David Mura: " I'm interested in the connections that can occur between people of different backgrounds"

Categories: Books, Spoken Word
Photo by Doug Beadsley
David Mura
David Mura will be celebrating the publication of his new book of poetry, The Last Incantations, on Friday with a reading at the Loft. The evening will double as a memorial for his late Aunt Ruth, who was a huge inspiration to Mura. Since her birthday was on March 28, Mura wanted to celebrate her life, especially as his other Aunt Ruby honered Ruth's wishes not to have a funeral last fall.

"I want to dedicate this reading to my Aunt Ruth, to commemorate her passing and her life and her gifts to me," Mura says. The reading will include performances by several of Mura's friends and collaborators, including Alexs Pate, Ed Bok Lee, Bao Phi, and Julianna Pegues. Before the event, we chatted with Mura over email about the new book, as well as his thoughts on poetry and writing.

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LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs performs poetry from TwERK

Photo courtesy the artist
LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs 
Writer and sound artist LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs visits the Walker Art Center this week to present work from her recent book TwERK, a collection of poems exploring things like sound, language, idioms, and pop culture, with some personal narrative thrown in as well. The event is part of the museum's Free Verse Series, in collaboration with Rain Taxi Review of Books. 

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Poonies at Patrick's Cabaret this weekend

J'Sun Howard, and Darrell Jones
There's a lot about Chicago that Minneapolitans have to feel kinship about. There's the cold weather, the love of biking, the thriving art and theater scene, and lots of great music. Plus, it's a reasonable road trip to get from one city to another. So it's no surprise when collaborations pop up between the two cities. For example, the returning Poonies at Patrick's features eclectic performances from three artists from Chicago and three from Minneapolis at Patrick's Cabaret this weekend.

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Ed Bok Lee's metatranslation poems at the American Swedish Institute

Photo courtesy Amelia Foster 
This Wednesday, poet Ed Bok Lee will be sharing work he's created as a resident at the American Swedish Institute through Coffee House Press's Writers and Readers Library Residency Program. For the residency, Bok Lee mined the archives of the museum in search of spontaneous poems in letters and diary entries from over 100 years ago. At the exhibition, titled "The Metatranslation Project," the original entries and Lee's poems will be on display in the Benson Gallery.

We talked with Bok Lee about the project, and he shared some of his thoughts about the "spiritual substance" he was trying to capture. 

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Mary Mack's Holiday Meat Raffle Show: Now with dogs in sweaters

Photo by Emily Gall 
Mary Mack's infamous holiday meat raffle show is back once again, and it's going to be bigger and better than ever. Instead of hosting it in the basement Clown Lounge at the Turf Club, Mack is taking her variety show to the much larger Cedar Cultural Center, where there will be a doggie sweater competition to make things interesting, as well as a meat candelabra. 

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Invisible Art celebrates Somali art and culture

Categories: Art, Spoken Word
Photo courtesy Kaamil Haider
Ka Joog, a Somali community cultural organization, holds its bi-weekly Invisible Art gathering tonight at Augsburg College. Somali poet Abwaan Abdirizak Alibos will be featured as a special guest. The ongoing evening cultivates multiple artistic disciplines while engaging Somali youth, adults, and non-Somali community members, and seeks to honor and preserve Somali culture.

See also:
The Somali Artifact and Cultural Museum opens this weekend

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Writers hone their craft around the Twin Cities

Photo by Sharyn Morrow
Laura Brandenburg at the Riot Act 
The Twin Cities may not be known as the place to go if you want to become a famous writer, but if you want to develop your craft? Well, there are worse spots. With lots of opportunities to perform, and a strong institutional support network in the form of nonprofits and funders, Minneapolis and St. Paul offers a lot for the permanently struggling artist. 

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Is Riot Act Reading Series going legit?

Categories: Spoken Word
Laura Brandenburg
Sharyn Morrow
Laura Brandenburg 
Folks familiar with the Riot Act Reading Series may have done a double take when they heard the news that the event would be hosted by the Loft this month. Is the scrappy brigade of low-brow denizens of basement bars -- who famously announce on their notices that they are "not responsible for lost or stolen items" and that "all models are 18 years of age" -- hanging up their hats and exchanging their 40s of Colt 45 for glasses of Pino Noir?

Related content:
Mark Mallman reads from his tour diaries at Riot Act Reading Series

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What is poetry? Women of the World Poetry Slam finalists

Categories: Spoken Word
Women of the World POetry 6.jpg
Denice Frohman, The Fuze (Women of the World Poetry Slam winner)
Last weekend, the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam brought nearly 80 poets from around the world to compete in Minneapolis over four days. In addition to competitive performance, the poets and the public were invited to participate in workshops including as No Shame No Silence: Addressing Sexual Violence in Community, open mics such as Nerd Slam, and curated poetry slams like Sassy Fat Girls!.

Related content:
2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam [slideshow]

Women of the World Poetry Slam: Minneapolis Qualifier

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The Moth Story Slam comes to the Twin Cities

Categories: Spoken Word
Logo the moth 1.jpg
The Moth, born in New York City in 1997, moved performance storytelling from folksy yarns and traditional tales toward a more personal and modern tone.

Along the way, it brought the genre to millions of new audiences, and drew performances from folks not previously thought of as storytellers, like Molly Ringwald, Ethan Hawke, Moby, and the late Christopher Hitchens.

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