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The Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest is proud to sponsor poetry events that are part of the First Tuesday Laureate Writers Series of readings in Winona, Minnesota.

Su Smallen Love

Tuesday | February 7, 2023 | 7:00pm
Blue Heron Coffeehouse | 162 W 2nd St
Winona, MN

On Tuesday, February 7th at 7pm, Su Smallen Love will read from her poetry at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse as part of First Tuesday: The Laureate Writers Series. The reading will be followed by a short Q&A, a book signing, and an open mic. This event is free and open to the public.

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Su Love is the author of six collections of poetry, some published as Su Smallen, including Buddha, Proof, a Minnesota Book Award finalist and Weight of Light, a Pushcart Press Editors’ Book Award nominee. Her work has been recognized with the Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize and international publications, fellowships, and residencies from, notably, Vermont Studio Center, the Jerome Foundation with Tofte Lake Center, St. Croix Watershed Research Station, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Unamuno Author Series in Madrid, Spain, and Salmon Literary Centre in County Clare, Ireland. She is a 2023 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant through the Minnesota State Arts Board. Su was a founding member of Laurel Poetry Collective, a small press that published handsome books and broadsides for ten years. She taught in the graduate creative writing program at Hamline University and has been a visiting artist at several colleges and universities. Su was a professional dancer and choreographer, and her poetry has served as scores for dance and film. You can find some of these films and poems, as well as interviews at sulove.org.

Joyce Sutphen and Walter Cannon

Tuesday | January 10*, 2023 | 7:00pm
Blue Heron Coffeehouse | 162 W 2nd St
Winona, MN

On Tuesday, January 10 at 7pm, Joyce Sutphen and Walter Cannon will read from their poetry at the Blue Heron Coffee House. Please note that because of the holidays this event will be on the second Tuesday this month.

Joyce Sutphen is a former Poet Laureate of the state of Minnesota. Her first collection, Straight Out of View, won the Barnard New Women Poets Prize and her collection, Naming the Stars, won the Minnesota Book Award in poetry. Carrying Water to the Field: New and Selected Poems is introduced by Ted Kooser and contains poems from her first seven full collections. Her chapbook, This Long Winter, is now available and her new book, That Other Life, is forthcoming. She is Professor Emeritus of English at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter, MN. Other chapbooks are First Words, After Words, and Modern Love & Other Myths as well as two other books, Coming Back to the Body and Naming the Stars. Many of her poems reflect her early life on a farm in rural Minnesota.

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Walter Cannon is the author of The Possible World, a chapbook collection, and his poems, essays and reviews have appeared in a variety of journals and books including “Nimrod,” “The Blue Earth Review,” “Mid-America Poetry Review” and “The Upstart Crow.” Cannon co-edited a collection of essays entitled Who Hears In Shakespeare? Auditory Worlds on Stage and Screen. Cannon has participated in poetry workshops at Squaw Valley and Sligo, Ireland in connection with the Yeats School, where he has been an invited lecturer. He also has been the recipient of grants from the Iowa Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is Professor Emeritus of English at Central College in Pella, Iowa.

Following the readings, there will be a book signing followed by an Open Mic. This First Tuesday Laureate Writers Series event is open to the public and is sponsored by the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest, in partnership with the Blue Heron Coffeehouse.

Orval Lund

Tuesday | December 6, 2022 | 7:00pm
Blue Heron Coffeehouse | 162 W 2nd St
Winona, MN

Walter Cannon is the author of The Possible World, a chapbook collection, and his poems, essays and reviews have appeared in a variety of journals and books including “Nimrod,” “The Blue Earth Review,” “Mid-America Poetry Review” and “The Upstart Crow.” Cannon co-edited a collection of essays entitled Who Hears In Shakespeare? Auditory Worlds on Stage and Screen. Cannon has participated in poetry workshops at Squaw Valley and Sligo, Ireland in connection with the Yeats School, where he has been an invited lecturer. He also has been the recipient of grants from the Iowa Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is Professor Emeritus of English at Central College in Pella, Iowa.

Following the readings, there will be a book signing followed by an Open Mic. This First Tuesday Laureate Writers Series event is open to the public and is sponsored by the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest, in partnership with the Blue Heron Coffeehouse.

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Local writer Orval Lund will be the featured writer at the Laureate Writers Series First Tuesday program on December 6 at 7:00pm at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse. Lund will present work from his new collection of poetry Heading Home, and the evening will conclude with an open mic session at which members of the community can present an example of their own writing.

Orval Lund is from Lancaster, population 300, in the far northwest corner of Minnesota, and his work reflects the landscape of life formed while he was riding a tractor as a kid over land dominated by horizon. The main character in his work is named “Swede” and his mate is Signe, wittier and wiser versions of Ole and Lena. Swede came of age in the 50’s. He delivered newspapers, experienced A-bomb drills, suffered through penmanship exercises, swam naked in the swimming hole, loved his baseball and trout fishing, and endured a Lutheran taciturnity.

Beneath these experiences lie the deeper concerns lurking in the poems—current events, science, marriage, parenting, and the mysteries of the natural world. Lund strives to provide clear and understandable poems that are at once well-crafted, often humorous, and serious.

An Army veteran and former member of the Minnesota Humanities Commission, Lund also has a long history of literary engagement. He was a professor of English at WSU for 33 years, and while there also worked as an organizer of the Great River Writers’ Conferences and as an editor of the nationally recognized literary journal Great River Review. His work has appeared widely in many publications. His previous published books of poetry are Take Paradise (1989), Ordinary Days (1996), and Casting Lines (1999).

This First Tuesday Laureate Writers Series event will be sponsored by the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest, in cooperation with the Blue Heron Coffeehouse.

Kimberly Blaeser

Wednesday | November 9, 2022 | 7:00pm
Blue Heron Coffeehouse | 162 W 2nd St
Winona, MN

Kimberly Blaeser will read from her recent poetry and prose as part of the Laureate Writers Series at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 9th at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse. Note that this is the second Wednesday of the month. This event is usually held on the first Tuesday of the month, but has been moved due to scheduling problems. The reading will be followed by a book signing and an open mic for up to ten readers. Anyone is invited to participate.

Kimberly Blaeser is past Wisconsin Poet Laureate and founding director of In-Na-Po—Indigenous Nations Poets. She is the author of five poetry collections including Copper Yearning, Apprenticed to Justice, and Dancing Resistance. Blaeser edited Traces in Blood, Bone, and Stone: Contemporary Ojibwe Poetry and authored the monograph Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition. An enrolled member of White Earth Nation, she is an Anishinaabe activist and environmentalist, Professor Emerita at UW–Milwaukee, and MFA faculty for the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her photographs, picto-poems, and ekphrastic pieces have appeared in exhibits such as “Visualizing Sovereignty,” and “No More Stolen Sisters.” Accolades include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas and a Wisconsin Library Association Notable Author award for her body of literary work. Blaeser lives in rural Wisconsin and in a water-access cabin near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. More information is available at kblaeser.org.

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Steve McCown

Tuesday | October 4, 2022 | 7:00pm
Blue Heron Coffeehouse | 162 W 2nd St
Winona, MN

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The First Tuesday Laureate Writers Series returns after being on hold for more than two years because of Covid. Held on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at 7:00pm at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse (162 W 2nd St in Winona), this year’s opening event will feature Northfield, Minnesota poet Steve McCown. This will be a homecoming for McCown, who was born and raised in Winona. The event is free and open to the public with an open mic session for up to ten writers following McCown’s presentation.

McCown graduated from Winona State University and earned a Master’s Degree in English at Northern Arizona University. For over 30 years he taught English and drama in the San Pasqual Unified School District in Winterhaven, California, and English part-time at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Arizona. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he has published poems in several literary journals, and five of his poems are imprinted in the sidewalks of Northfield, where he currently resides with his wife Barbara, also a WSU graduate. His first book of poetry Ghosting was published in 2020 by Shipwreckt Books Publishing Company, which recently established its new home in Winona.