I grew up in the Dale-Selby neighborhood of Saint Paul. To be more
exact, we lived in the upstairs of a duplex just off the corner of Dayton
and St. Albans, one block from Dale and one block from Selby.
When I see sweet potatoes, I often think of Deborah Torraine. Deb
was a community organizer in the Twin Cities. She always referred
to herself as a cultural worker; she was a mentor to new and
emerging artists, and the Director of Community Engagement for
the Saint Paul Almanac.
Driving back from the reservation, I cross a small bridge into Saint Paul. I feel the troubled waters. I think of my grandfather’s people,the Dakota. I think of how they lived by the water, how they made fire by the water.
“The biggest tragedy is those people that don't have the arts in their life. They go to work and come home and don't do anything.”
—Bryan Thao Worra, Laotian-American poet
“I do hope that in my blundering way through life I may in a small measure defend the dignity of common men and prove of some sustaining power to the suffering souls I meet... I have small faith in any man’s religion if he feels above those who are unfortunate.”
—L. C. Larry Ho Hodgson, Saint Paul mayor and poet
“Who does not love a Minnesota winter, with its clear bracing air—its blue sky and its life-giving atmosphere?... Fear not then, the blast of coming winter. Pile on the wood, let the cracking fire shed its heat while the Northwestern winds howl about our doors.”