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It's Lit: Recap

Posted on Thu, May 4 2017 9:00 am by Sara Krassin


Well folks, it’s been fun but every internship must come to an end. I’ve eaten copious baked goods, looked behind the curtain of the Twin Cities lit scene, and met dozens of amazing and inspiring artists and arts supporters along the way.

I’d like to thank the Loft for granting me this opportunity, the artists below for sharing their time and thoughts with me, and YOU for reading! Before I go, here’s one last look at some of the talented and passionate folks who are keeping the Twin Cities lit.

Poets & Pints  l  David Bayliss
“In January 2016, John Rezmerski came to read. I didn’t actually know who he was at the time. He came and read open mic, and as he came through, the crowd parted like the Red Sea for him. We had him [back] in August, and he read the entirety of his brand new chapbook Cataloging the Flow. I never say favorite, but that’s the reading I loved the most.”

First Mondays @ Troubadour  l  David Bayliss
“Art is an attempt at communication. And being human requires that we live with each other and communicate with each other. That we create community. [...] The thing I really like with what we’ve been doing with our poetry scene here is that we do have this kind of collective audience, or community, that’s been formed around this.”

Bridges  l  Stanley Kusunoki
“[In high school] I discovered Denise Levertov, and found out that poetry wasn’t all just beautiful imagery. It was actually about real life stuff, and real hard stuff. And you could be political. And that was cool.” Later, as an Asian Inroads mentee at the Loft, Kusunoki began writing poems about the WWII Japanese American internment camps. “I discovered really late in life about the camps in WWII, that both my parents were in, and I was furious. Of course it’s not in our history books, so I started imagining what it was like.”

Black Table Arts  l  Keno Evol
“[TruArtSpeaks] was the catalyst for me to learn that the poem goes beyond the page. That it can be used as a tool to organize, and a tool to teach.” Evol continued to say,“I think facilitating time and space for people to articulate their own identities, for people to articulate their principles, what they care about, their social location...is incredibly important. One of my favorite writers, James Baldwin, wrote that he knew if he could describe it, he could conquer it.”

New Sh!t Show Minneapolis  l  Lewis Mundt
“I think that live literature, especially open mics, lets people in. It lets people into the community, at the same time it lets people out of themselves.” Mundt continued to say, “I think that being a writer, and the writing process, can feel like a vacuum sometimes. And live literature is a way to invite more people into the room, and to break the vacuum seal a little bit. So that’s what I really love about it.”

Beard Poetry  l  Lewis Mundt
“Literature’s always been a way for me to process the world, a way to kind of take control over confusion. I think literature helps us compartmentalize stories, and by extension [helps us] to think about what’s going on with ourselves, with the world, with the things we do and don’t understand. Reminding us how to tell stories helps us figure out how to narrate the world on our own terms. And I think that’s why literature is really important, because if we can’t actively participate in the story of the world I don’t know what we’re left with.”

Free Black Dirt  l  Erin Sharkey & Junauda Petrus
“One of the things we’ve been engaging in the last couple years is the prison industrial complex. We’ve really been thinking about the ways in which artists are essential to dismantling the prison industrial complex and the police state. And how at first blush it feels like it’s impossible, that we can’t survive without the prison industrial complex. But it’s important to remember that someone dreamed it, someone created it, and that there was a time before the prison state. And there needs to be people thinking about it in order for anything to change. Or else people who are motivated by profit or by power or by whatever else will take the reigns, they always have.”

Poetry City USA  l  Matt Mauch, Patrick Werle, Sandra Youngs, & Kayla Little
“I grew up in a very small town, poetry wasn’t anything that I knew about or interested me. But in college, I had a really great group of undergraduate professors and discovered poetry. I felt like poetry, as a tribe, found me. And it just felt like I belonged, like that way of seeing the world was the way I saw the world, and everything about it fit and it could never have not been in my life after that. It was like love at first sight.”

Water~Stone Review  l  Meghan Maloney-Vinz
“Call me analog, but I still feel like there is something to be said for the physicality of words, the weight of a book, the texture of its paper. [...] I can always be reminded of that feeling, that call to action, that image, whatever it is, when I pick up that book and feel that page and see that dog ear and have that physical sensation of underlining that line. There is an emotional weight to physical weight, it’s just really good to hold a book.”

Sara Krassin is a Minneapolis based poet, editor, and bibliophile. She currently serves as Poetry Contest Editor for the Water~Stone Review, reads submissions for Jellyfish Highway Press, and interns at The Loft Literary Center in Marketing & Communications. Her poems have appeared in Third Point Press, Artemis Journal, and The Sand Canyon Review. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.