I am a teaching artist at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, as well as an Adviser in Creative Non-Fiction for Foreword: A Writing Apprenticeship, a two-year intensive program for writers working on book-length projects which will, unfortunately, end in January of 2015 when the currently enrolled students are finished. I will be leaving Foreword in January 2014. The classes I teach include “Beginning Creative Non-Fiction,” “The Personal Essay,” “The Un/Common Story,” and “Learning Memoir from the Masters,” as well as occasional workshops on creative process or aspects of craft.
I have not scheduled any classes for the remainder of 2013 or for winter/spring 2014 because I am reserving my time to work on a book that is long overdue. Stay tuned . . .
Good News About My Current and Former Loft Students
Rachael Hanel‘s essays “Break the Plow” and “Bello Rostro de la Muerte” were chosen by Eula Biss to win the New Delta Review‘s 2011 Creative Nonfiction Contest. Rachael’s memoir, We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter is now available from the University of Minnesota Press. It’s a lyrical, moving, yet down-to-earth (pun unintended) story of growing up with death as both daily reality and personal sorrow. Check her website for readings and speaking engagements.
Claudia Poser has published Dreaming in German: A Memoir about the Meaning of Home, the story of her immigration from Germany as a teenager and her coming to terms with an American adulthood.
Diane Wilson’s Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past has been selected as the 2012 book for One Minneapolis One Read. She will appear at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Monday, September 24, at 7:00 p.m. Since this year marks the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Dakota War, which was followed by the exile of Dakota and Winnebago people from Minnesota, Spirit Car is a fitting choice, as well as the quality choice it would be in any year. Another of my stellar students, Curt Brown, has written a bold, widely sourced account of the still controversial war and its legacy in a six-part story, “In the Footsteps of Little Crow,” in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Vikki Reich, a Foreword student in creative nonfiction and a veteran blogger, was invited to read her blog post “Ministrations” at the BlogHer conference in New York City on August 3, 2012. Vikki was honored as one of the Voices of the Year Community Keynoters. I have known about this for a while, but had to keep it secret because the chosen Voices are revealed at the conference. I didn’t want to spoil the surprise, but I’m pleased to share the joy.
Scott Parker has published his memoir, Running After Prefontaine, with Inside the Curtain Press. Scott reviews books for Rain Taxi and co-edited Coffee – Philosophy for Everyone: Grounds for Debate, which came out in March 2011.
Darby Nelson’s long-awaited For Love of Lakes has been released by the University of Michigan Press. Darby’s career as a biologist makes him extremely well qualified to write about the preservation of freshwater lakes. His book was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.
Gary Mazzone, a longtime employee of Borders Books, lost his job in the Borders bankruptcy. He has resurfaced, however–still exuberant–as the Outreach and Sales Manager at Magers & Quinn Booksellers in Uptown Minneapolis.
Kim Heikkela has published Sisterhood of War: Minnesota Women in Vietnam with the Minnesota Historical Society Press. The book draws on oral history interviews with women who served as nurses in the Vietnam War. It was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.
Diane Wilson has published her second book, Beloved Child, with the Minnesota Historical Society Press. It follows up her family memoir, Spirit Car, by examining how Dakota people live with the heritage of historical trauma resulting from punishment and exile after the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War. Diane’s aim was to write “an uplifting book about genocide,” and she has succeeded.
Brian Landon has set aside his memoir about growing up immersed in pop culture to become a practitioner of pop culture, the author of comic mystery novels. That’s comic as in funny, not what we now call graphic novels.
Mary Jane La Vigne came in third in the Water-Stone Review‘s Creative Nonfiction Contest. Her essay, “On Incontinence,” appears in the Fall 2011 issue of Water-Stone. No, it’s not about the elderly. It’s about an incident at Burning Man, the annual counter-culture gathering in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Check out her blog or read her contributions to the Twin Cities Daily Planet.
Kara Garbe Balcerzak has a short essay called “A Burkinabe Man” in the Winter 2012 issue of Brevity, an online journal. Kara, now an MFA student at Minnesota State University in Mankato, is at work on a memoir about her Peace Corps experience in Burkina Faso.
Vikki Reich, a first-year student in the Loft’s Foreword program, is already an award-winning blogger. Her blog on gay parenting, Up Popped a Fox, not only has a large readership of gay parents, but draws straight parents, as well, and has been recognized for the generally applicable wisdom of its commentary on child raising. Check it out for its humor, too.
Larry Seuss, whose memoir, Still a Minstrel, has been out for a couple of years, is performing his own songs in venues all over the Twin Cities. Check his website.