A National Poetry Month Celebration: An Evening With Local Poets and Poetry Out Loud Students

Posted on Mon, Apr 14 2014 1:00 pm by Rae Wood

Not only is April the month in which we celebrate seeing grass in our front lawns, shedding layers of clothing and witnessing wildlife return with raucous calls and cries, it is also the month to celebrate the importance of poetry in our lives. April—National Poetry Month—is a time to observe beauty in the world and in words.

Of course, for word-loving folks, every part of the year is an opportunity to embrace poetry. This has been especially true for many high schoolers across the state who have worked diligently to understand, memorize and recite poetry as part of the Poetry Out Loud national recitation competition. This year, the Loft had the opportunity to manage the Poetry Out Loud program for the state of Minnesota. We observed talented students from all over the state deliver wonderful poems to the audience during Minnesota's Poetry Out Loud State Finals in March. The winner, Faiza Abubakar from Ubah Medical Academy in Minneapolis, will go on to represent Minnesota at the national contest in Washington, D.C., later this month.

All participants in Minnesota Poetry Out Loud this year ushered us into National Poetry Month with a renewed love of the craft and a thirst to hear more poetry aloud. That is why the Loft, in partnership with the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), have invited local poets and select metro area Poetry Out Loud participants to come together for an event on April 16 celebrating National Poetry Month and a great season of poetry recitation competition in Minnesota. Free and open to the public, the first half of event will be a fun opportunity for professionals and students alike to recite poems that have inspired creativity and to share original work. The second half with be a casual question and answer about the craft of poetry from creation to performance, moderated by a local poetry expert.

We're pleased to feature four wonderful poets on the panel for this event:

Kris Bigalk is a poet and the Director of Creative Writing at Normandale Community College. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Repeat the Flesh in Numbers, was released from New York Quarterly Books in February 2012. Her work also appears in the anthologies Open to Interpretation: Water’s Edge (Taylor and O’Neill, 2012) and Poetry City, USA, Volume 2 (LowBrow Press, 2012) and Poetry City, USA, Volume 3 (LowBrow Press, 2013).

Sierra DeMulder is a two-time National Poetry Slam champion and is one of the most accomplished and recognizable young women in the world of slam poetry. She has two published books of poetry, The Bones Below (Write Bloody Publishing, 2010) and Shoes on a Dead Horse (Write Bloody Publishing, 2012), and has been featured on hundreds of stages across the country. She is also the recipient of a 2014 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Writers.

Lewis Mundt is a poet and organizer of the Hamline University Poetry Slam (HUPS) which has been widely supported and recognized by Twin Cities community members and nationally-recognized touring performance poets. He is the author of You Better Close That Window; They Say It's Gonna Rain Tonight (Beard Poetry, 2010) and has work featured in Poetry Observed, The Mas Tequila Review, The Indiefeed Performance Poetry Podcast, and Paper Darts. 

Bao Phi is a two-time Minnesota Grand Slam champion and a National Poetry Slam finalist. He has appeared on HBO Presents Russell Simmons Def Poetry, and a poem of his appeared in the 2006 Best American Poetry anthology. His poems and essays are widely published and his first collection of poetry, Sông I Sing, is published by Coffee House Press.

We hope you’ll join us for the fun and casual night of poetry. Free and open to the public, the event will take place at:

Rondo Library in St. Paul
461 N Dale St., St. Paul, MN 55103
April 16, 5-7 p.m.


Rae Wood is the Loft's Poetry Out Loud Intern.