Dear Loft Community,
From Day One, you’ve built and grown the Loft into the literary powerhouse it is today. As I’m sure you’ve seen, last week the Trump Administration proposed the complete elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. While this cut would have a minimal impact on the federal budget, it would have a devastating impact on artists and arts organizations across the country, including the Loft and the community of readers and writers we serve (you!).
The stakes of this proposal are high, so I’ll get right to the point: will you help us protect the NEA and the vital funding it grants to the Loft?
In an It’s Lit first, we’re doubling up and speaking with TWO artists in this week’s post. I first met Erin Sharkey several years ago through the Creative Writing Program at Hamline University, where we were both pursuing graduate degrees, and a couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting her artistic partner, Junauda Petrus. Together, the two form Free Black Dirt, a Minneapolis-based artist collective bridging the cultural and the magical.
Committed to creating original theatre and performance, hosting innovative events, organizing local artists, and promoting and supporting the emerging artists’ community in the Twin Cities, Free Black Dirt seeks to spark and engage in critical conversations. “Our primary focus is to create really high-quality, unique narratives around blackness, and particularly what it is to be black in Minneapolis,” Sharkey explained. She continued, “I think literature is at the heart of how we connect with our mission and with community. I think it’s about telling new stories, about celebrating stories, about being bold and irreverent to the rules about what stories are valuable.”
Grab a drink and crack open your notebook, it’s happy hour at the Loft! Our new Happy Hour Classes take place on Friday afternoons with a concurrent happy hour at the cafe downstairs from 3-6 p.m. Students can purchase a half-price beverage and bring it to the classroom. Start your Friday nights off right by mixing, mingling, and learning at the Loft!
This past week of traveling has revived my love for independent bookstores. They’re everywhere! Rather than go to a big-box store, why not visit Seminary Co-Op Bookstore in Chicago, Illinois; Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.; or Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver?
I’ve read a lot of poetry books this past year. Probably more poetry books than in the years working since undergraduate, I’m a bit sad to say. But part of the benefit of being back in school is that you have to read. During graduate school this past year, I read a poetry book every week.
I’m only about a month into my second semester and my life already feels thick with the usual things like books, lesson plans, articles, internship tasks, applications for summer funding, and poems crammed into whatever spaces are left on the ever-growing to-do list. What’s strange and somewhat surprising is my newfound sense of being settled here, amidst the barrage of tasks. Settled, but definitely not stagnant.
When I first heard that Melissa Wray would be taking over as Marketing Coordinator at the Loft, I thought to myself, “Yes, that is the exact right person for the job.” She’s been on my “to interview” list for quite a while, and now seemed like the perfect time for three reasons. Read on to find out why.
It took me a few years, but I've committed to writing about myself during life's most precious and raw moments. You should too.
This is sort of a strange post as I’m not actually in class or teaching from mid December through mid January, but in this liminal winter break place, I’m thinking a lot about revision. This idea of a “break” is sort of laughable to me since I think there’s always something to revise, and new pieces to write. The work never ends. I can always tinker but I don’t think I’d have it another way.
Tired of resolutions and lists yet? I’ve always been a non-resolution person. Instead I offer ways you can develop a list of simple and easily achievable writing goals. Take however much time it suits you to accomplish them. Weeks, months, years....