she holds soirees with visiting artists and Harlemites.

TA–COUMBA AIKEN is a Twin Cities artist, arts administrator, educator, and community activist who focuses on public art and collaborative projects. His “rhythm paintings” on paper and canvas are loose and lively. He has participated in the creation of over 300 murals and public art sculptures, with themes ranging from local history to the artist’s own style of rhythmic pattern and spirit writing. His works can be found in public and private collections, including those of the Walker Art Center, General Mills, Herbie Hancock, Taj Mahal, and Maya Angelou. www.Ta-coumbaAiken.com

LOUIS ALEMAYEHU is a writer, educator, activist, poet, father, and grandfather of African and Native American heritage. He provides workshops and consultations on racism, culture, environmental justice, and community building. His writing has appeared in national and international publications, such as The International Process Work Journal, DRUM, The Energy Bulletin, and Blues Visions by the Minnesota Historical Society. Alemayehu is the founder of the seminal, award-winning poetry/jazz ensemble Ancestor Energy. In 2009, the Minnesota Spoken Word Association presented Alemayehu with an Urban Griot award for thirty years of excellence as a pioneering spoken word artist. In 2012, the Process Work Institute in Portland, Oregon, certified Louis as a World Work Elder. His last name means “I see the world,” he often asserts, “for better or worse, I FEEL the world.”

KIRK ANDERSON creates political cartoons, humorous illustration, and graphic design, now gluten-free. He is owner of Molotov Comix Press, Saint Paul. Smell the satire. www.MolotovComics.com

TONY ANDREA is a travel videographer, educator, and proud East Sider. While his travels have brought him on many unique adventures, he claims that the more he travels, the deeper his roots grow into the East Side of Saint Paul. Furthermore, he is always available to help his hometown in any way he can!

POLYXENI ANGELIS was born in Athens, Greece. She holds a BA in sociology from the University of Minnesota. Her work appears in the 2011 Montreal Prize Global Poetry Anthology and the Burlesque Press Online Journal. Writing is her passion, and please, don’t ever call her Polly

MARGARET ANZEVINO, born and raised on Saint Paul’s lower East Side, was a teacher and a librarian for thirty-nine years, most of them spent in the Roseville School District. She currently volunteers at Academia Cesar Chavez School and at St. Pascal Baylon Church, both located on Saint Paul’s East Side.

CAMI APPLEQUIST  is a Lowertown Lofts Artist Cooperative resident artist who can’t decide if she’s a writer, photographer, painter, or just a doodler. So she does a little bit of each. She spends most of her time playing with all of it with kids all over Saint Paul, in workshops and at her nanny gigs. Find her blog at www.camiapplequist.com.

SERENA MIRA ASTA  is an artist and writer in Lowertown. She is also a singer and a self-aware art supply addict. She loves spinning and dyeing but is careful how often she says that out loud. www.AstaArt.com

Artist KEN AVIDORA  lives and works in a loft in the Union Depot with his wife, Roberta Avidor. Their art celebrates the city of Saint Paul. They are avid bicyclists and urban sketchers. If you see Ken and Roberta sitting in their folding chairs on the streets of Saint Paul sketching, please stop and say hello. www. AvidorStudios.com

ROBERTA AVIDOR  writes, “I’m an illustrator who’s lived in Lowertown for almost three years now. One of my specialties is creating illustrated maps, one of which is the Downtown and City of Saint Paul map for the Saint Paul Almanac. Working on that map and being involved with the Almanac was one of the factors that made it desirable to make the move from Minneapolis to Saint Paul. My husband, Ken, and I appreciate all the interesting events and people around here and strive to capture that vitality in our artwork.” www .AvidorStudios.com

SCOTT BADE is a loving father, husband, and brother who resides in North Saint Paul. He is a graduate of Metropolitan State University with an English degree and is working toward becoming a full-time author.

ELEN BAHR is a self-proclaimed Saint Paulite, grant writer, and aspiring children’s book author. Elen and her family live in the Summit-University neighborhood, where she bakes pies, grows beautiful gardens, coordinates her neighborhood block club, and would never, ever dream of trading love for a street grid system.

JENNIFER BANGOURA is a lifelong resident of Saint Paul. Her close-knit family settled here in the 1890s. Jennifer earned her bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in theater arts from the University of Minnesota, Morris. Jennifer is an English teacher. Loving language, she is chock-full of wit, witticisms, and puns. Her favorite pastimes are reading short stories and watching classic films. She is the mother of two wonderful children, Lali and Kashif. Jennifer attributes her love of literature to her mother, Martha.

Since the original 2010 publication, PAUL BARTLETT and his wife, Linda, have retired back to Green Bay. They have fond memories of their time in Saint Paul and the solid friendships made in Minnesota. They always look forward to their return visits to the Twin Cities.

MARJORIE (WEAVER) BEDNAREK enjoys writing poems and stories with a nostalgic touch. She has published letters to editors of various publications and written stories for Antique Week Newspaper and Yesterday’s Magazette. She writes, “Thanks for the opportunity to appear in the Almanac!”

MAYA BEECHAM, a second-generation native Saint Paulite, was born in the historic Rondo neighborhood, graduated from Cretin-Derham Hall High School, and earned a BA in communication studies at Hamline University. Currently, she works for the education team at the Bush Foundation in Saint Paul.

CYNTHIA DAVIDSON BEND has worked as a counselor and a trainer/teacher of dogs, horses, and humans. Her publications include Arthur’s Room, the story of a boy living with cerebral palsy, and his caring sister; Burning Clean, stories of love, loss, and healing; and Billy’s Goat, about two country boys with unusual pets. www.cynthiabend.dgi.bz.

JIM BOUR, still unable to just say no, influences his grandchildren, sometimes to their parents’ chagrin, south of Hudson, Wisconsin, in the woods along the St. Croix River. He tells stories, some of them true, and plans to keep doing so while he decides what to do when he grows up.

PATRICIA BOUR-SCHILLA says living life with love and laughter is what makes her smile.

BRENDA BROUSSEAU is a self-taught artist whose interest in beadwork began as a child, when her grandmother took her to a Native American beadwork exhibition. Today, Brousseau uses beads to convey her journey of spiritual growth and healing. She incorporates ritually significant objects into her work and layers them with personal symbolism and meaning.

WENDY BROWN-BÁEZ’s prose and poetry have appeared in literary journals and anthologies, and she has published two books of poetry. Wendy received McKnight and Minnesota State Arts Board grants to teach writing workshops in nonprofits and for youth in crisis. She is a member of the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. www.wendybrownbaez.com

JASON CAMPBELL is a half-Japanese, half-American photography enthusiast who has split his life between both countries and, in three years, racked up 250,000 miles in world travel to end up happily settled in Saint Paul’s historic West Seventh neighborhood.

CAROL CAOUETTE is a freelance writer, singer, and musician. She was once a Saint Paul Winter Carnival Queen candidate but secretly coveted the title of Bouncing Blanket Girl. Carol lives in Stillwater with her husband but visits Saint Paul often.

COLLEEN CASEY uses language and other arts to facilitate positive transformation. From Bdote and of Mdewakanton Dakota and European American heritages, Colleen considers herself a person of crosscurrents and confluences. She loves supporting people who are strengthening their voices. She believes we are all related.

KATE CAVETT has spent hundreds of hours listening to more than 200 individuals share their reflections on Saint Paul, careers, racism, passions, sorrows, challenges, and successes. Her book, Voices of Rondo: Oral Histories of Saint Paul’s Historic Black Community, won the 2006 Minnesota Book Award. She continues her dedication to document the stories of ordinary people with extraordinary lives.

RIDDHISH CHAKRABORTY is an industrial engineer by profession. Photography was never a subject of his attention until a few years back when he bought a digital camera to capture some family memories. Riddhish says, “I capture anything that attracts me—from wildlife to nature, and from action moments to people’s candid emotions. I take this art seriously and always try to learn new tricks and techniques.” Riddhish lives in Coon Rapids with his wife, Bipasha, and their four-year-old daughter, Mimili.

ELENA CISNEROS is a writer and artist who grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation. After serving as an assistant editor for Water~Stone Review and receiving an MFA from Hamline University, she returned to South Dakota and writes and works in Kyle.

AMY CLARK —mother, wife, artist, teacher, writer, athlete. Student, singer, reader, caretaker of many animals. Tired most of the time, but happy.

JOHN LEE CLARK was born deaf and became blind in adolescence. His poetry has appeared in many publications, including The Hollins Critic, McSweeney’s, Poetry, and Seneca Review. His chapbook of poems, Suddenly Slow, was published by Handtype Press in 2008; he edited the definitive anthology Deaf American Poetry for Gallaudet University Press in 2009. He and his wife, the cartoonist Adrean Clark, run an online publication, Clerc Scar, and they live in Saint Paul with their three sons.

PATRICK COLEMAN is the Minnesota Historical Society acquisitions librarian. He was honored with the prestigious Kay Sexton Award at the twentyfirst annual Minnesota Book Awards gala, serves on the board of Coffee House Press, and is a longtime member of the Ampersand Club and the Manuscript Society. He writes the 150 Best Minnesota Books blog, highlighting books that are important to the intellectual life and identity of the state. Due to his work, the MHS library is one of the preeminent research libraries in the nation.

DONTE COLLINS is an American slam/performance poet. Known for his spoken word poetry, he is a Minnesota spoken word finalist and the co-founder and co-director of No Projection, a group of four brothers aiming to use spoken word as an inspirational tool. Donte performs all over the Twin Cities, including at Walker Art Center, Orchestra Hall, Pillsbury House Theatre, and Penumbra Theatre. He is currently the highest-ranked youth poet in the Twin Cities and competed in the 2013 international spoken word competition Brave New Voices.

CAROL CONNOLLY, Saint Paul’s first poet laureate, was appointed by Mayor Chris Coleman. Her family has lived in Saint Paul for six generations. She has been a political candidate, political and human rights activist, journalist, and poet. Her book of poems Payments Due, now in its fifth printing, was published by Minnesota Villages and Voices, a small press founded by poet Meridel Le Sueur. Currently, Carol is a columnist for Minnesota Law & Politics, and for nine years, she has curated and hosted the monthly Readings by Writers series at the University Club of Saint Paul—one of a dozen venues in the Carol Connolly Reading Series named for her and now sponsored by Intermedia Arts. Each year, this series brings nearly 300 writers and poets to over 5,000 audience members.

MARK CONNOR is a freelance journalist, creative writer, and professional boxing trainer from Saint Paul. His work has been published nationally and internationally, much of it focusing on life in Saint Paul.

DEBORAH COSTANDINE is a visual artist whose heart has never left the West Seventh Street area. Deborah has a BA from Metropolitan State University in experiential creativity and an MA from Adler Graduate School in counseling and psychotherapy. She is a practicing Adlerian psychotherapist and an art therapist. She loves to collaborate with people of all ages, using art materials in her practice to promote health and healing.

ANGELA DAVIS writes, “I am a local artist born and raised in North Minneapolis. Mainly, I am an acrylic painter who likes to paint local scenes using bold, bright colors.”

DEREK DAVIS is a second-generation artist for whom painting is a process of self-discovery and a means of conveying appreciation of the world around him. He finds searching for the poetry of the moment and reaching to communicate that with paint sincerely gratifying and challenging.

SHARON M. DAY is Ojibwe, a Bois Forte enrollee. An artist and musician, she has spent forty-six years as a Saint Paulite.

CAPTAIN BOB DECK grew up on numerous Air Force bases, landing in Saint Paul during high school. He worked on the Mississippi River towboats for twenty-five years. Now he divides his time between writing about his adventures on the Mississippi River, piloting the Padelford Packet boats, and substitute teaching for Saint Paul Public Schools.

BRITTANY “RITTAN” DELANEY is an activist and spoken word artist, born and raised in Minnesota. In the past, she has participated in spoken word groups such as the Minnesota Spoken Word Association, Quest for the Voice, Teens Rock the Mic, and university-based establishments. She’s currently working as an arts literacy facilitator at Gordon Parks High School and continues residencies and workshops. Her focus is on promoting literacy and safe-space learning environments. She is working on her first book as a teaching artist and plans to release it in the next year.

MARTIN DEVANEY is a songwriter born and raised in Saint Paul. Nicknamed “The Mayor,” he has released five full-length albums, including most recently The West End, and studied creative writing at the U of M.

LOUIS DiSANTO is a retired keeper from Como Zoo who enjoys photography, writing children’s stories, classical music (especially Debussy), and long walks. He also worked as a newspaper reporter, as a playground assistant, and one summer at a cemetery. Passionate about nostalgia, Louis loves to reminisce with friends about the fun they had as kids, like taking the bus downtown to see movies, eating ice cream at Bridgeman’s, and sneaking into Harkin’s pool hall on West Seventh Street.

NORITA DITTBERNER-JAX grew up in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul and taught English in its schools. She loves walking around Saint Paul, especially Lake Como. She has three collections of poetry: What They Always Were, Longing for Home, and The Watch.

JEREMY DOWNIE is a visual artist based in Saint Paul. His interdisciplinary practice embraces a variety of mediums, including painting (both oil and acrylic), drawing, and mixed media. Most recently, he’s been experimenting with mixed media paintings on surfaces that are considered somewhat throwaway or transitory. They range from newspaper, wood, cardboard, and city maps to more conventional watercolor paper and canvas.

MAHMOUD EL-KATI is a lecturer, writer, and commentator on the African American experience. For thirty-three years he taught at Macalester College. He advocates giving back to local communities, studying African American history, and understanding how that history deeply affects every American’s life. His work appears frequently in the local press and he hosts many communitybased conferences and events. Macalester College established the Mahmoud El-Kati Distinguished Lectureship in American Studies in 2007.

GAYLA ELLIS is a Minneapolis resident who was a legal secretary in many different offices in downtown Saint Paul for many years, and prefers that city’s scene to downtown Minneapolis.

HEID E. ERDRICH is author of Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems (2012). Her collection  National Monuments  won a Minnesota Book Award in 2009. Her nonfiction book is Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest (2013). Heid is Ojibwe enrolled at Turtle Mountain. She teaches in the Augsburg College MFA program.

TONY ERNST is a professional geek and amateur tinkerer. In his spare time, he wanders around with his camera waiting for something interesting to happen. He regularly posts photos at www.flickr.com/photos/gamelaner/.

ANN EWEN loves to learn and experiment with new mediums. She enjoys drawing, painting, and singing. Although she is not a full-time artist, she loves to create whenever possible. She can be contacted at anncewen@gmail.com.

NIMO FARAH is an artist and activist who uses language to express things she finds too confusing. Her current undertaking is to develop her skills as an orator while blending Somali and English. She thinks herself charming and hilarious in the Somali language, but rarely does that humor translate into English. She co-founded HUMAAG, a nonprofit organization promoting art and literature in the Somali community.

CHRIS FAUST writes, “I, like Gary Winogrand, feel that ‘Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed.’” www.chrisfaustphoto.com

MIKE FINLEY arrived in Saint Paul to live in 1969 and has loved it ever since.

MICHAEL B. FISHMAN spends his days in quiet desperation confined inside four office walls. Once outside of those walls he becomes a writer of fiction and poetry, a photographer and a baseball fan.

SEAN FLEMING lives in Saint Paul with his wife, Ana Maria. He is a teacher with the Saint Paul Public Schools and can’t think of anything he’d rather do, except maybe write for the Almanac or bake bread.

Editor and writer PAMELA R. FLETCHER is writing director and associate professor of English at St. Catherine University. She also serves as senior editor and co-facilitator of the Community Editor Project for the Saint Paul Almanac.

DEBRA FRASIER, Minnesota author and illustrator, is the founder of the Alphabet Forest, the only permanent literacy activity area at state fairs in the United States.

DANIEL GABRIEL has published three books of fiction. Since he and his wife, Judith, have lived in Saint Paul for only thirty years, he knows he can never be a local—but for his sons, Alex and Evan, this is home. For more on his writing, check out http://danielgabriel.us. 

JOYCE GARCIA grew up in northern Minnesota like Mowgli in The Jungle Book, running through the trees. Although not as flexible as she once was, she still dreams that dream.

BEVERLY SCHULTZ GOLBERG is a lifelong resident of Saint Paul. Her essays have appeared in the literary journals Ars Medica and Willard & Maple, the magazine Cottage Life, anthologies Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup for the Soul, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She reads her work at the Wild Yam Cabaret in Saint Paul.

SHIRA GRANOTE is originally from Plymouth, Minnesota, graduated from Wayzata High School, and received a BA at Hampshire College in Massachusetts in 2004 and a BSN at University of Rochester in New York in 2008. As an RN, Shira has worked in a variety of healing modalities: as a hospice nurse, respite care nurse for children with special needs, public health nurse working with teen moms, nurse case manager for the elderly, and a camp nurse for many summers. Currently Shira works with two churches as a parish nurse, bridging the gap between healing and spirituality, and is a doula assisting families to welcome in their children to the world. Shira loves to write, hike, camp, listen to live music, and dance.

LMNOP (LISA-MARIE GREENLY), a Saint Paul illustrator, can usually be found working on several bodies of work concurrently, oftentimes combining themes or media among them, frequently reworking an image in several forms to explore new ways to view a concept. She is fluent in watercolor and penwork. www.facebook.com/LMNOP.art

JAMES S. GRIFFIN said awards and honors are wonderful to receive, but it was his family and friends who were his life’s treasures. He joined the Saint Paul Police Department in 1941 and became Saint Paul’s first Black deputy chief. He was a founding member of NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives), served on the Saint Paul School Board, was inducted into the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame, received an honorary doctorate from Concordia, and was on the board of directors of the Sterling Club. In 1988 the Central High School football field was renamed the James S. Griffin Building and the Saint Paul Police headquarters was also named after him. Griffin died in 2002.

CARY  GRIFFITH is a freelance writer from Rosemount, Minnesota, and the author of Lost in the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods.

HEIDI GROSCH uses her imagination daily and so is not surprised to find trolls in her back yard or talking mice in her kitchen. Everything is inspiration for a new creative project. Heidi directs children’s choirs, teaches writing and drama in schools, and is co-founder of the Silly Sisters (www.thesillysisters.com). www.heidigrosch.com

CHAD HAMBRIGHT is a Saint Paul–based artist who works in many different media. After graduating from the University of Iowa with an intermedia arts degree, he moved to the Twin Cities to further develop his artistic talents and is a current member of the Northern Warehouse Artists Co-op in the Lowertown arts district. www.facebook.com/rockwellallnight

ERIC CHARLES HANSEN studied with Carol Bly while earning his MFA in writing at Hamline University. He lives with his wife, Alison, and two children, Fiona and Miles, in the Battle Creek neighborhood of Saint Paul.

MONTE HANSON grew up on a dairy farm in southwestern Wisconsin and is a writer and editor for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development in Saint Paul. In his free time, you’ll find Monte hanging around Saint Paul coffee shops or hiking and snowshoeing in Minnesota state parks. He lives in the Midway area.

PHEBE HANSON has been keeping a diary since she was ten, writing poems since she was forty-seven, and emailing since she was sixty-nine. She is the proud grandmother of nine and the great-grandmother of one.

MOIRA HARRIS is an art historian and native Minnesotan. She has written about public art for Minnesota History, Public Art Review, and Ramsey County History. In 2006 she and her husband, Leo J. Harris, wrote Minnesota on Paper: Collecting Our Printed History, a Minnesota Book Awards finalist, for the University of Minnesota Press. She wrote about artists Cameron Booth and Dewey Albinson for Minnesota Modern (Afton Press, 2015).

When MARGARET HASSE was in grade school, learning poetry by heart was part of the curriculum. The first poem she chose was a short one by Emily Dickinson beginning: “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” She moved on to ballads such as “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes with rhyme schemes that made memorization easier. Earth’s Appetite, Margaret’s fourth collection of poetry, released in 2013 by Nodin Press, relies more on image and metaphor than on rhyme.

JUDY HAWKINSON has been living, working and raising her children in Saint Paul for twenty-six years. You can find her in Merriam Park, downtown Saint Paul, and in Lowertown, and you will recognize her by her camera.

Filmmaker, photographer, and poet, Media MIKE HAZARD loves seeing. He is artist in residence at the Center for International Education; visit www.thecie. org to learn more.

MARGIE HENDRIKSEN is a retired attorney and history buff.

KEVIN HERSHEY is a first-generation Saint Paul native from Merriam Park and graduate of Cretin-Derham Hall High School. His parents hail from Long Island, and he has recently landed in Brooklyn, New York, returning to his familial roots. He served as a community editor with the Saint Paul Almanac for two years and has read in the Queer Voices series through Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis. Kevin believes in the transformative power of writing and in the power of Minnesotans of all backgrounds to heal through the arts. He works at a community-based organization in New York City.

LAURIE HERTZEL is the senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked as a writer and editor for nearly twenty years. She has also been a writer and editor at Minnesota Monthly magazine and at the Duluth News Tribune. She is the author of News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist, published by the University of Minnesota Press and winner of a 2011 Minnesota Book Award.

KOFI BOBBY HICKMAN was born and raised in Saint Paul and remained a lifelong resident of the city. He directed the Inner City Youth League for twenty years and was a community activist for more than forty years. VERNON HOLMBERG made sculpture for thirty-four years, funding his work by employment with Univac, Sperry, and Unisys. He wrote fiction and published one novel, Mulcahey’s Meatheads, created small movies, and worked as a technical writer for the military-industrial complex. Vernon died in 2007.

KATIE HOWIE is an expert pastry connoisseur, vintage jewelry lover, and Pinterest enthusiast (although she has never actually cooked anything she has pinned). Katie dreams in Instagram squares. When Katie isn’t busy wrangling her two little girls or enjoying the Twin Cities brewery scene with her husband, she works as a freelance photographer. You can see more of her authentic, beautiful work on Facebook at Katie Clicks.

People say Saint Paul is confusing to navigate, but IBé has never gotten lost driving around it. Oh wait, must be the GPS in his phone! But still, even before the advent of so-called smart phones, he did just fine. The more he reads about Saint Paul through the Almanac, the more he loves the city. IBé writes poems, essays, and other things. They are always stories— about Guinea, Sierra Leone, and America. They are all his home! He has been honored with a few awards for his writing, but he doesn’t feel like showing off to you right this minute. You may find out more about him on his website at www.AtlanticRock.com if you are at all interested. DC ICE is a full-time illustrator living in Saint Paul. She has illustrated a dozen published children’s books and actively shows her work locally and nationally. www.DCICE.com

KEMET IMHOTEP was conceived in Oklahoma and born in Saint Paul. As a child, Kemet was left under the care of his great-uncle and -aunt. His aunt, Willie Mae Johnson, who was born on a plantation in Arkansas in 1918, was a strong believer in faith and trust in the Creator. Kemet struggled with the public school system. He was in the class of 1990 at Central High School, and finished at the Area Learning Center located in the Uni-Dale Mall. At present he says he is a lost and troubled soul, still finding his way through the quicksand.

HILAL ISLER now drives around Saint Paul with confidence.

LEANN E. JOHNSON has been creating art (scratchboard illustration, relief printing, and tile design) for more than fifteen years. A current resident of Minneapolis, she has illustrated for other publications, such as the New York Times. To see and learn more about her commercial and fine artwork, go to www .lea-way.com.

Founder and executive director of TruArtSpeaks, TISH JONES is a poet, educator, and organizer from Saint Paul, with a passion for Black narratives, Black love, and Black joy as they (respectively) permeate the overencompassing dominant narrative of Black pain. Oh! Hip Hop is lifeblood, word is bond.

PATSY KAHMANN currently lives near Minnehaha Falls, but she has called many places home. Born in Kansas City, she and her family eventually came to live on the frozen plains of southwestern Minnesota. Her memoir, House of Kahmanns, is about tender family bonds, forged and fractured, through hardships and happenstance. Recently retired, Patsy can now be found haunting local coffeehouses, working on her memoir, hoping to fulfill her parents’ wish that she write what happened. Her birthstone is opal, like her mother’s.

PATRICK KAHNKE is a freelance writer and the pastor of Saint Paul Fellowship Church in Frogtown. He has written numerous articles, poems, and songs; writes a blog; and plans to spend at least the next thirty years tinkering with an unfinished novel set in various Saint Paul neighborhoods. 

SAED KAKISH’s excitement at the approaching fifteenth birthday of his Cahoots Coffee Bar in the fall of 2012 soared to a more joyful level when his Moroccan Mocha won the coveted Charlie Award for Twin Cities’ Outstanding Cup of Coffee. He continues to welcome all to drink coffee, sip tea, and enjoy other treats at his Selby-near-Snelling shop, including anonymous gourmet judges.

LINDA KANTNER is a Honda Rebel–riding writer who gets her kicks riding too fast and living to tell the story. She will publish her memoir, As Told to Me, if there is any justice in the world.

KAREN KARSTEN lived in the Irvine Park area for a good part of her pre-adult years. Karen feels it is a writer’s job to bear witness to the world in which they live from both a personal and political point of view. She believes that it is never too late to be who you always wanted to be and that you should try things even if you have been told you are bad at them. Taking her own advice, she recently finished her first year of drawing badly and is happy to report that progress has been made. She is now starting a year of drawing not-so-badly and invites you to do the same.

GARRISON KEILLOR is an author, a humorist, the host of A Prairie Home Companion radio show, and the proprietor of Common Good Books in Saint Paul. In 2013, he published his first book of poetry, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound (Grove Press), and The Keillor Reader (Viking).

DENNIS KELLY grew up in Saint Paul hopping trains on the Short Line, vaulting the fence at the State Fair, playing outdoor hockey at Dunning Field, and shooting pool at Sarge’s Billards.

CARLA KENNEDY lives in Minneapolis and is a dabbler in the visual arts, particularly photography. Carla visits Saint Paul regularly because she loves all the eclectic eating establishments.

In 2007, NATHANIEL ABDUL KHALIQ was president of the Saint Paul branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The Saint Paul Foundation awarded him its Facing Race Ambassador Award in 2011. He has been married to Victoria A. Alexander Davis for thirty-eight years.

PATRICIA KIRKPATRICK received the Lindquist & Vennum Poetry Prize for Odessa, published by Milkweed Editions and awarded a 2013 Minnesota Book Award. She has taught writing in many colleges, universities, and community settings and worked as an editor for various publications and individuals. She loves the Saint Paul street lamps, green tea at Golden Thyme, oysters at Meritage, walks along the Mississippi, and her friends, neighbors, and backyard rabbits. www.patriciakirkpatrick.com

SUSAN KOEFOD still remembers reading elephant joke books as a child. She writes and publishes in various genres, was born in Saint Paul, and has lived in and around Saint Paul her entire life. Her debut novel, Washed Up, was published by North Star Press in 2011.

ALEX KUNO is a full-time artist and illustrator based in Lowertown, Saint Paul. The Miscreants of Tiny Town—his ongoing series of satirically apocalyptic fairy-tale paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations—have appeared in numerous galleries throughout the Twin Cities and around the country. This summer, Alex is debuting all new work for a large group show at CO Exhibitions in Minneapolis. He also creates custom pieces for private clients and regularly shows new pieces at 262 Studios during Lowertown’s First Fridays.

ELLEN LARSEN is an artist who paints what she sees and loves to sketch people in their environment. She is a member of the MetroSketchers group, which gathers monthly to sketch at various locations around Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

TIFFANY LEE enjoys reading and writing when she can. Watching TV is part of her daily routine. She likes to try new things.

MAY LEE-YANG is a writer aspiring to get paid for it. Instead of listing generic statistics, May believes in revealing more important things about a person, such as her idiosyncrasy for eating plain pho, her insistence on defending the legitimacy of reading romance novels, and her penchant for perpetuating Asian stereotypes by perfecting her skills as a karaoke singer. She is a former member of the spoken word group F.I.R.E. (Free Inspiring Rising Elements) and has been published in Paj Ntaub Voice, Unarmed Journal, and Bamboo Among the Oaks, the first anthology to explore the creative voices of Hmong Americans. She is a winner of the 2005 Loft Mentorship Program in Nonfiction, a recipient of the 2004 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant, and a 2002–2003 Playwright Center Many Voices fellowship.

JAMI LEIGH is a writer and yoga teacher who still lives across the river and treks back to her hometown of Saint Paul often. Since “Crossing the River” was first published, she has discovered many more places she would add to her list of reasons to return. And even though #2 of her original list stopped calling her, she continues to show up at the door hoping with all her heart that they have mocha chip that day!

MERIDEL LE SUEUR (1900–1996) used her words to dig through our reserved Midwest façades and open up our tormented, tender, cruel hearts. The author and poet of many books, she challenged the status quo and spent her life championing the rights of women and the oppressed in the U.S. and overseas. Her work won numerous awards.

TOM LEWIS  has lived in Saint Paul with his wife and frequent writing partner, Susan Larson, since 1999. Born in California, he relocated to Minnesota after a stint in northern Europe. His work has been published in Midway Journal, f-hole, and Taking the Brim (took the broom). When not laboring over his first volume of collected poems or seeking out visionary environments of the Upper Midwest, he spends his days as a marketing writer at Capella University.

ARLETA LITTLE  is poet and has spent the last decade supporting the work of artists in Minnesota. She is an arts program officer at the McKnight Foundation and formerly served as the executive director of the Givens Foundation for African American Literature.

MARGARET LOVEJOY is the executive director and founder of the Family Place. Her education includes a doctorate of educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas. Margaret attributes her love of writing to her love of reading. Currently she is working on a trilogy specifically focused on issues sustained by children who are or have been homeless.

DAVID LYNDALE grew up in Michigan, where at a young age he began writing about the world around him. He eventually left snowy Michigan for the warmer sunny climate of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of the upcoming novel Watertown Fires.

ANGELA MACK at seven years old loved Wonder Woman. Her mom bought her a Wonder Woman swimsuit with gold bracelets and a cape. Angela believed she could fly. She dove from the couch to the loveseat and landed on her feet. Her flying powers got stronger, so she started jumping from the top of the bunk bed, making perfect landings. As her powers grew, so did her courage. She climbed onto the third floor window ledge. She could feel the wind blowing her cape, letting her know she was ready for takeoff: 3, 2, 1 . . . just then, her mom grabbed her, yelling, “Girl, you cannot fly!”

C. MANNHEIM loves imagery, whether graphic or verbal. Her photography has won local competitions. She has exhibited at the Art Crawl, the Dakota County Library, the Hennepin County Government Center, and the State Fair Fine Arts competition. She has also served as design consultant for The Linnet’s Wings, an Irish literary zine.

VIRGINIA L. MARTIN, a writer and editor all her professional life, completed her MA in mass communications. Her varied workplaces have included the Minnesota Historical Society and local hi-tech companies. She has now returned to history, researching and writing a book on urban renewal, historic preservation, and Summit-University.

DAVID MATHER is an archaeologist, writer, and gardener. He and his family enjoy life on Saint Paul’s West Side.

LISA MATHIESON is a multimedia artist living in Lowertown. She obtained her BA in art from Bethel University. She works primarily in glass, porcelain, and pen and ink. Check out her other work at www.lisacmathieson.com.

ROBERT MCCLAIN enjoys writing short stories that often  involve humor, social commentary, edgy dialogue, and/or highly controversial subject matter. Many of his story ideas originate from experiences during his youth growing up in Philadelphia, where the intense environment would put children in the position of living accelerated lives. He witnessed real-life drama that was often not age appropriate, but lots of “fun,” and the source of endless writing material for storytelling.

ROSE MCGEE is owner of Deep Roots Gourmet Desserts and creator of the “Sweet Potato Comfort Pie” concept—a catalyst for building and strengthening community. Her award-winning sweet potato pie was a guest in Washington, D.C., during the 2008 inauguration of President Obama, which featured Minnesota foods. She is co-author of a recently published book, Story Circle Stories, and is currently writing Can’t Nobody Make a Sweet Potato Pie Like My Mama: The History of Sweet Potato Pie.

TOM MCGREGOR writes, “The feeling of total immersion in a world of my own creation is something I strive for every time I paint. Painting on location (en plein air) combines my passion for being outdoors with my love of painting. The beauty of our natural and man-made world—the woods, the streams, the structures placed upon it—never ceases to fascinate me. I’m satisfied with a painting if it transports me to a particular place and time and, at the same time, looks like paint on canvas.” www.mcgregorart.com

RONEE MCHENDRIK is mother of three, grandmother of eight, and greatgrandmother of two. In addition to past publications as a biomedical research scientist, Ronee is currently writing a self-help book, Don’t Change, Just Bitch! She is still bogged down in the chapter, “How to relax and enjoy being a procrastinator.”

DAVID MCKAY is a media activist with a special interest in Saint Paul history. He rides a Harley Dyna low rider and is often inspired by his poet/writer wife, Linda Back McKay.

LINDA BACK MCKAY is a poet, writer, and teaching artist. She is the author of several books, including a book of poetry, The Next Best Thing (Nodin Press, 2011), and the nonfiction Out of the Shadows: Stories of Adoption and Reunion (North Star Press, 2012). She lives with the intrepid David McKay and their redhot motorcycle just across the river from Saint Paul, and she hastens to add, they were both born and raised in Saint Paul.

JAMES MCKENZIE got his first Saint Paul library card five years ago, when he retired here to the south from Grand Forks about the same time he began volunteering at the Center for Victims of Torture. He bikes to coffee shops every day, as far into the winter as possible, where he works on the great American autobiography.

LARRY D. MCKENZIE (“SLIM”)—Bread and buttered in Chicago. Salt and peppered in the Twin Cities. He has been writing for more than forty years and is currently working on The Adventures of Saladeen.

DEBORAH MCLAREN is a social entrepreneur and writer who lives with her family in Merriam Park—dangerously close to Izzy’s Ice Cream. Contact her at Deborah@mnmicro.net.

By day, MARIANNE MCNAMARA is a grandmother and self-avowed computer junkie. Her granddaughters keep her life filled with love, humor, and most especially wonder. By night, she writes poetry in celebration of the wonder.

PAULA MEEHAN was born and lives in Dublin, Ireland, and is the author of seven collections of poetry. She is the sixth Ireland Professor of Poetry. In April 2015, Meehan visited Saint Paul to receive the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry presented by the Center for Irish Studies at the University of St Thomas.

YUSEF MGENI is retired after serving more than forty years in leadership positions with community-based organizations serving low-income communities and communities of color. Mr. Mgeni has also contributed many years of service as a member of  numerous  local and national progressive civic and professional organizations.

DEBORAH LOUISE GILBREATH MONTGOMERY received her BA from the University of Minnesota, an MA from University of St. Thomas, and an MA from the Humphrey Institute, and she is a graduate of the Senior Police Management Institute at Harvard University. She and her husband, Robert, have been married thirty-eight years.

MICHAEL KIESOW MOORE is a published and award-winning writer whose work has appeared in publications including Talking Stick, Water~Stone Review, Evergreen Chronicles, The James White Review, and the book Losing Loved Ones to AIDS. Michael received his MFA in creative writing at Hamline University. His awards include a Minnesota State Arts Board fellowship and a Loft Mentor Series award. Michael teaches creative writing at the Loft Literary Center and curates the Birchbark Books Reading Series. He lives in Saint Paul with his cat, Cicero.

ALISON MORSE’s writing has been published in numerous journals and has won a Tiferet Fiction Award. Recently she edited the literary anthology Walls You Can Read, researched the Bangladesh garment industry through a grant from the Rimon Foundation, and wrote stories for the Women PeaceMakers program at the University of San Diego.

DAVID MURA has written the memoirs  Turning Japanese  (listed in the  NY Times Notable Books) and Where the Body Meets Memory, the novel Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire, and four poetry books, including  The Last Incantations.  He’s a member of the Don’t Buy Miss Saigon Coalition and helped found the Asian American Renaissance.

BOB MUSCHEWSKE is a retired management consultant who lives with his wife of four years, Leaetta Hough, in a Clarence Johnston home on Summit Avenue in Saint Paul. Both are avid photographers. Bob serves on the boards of Public Art Saint Paul and the Ramsey County Historical Society. www.370summitstpaul.com

JUDITH NIEMI is an Iron Ranger by birth (Eveleth) and habit, and a longtime freelance editor, writer, and wilderness guide. She’ll edit anything, writes mostly about travel and wilderness places. When not home in Saint Paul, she is probably teaching writing, canoeing, or animal tracking in northern Minnesota, Iceland, or the Peruvian Amazon. judith@womeninthewilderness.org

TIM NOLAN is a lawyer and poet in Minneapolis where he lives with his wife, Kate. Years ago, Tim lived in various apartments in Saint Paul, including one above the Animal Medical Clinic at St. Clair and Snelling, from which he ventured out often to the Clo-Spin Laundry.

JOHN O’BRIEN was born in the Bronx, New York, and moved to Minnesota in 1990. From 1998 to 2002 he worked as a freelance writer in Caracas, Venezuela. John is currently writing about his experience driving a cab in New York from 1985 to 1990, before it became Trumpatized.

KIM ODE is a veteran newspaper reporter and former columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She lives with her family in Edina, where the aroma of fresh-baked bread regularly wafts from the wood-fired brick bread oven in the back yard.

SHERONDA ORRIDGE is a longtime resident of Frogtown. She holds a doctoral degree in Holistic Life Coaching from the University of Sedona and is the owner-operator of Loving Spirit Life Coach Academy LLC. Sheronda is a mother, a community organizer, and a spoken word artist.

EMMANUEL ORTIZ is a Minneapolis-based poet and community organizer. He has published two chapbooks of poetry, The Word Is a Machete and Brown unLike Me. He is a founding member of the Minnesota-based Latino poets’ collective Palabristas: Latin@ Word Slingers.

MARTIN OWINGS is a local artist and illustrator who grew up in Saint Paul. Among his credits are shows at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, the Center for Hope, and the Ames Center. He is a member of the Twin Cities MetroSketchers, Minnesota Artists Association, and Outdoor Painters of Minnesota.

EVA PALMA-ZUNIGA is a Chilean journalist currently working as the Spanish acquisitions editor at Llewellyn Worldwide. She was the editor of La Prensa de Minnesota and one of the writers of Viceversa magazine in the Twin Cities. She also worked for the Resource Center of the Americas as the assistant editor of The Connections.

GORDON PARKS (1912–2006) was a photographer, filmmaker, writer, and poet who blazed an incredible path of artistic brilliance. He was born in Kansas and moved to Saint Paul at fifteen years of age. After working as a porter, against all odds he made a name for himself as a fashion photographer in Saint Paul and later became a photographer and reporter for Life magazine. He was famous for his gritty photo essays about the grinding effects of poverty in the U.S. and abroad. He wrote poetry and several books and screenplays. He wrote and directed The Learning Tree (1969) and Shaft (1971). His work won numerous awards.

NIGEL PARRY has lived in the Twin Cities for much of the last decade and has a special place in his heart for Lowertown, Saint Paul. A journalist, activist, web designer, and singer-songwriter, Nigel worked for the Saint Paul Almanac from 2008 to 2014 and today blogs and raises heck at nigelparry.com, works at nigelparry.net, and plays at pocketofresistance.net.

NOVEMBER PAW (she was indeed born in November) was a student at Roseville Area High School at the time of writing “November.” She took many mainstream classes like physical science and algebra and was honored as student of the trimester! In her spare time, she hoped to learn Spanish, piano basics, anatomy, and how to be a good badminton player.

RENEÉ PELTIER is a Lowertown photographer who has become one of the longtime fixtures in the community while working at the Depot Bar. It’s hard to imagine living in Lowertown and not knowing Reneé. She loves taking daily photos from her perch above the Mississippi River and has captured many of the river’s wonderful moods.

KAYE THOMPSON PETERS is an English teacher currently on leave from Saint Paul Public Schools. After two years teaching at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India, she will be teaching at ACS Egham International School outside London beginning in the fall of 2015. She is a former journalist and writes short stories and poetry.

RON PETERSON has been coaching November Paw and her sister December to learn English rapidly, using Rosetta Stone. He is the former chief technology officer of Honeywell, a community organizer, and a doting grandfather. He has written a science fiction novel, Children’s Chrysalis.

TODD PETERSON is a self-taught artist and member of the AZ Gallery, where each fall he organizes the annual Lowertown Art Show, which showcases the work of over sixty artists with connections to downtown Saint Paul.

CARRIE POMEROY has published her writing in CALYX, The Laurel Review, Literary Mama, Squat: The Radical Birth Journal, and the anthology Riding Shotgun: Women Write About Their Mothers, and she blogs for the Twin Cities Daily Planet. She has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation, and in 2013, she was named the Saint Paul Library system’s Volunteer of the Year.

J. OTIS POWELL! writes, “I am alternatively using punctuations in my name that express my personal journey toward wholeness while using them less in my poetry. I work as a writer, performance artist, mentor, curator, consultant, philosopher, Open Space Technology facilitator, public speaker, and arts administrator.”

PETER RACHLEFF is a labor historian who has taught at Macalester College and Metropolitan State University. He is a founding co-director of the East Side Freedom Library, which will be a center for labor, African American, and immigrant history, housed in the historic Carnegie Library on Greenbrier Street. He writes the monthly Conversations Between the Past and the Present blog in the Twin Cities Daily Planet.

STACY REMKE is a small-business owner in downtown Saint Paul. She has lived in the Twin Cities for over twenty-five years.

MARCIE RENDON, mother, grandmother, and sometimes performance artist, is an enrolled  member of the White Earth Nation and a playwright, poet, and writer. In stolen moments she mulls in her mind the stories that become her creative works.  She creates Raving Native Productions: theater that is NOT drums, feathers, or flutes.

SHERRY ROBERTS, a journalist turned novelist, is the author of Book of Mercy and Maud’s House. She has written essays for USA Today and other publications; you’ll find more essays on her blog at www.sherry-roberts.com.

MAYA ROSE is a painter and doll maker who lives in an artist cooperative in Lowertown. She has lived in Minnesota all her life, where, she admits, winters can be long, but you learn to treasure the warmth of the sun and the sweet personality of each changing season.

STEVE ROUCH has been creating images since 1971. He has won the Minnesota State Wedding Album competition and had his work selected for a show at Epcot Center at Disneyworld. He has published three fine art photo books, a book of poetry, and a book of short stories. He is a singer-songwriter, performing around town, and holds a second-degree black belt in karate. Most important, he believes in being silly and marveling at the mystery and majesty of life.

MARY KAY RUMMEL’s seventh book of poetry, The Lifeline Trembles, has just been published as a winner of the 2014 Blue Light Press award. She grew up in Saint Paul. She divides her time between Fridley, Minnesota, and Ventura, California, where she teaches part-time and is the first poet laureate of Ventura County, California.

DEB RUNYON/Closet poet/Since third grade/Owner/operator/Juanita’s Fajitas/At the MN State Fair/Listens to the wolves howl/At midnight/In her Como Park home with/Her husband/Two sons/Two dogs/First time submission/Ten minutes/Before/Deadline.

MIKE SANCHELLI (1915–2003), the son of Italian immigrants, was born and raised in Swede Hollow. He attended Johnson High School and served in the army during World War II. Afterward, he married and lived on the East Side. His two passions were playing music and writing about his Italian community.

RODRIGO SANCHEZ-CHAVARRIA is a writer and spoken-word poet of Peruvian heritage heavily involved with Palabristas, a Minnesota-based Latin@ poets collective. He is a graduate of the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and an involved activist in the Latin@ community. He writes about fatherhood; the duality of two cultures in English, Spanglish, and Spanish; and issues pertaining to his community and life experiences.

ADRIAN DANIEL SCHRAMM has been writing and illustrating since the day his mother handed him his first crayon. He has worked as a copywriter, ghost writer, and journalist, creating content for publications both online and in print all across the United States. His true passion, however, lies in fiction, and he spends most of his time toiling away tirelessly on the Great American Novel . . . or at least something worth reading. Find out more by visiting his website at www.tiltmn.com.

MAXIMILIAN SELIM is a Saint Paul native. Although his work as a video maker takes him all over the world, he always returns home to Minnesota. Max attended Saint Paul Central High School, has a degree in English from the University of Minnesota and a diploma in filmmaking from Prague Film School in the Czech Republic. He also co-owns the Play It Again Sports in Saint Paul. Check out his films, commercials, and photography at www.maxselim.com.

MAX SHULMAN (1919–1988) grew up in Saint Paul’s Selby-Dale neighborhood, graduated from Central High School, and earned a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota. His writings were invariably humorous and were published in novels and magazines. He eventually became a successful writer for theater and television.

ANURA SI-ASAR was born and raised in the historic Rondo community of Saint Paul. He is the co-publisher of Papyrus Publishing Inc. with his wife, Rekhet. He coordinates the Imhotep Science Initiatives, an African youth development program at the Cultural Wellness Center. Anura is also a firefighter for the City of Minneapolis.

ANDY SINGER has drawn and published cartoons and illustrations for over twenty years. His work appears regularly in the Funny Times, Cagle.com, La Decroissance, and a few alternative news weeklies. He occasionally publishes cartoons in more mainstream venues such as The New Yorker, Esquire, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, NPR.org, and the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. You can see more of his work at www.andysinger.com.

JULIA KLATT SINGER is the poet-in-residence at Grace Nursery School; coauthor of Twelve Branches: Stories from St. Paul (Coffee House Press); author of In the Dreamed of Places (Naissance Press), A Tangled Path to Heaven, and Untranslatable (both from North Star Press); and co-writer of numerous songs with composers Tim Takach and Jocelyn Hagen.

DR. IVAR E. SIQVELAND was born in Michigan in 1872 and practiced dentistry in Saint Paul from 1891 until he retired in 1943. In 1899, after having saved some money from his dental practice, he was presented with a decision of whether to buy stock in his friend Henry Ford’s new company or buy the first gasoline-powered car, a one-lunged Winton. He chose the car.

SU SMALLEN is an editor, writing center director, and the author of four collections of poetry. Honors for her work include nomination for the Pushcart Press Editors’ Book Award for Weight of Light  and being a Minnesota Book Award finalist for Buddha, Proof. www.susmallen.com

CYNTHIA SCHREINER SMITH is co-owner of CyBick Creative, a video production company she owns with her husband, Bick Smith. She is most proud of their historical film Gangsterland, a documentary-style movie about 1930s gangsters in Saint Paul. She has also worked at the Wabasha Street Caves since 1998, where her work as an historical tour guide complements her love of writing, history, and—of course—Saint Paul.

SUSAN SOLOMON is the editor/cartoonist of Sleet Magazine, an online literary journal.

LISA STEINMANN is a Saint Paul–based freelance writer, editor, and laundress who specializes in sorting, soaking, and scrubbing before hanging things on the line. She loves sunny mornings spent standing in the yard watching clothing flutter in the breeze. Each sock, tee shirt, and pair of blue jeans tells a story shaped by the wearer. At the end of the afternoon, it is a pleasure to gather and fold each piece, starchy-stiff and fragrant, into her arms.

DENNIS STERN was a farm kid from western Wisconsin who moved here to teach seventh and eighth grade at St. Rose of Lima School in Roseville, but he lost the job “because I was too liberal for the nuns and was dating one of the lay teachers.” He has worked in advertising for The Villager and Midway Monitor. He and wife, Mary Lee, have three sons who love playing disk golf with their “old man.”

ELIZABETH EILERS SULLIVAN is a writer, mother of four fun young boys, a SourcePoint Therapy Practitioner, and SomaYoga Therapy Teacher, who believes that the stories we tell can be transformed toward health and wellness. After many years telling herself the same story over and over, she has now grown the roots that stabilized her hypermobility of going and returning, going and returning, going and returning to Saint Paul, of which she is a native. 

MURIEL TATE writes, “We all think of yesterday, but in reality if we didn’t have progress we would become non-achievers. We must not forget that without dreams of walking on the moon, astronauts in space for weeks, electric cars, etc., there would be no progress. We must always reach for the stars, but still keep our feet on the ground. Yesterday was great but today is even better!”

MICHAEL TEFFERA was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He’s been here in Minnesota for eight years. He graduated in business management from Addis Ababa University and worked in the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia for five years. Now he works at Wells Fargo Bank. He has three hobbies: writing short stories and poems, watching movies, and riding his bicycle.

BARBARA LANGER THUKRAL lives in Highland Park with her husband and their three boys. She is fiercely loyal to Gillette Children’s Hospital, as well as school volunteerism. She seeks the elusive idea of sanity through her writing, running, and yoga, as well as coffee breaks with girlfriends and wine with her sisters.

DAVID TILSEN is still living in a rich fantasy world surrounded by family, friends, dogs, and squirrels. He doesn’t particularly like the squirrels.

KEN TILSEN (aka Mandamus) could always be found at a protest or at one of his seventeen great-grandchildren’s birthday parties. Ken believed in habeas corpus for all people, including Americans and non-Americans, native peoples, immigrants, activists, farmers, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Ken died in 2013.

MARK K. TILSEN is an Oglala Lakota Jewish poet born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He currently is studying creative writing and philosophy at Hamline University. A sometimes activist, he can be found scribbling in his notebook at Kopplin’s coffeehouse when hiding from irate professors.

WILL TINKHAM is the author of three novels: Bonus Man, No Happier State, and Alice and Her Grand Bell. He lives and writes in Minneapolis. In addition to his piece in the 2015 Saint Paul Almanac, he has published short fiction on three continents. Acting credits include the Guthrie Theater and Theatre in the Round. He can be found at www.willtinkham.blogspot.com.

SEBASTIAN TIPPETT attended Saint Paul Public Schools and was in seventh grade at the time he wrote “Saints’ Stadium.”

TOBECHI TOBECHUKWU is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. A photographer and artist, he has specialized in social documentary photography for over eighteen years, receiving several awards for his work, including the McKnight Photography Fellowship for Artists in 2004. He resides in Saint Paul with his wife, Zuri, and their daughter, Akira.

CAMEREN TORGERUD writes, “I come from a family full of photographers. As a teen I started taking photos of graffiti, which led to exploring abandoned buildings, looking for more graffiti. I then became fascinated with urban exploring. I love to photograph old buildings, sewers, and caves. I’m based out of Minnesota but I love to travel, explore, and find new places to photograph.”

DEBORAH A. TORRAINE worked as a theater artist in the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., and Minnesota. She was an award-winning short story author and wrote five locally commissioned children’s plays. Deborah’s hobbies included making pudding out of bread and turning water into wine. Deborah spoke survivor French and Spanish. Her favorite sayings included “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.” But if you want to know what that trouble has been . . . buy the book. Deborah died in 2011.

STEVE TRIMBLE lives in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood near Indian Mounds Park. He has researched, written, and taught Twin Cities and Minnesota history. He serves on the editorial board of the Ramsey County Historical Society. He has authored books and written several articles on Saint Paul in Ramsey County History magazine and contributes Saint Paul dates, birthdays, and quotes for the Almanac. He also collects novels set in Minnesota and plants heirloom tomatoes.

CYNTHIA UHRICH is an acting teacher, writer, and filmmaker. She has a studio in Lowertown, near the Green Line’s last stop, where her photo was snapped. She is thrilled to be included in this special edition of the Almanac. To learn more about her work at In The Moment Studio, go to www.ITMacting.com.

DAVID UNOWSKY, a lifetime Saint Paulite, was schooled at Ramsey School, Central High, and the University of Minnesota. He’s been a bookseller since 1970, when he founded Hungry Mind, later known as Ruminator Books. Currently David is events manager at SubText Bookstore in downtown Saint Paul. He thinks his seventies will be a kick-ass decade.

MATTHEW VAN TASSELL resides in South Saint Paul. He enjoys spending time with his four children and fourteen grandchildren. He also spends time painting and writing. Since retiring from the army two decades ago, he has worked as a school bus driver. This has given him freedom, and it also pays the rent.

AMY C. VANDERLING is a prolific artist working on a large body of art, including 1,000 images called Peace Is Abundant. Working out of her studio in Lowertown, she creates using India ink and oil paint sometimes as mixed media and other times independently from one another. www.amycernyvasterling .com

BAO VANG is hard at work, while many of you are asleep, as the executive producer and morning anchor at WSAW News Channel 7 in Wausau, Wisconsin. Bao’s family immigrated to the United States in 1978. She was born and raised in Saint Paul and attended Harding High School and the University of St. Thomas.

MAIVBOON VANG loves folktales, fairy tales, and myths, though what she’s studying is more on the sciences side than the humanities. She writes as a hobby and always has a terrible time with writing poetry, but she loves it anyway.

PAHCHIE VANG is a daughter, a sister, and an aunt at home; a leader, an artist, and a survivor at heart. A joker, a friend, and a BUNDLE OF JOY!

JESUS VEGA writes, “I was born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico, and came to the United States at age five. I currently attend Gordon Parks High School and am finishing my credits from Johnson High School, so I can move on to college. I work a full time job after school to help my parents with the bills and for my own needs. I love playing sports and being outside in the summer—I’m still getting used to the crazy Minnesota winters. I love spending time with my fourteen-year-old sister and seven-year-old brother, taking them sledding, shopping, to the zoo, and Valleyfair.”

CAMILLE VERZAL lives in Saint Paul. She has been writing in the corporate world for years but longs to earn a living as a screenwriter, short story writer, or children’s book author.

BETH L. VOIGT has been writing from an early age, first drafting stories she left around the house for her eight siblings to read; later writing narratives for her mentor, Emily Crofford, who lived across the street. More recently, she has published essays in local and national publications, including Christian Science Monitor, Midwest Home & Garden, Minnesota Moments, and Parenting, and in National Public Radio’s This I Believe series. Beth’s passion for writing is exceeded only by her love of family, whom she writes about often.

SAYMOUKDA DUANGPHOUXAY VONGSAY is an award-winning poet and playwright of the critically acclaimed play Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals (“Best Production of 2013” by l’etoile magazine). Her plays have been presented by Mu Performing Arts, the Unit Collective, Minnesota Fringe Festival, and the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists.

DAVID VU was born and raised in Minneapolis and has been writing poetry for thirteen years. He started writing poetry for school, but after years of encouraging words from teachers and friends, he decided to take poetry a little more seriously and started writing as a way to express himself. He debuted in the 2010 Saint Paul Almanac Lowertown Reading Jam: Redefining Hmong Men, alongside many other Hmong writers. As a new and upcoming spoken word artist, Vu hopes to perform more and continue with his poetry.

RACHEL WACKER (aka Dolan Cyr) is a full-time artist, community art event designer, and emerging curator based in Lowertown. She began signing her art as Dolan Cyr in 2009 to make a public distinction between her role as a visual artist and her role as an art advocate and organizer.

CONNIE WANEK, a frequent visitor to Saint Paul, is the author of three books of poetry, most recently On Speaking Terms, published in 2010 by Copper Canyon Press.  Her next book, Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems, will appear in 2016. www.conniewanek.com

CARY WATERMAN is the author of five books of poems. Her most recent book, Book of Fire, was a finalist for the Midwest Book Award. Her essay “Horizon” appears in the anthology The Heart of All That Is: Reflections on Home. Cary teaches poetry and memoir writing in the Augsburg College Low-Residency MFA Program. She lives in Saint Paul with her daughter and her dog, George.

GREG WATSON’s work has appeared in numerous literary journals and has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. He has written two books of poetry, What Music Remains and All the World at Once: New and Selected Poems (Nodin Press). He lives in the Mac-Groveland area of Saint Paul.

CLARENCE WHITE is a former bookseller living in the Merriam Park neighborhood of Saint Paul. He has worked and taught in artist residencies in Saint Paul and suburban schools and was a 2011–2012 Givens Foundation for African American Literature Retreat fellow. He is the calendar editor for the Saint Paul Almanac and the writer of This Week In Saint Paul, the Almanac’s weekly arts events blog. He is also the author of The Clarence White Blog.

SID CARLSON WHITE attends Mounds Park Academy. He doesn’t write as much as he should, as he is more likely to be found at a chess tournament or a math competition. He is known for the spontaneous limerick and comparing just about everything to baseball.

CAROLYN WILLIAMS-NOREN is the author of a chapbook of poems about motherhood, Small Like a Tooth (dancing girl press, 2015). She’s also the founder and tender of a free poetry library in her Minneapolis neighborhood (littlepoetrylibrary.org). Carolyn’s poem in the Almanac, “Still Life, St. Paul,” lives on under the title “Sin.” More on Carolyn’s writing at www.williams-noren.com. 

BRYAN THAO WORRA is a Laotian American writer and the author of On the Other Side of the Eye, Touching Detonations, and The Tuk-Tuk Diaries: My Dinner with Cluster Bombs. He appears in international publications across Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. He lives in the Twin Cities and raises crustaceans and carnivorous plants.

PA YONG XIONG, an undercover weirdo as she likes to call herself, graduated from Gordon Parks High School. She likes to daydream about escaping from all the peas in the same ol’ boring pod and into a fruit bowl of colors, but for now she enjoys hearing the shutters of her banged-up Canon camera. Hungry to learn more about photography, she jumps at every opportunity she gets to expand her knowledge of this art form, so that one day everyone can see beauty in everything, as she does.

PETER YANG is an artist residing in Saint Paul with his wife. He sometimes wants big things but more often believes he would be happy in a little home with four kids, playing Wow on his computer.

PATRICIA ANITA YOUNG was born in Saint Paul and now resides in Minneapolis. She is an accounting technician who enjoys writing freelance articles.

BEADRIN (PIXIE) YOUNGDAHL is a lifelong resident of Minneapolis with a deep curiosity about the city “over there.” She works as a registered nurse and has recently completed a novel that is visiting the slush piles of publishing houses and agency round files. Sometimes her writing is funny. Sometimes the editors just laugh at it. Beadrin@aol.com

A native New Yorker (now a “Minneapolitan”), MARYAM MARNE ZAFAR is a poet and member of the TGIFrybread Native Writers collective. As a collagelithographer she has had her work acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and in private collections. The diversity of her Seward and Phillips neighborhoods inspires and informs her poetry.

JAMES ZIMMERMAN lives in Saint Paul with his wife and three children. He has had stories published in the 2013 and 2015 Saint Paul Almanacs and is the author of the book Deliverance at Hand! (Freethought House, 2013). He was a senior at Hamline University in 2013.

ALLEN ZUMACH captures everyday Twin Cities scenes through digital photos—skylines, parks, neighborhoods—and extracts from them very striking, almost romantic, images. These images, available as notecards and prints, awaken memories and inspire awareness of the beauty found in our ordinary lives. For more information visit www.zumach.net.

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