March 27, 2010

Reading/Performance Next Week!

Please join "Critical Dialogues: Crossings in American Studies" for an
adapted performance of...

* **Chinese Black White Women Got the Beat (revised)*

featuring Lori Young-Williams & Sherry Quan Lee**

*Two mixed-race women, 20 years apart in age, discuss their lives. See how
different, and not so different, they are...***

Tuesday, March 30

3:30-5:00pm**

Appleby Hall 103

****Note Location Change******

* *

Refreshments will be provided
**

* *

Sponsored by the Department of American Studies**

----**

*Lori Young-Williams* is a 41-year-old prose poet, born in St. Paul. She
comes from a working-class family that believes in laughing, crying, and
praying when times are good, bad or otherwise. Lori has one brother, one
sister, and another sister who passed away when she was 14. She received her
degree in Human Relationships with an emphasis in family relationships at
the University of Minnesota, 1992. Lori works a 9-5 job in Human Resources
and Finance, but her passion is her writing. Most of her poetry is about her
family--family relationships and how they impact her life. She has been
published in *Interrace Magazine*, the Turtle River Press, the National
Library of Poetry, Quill Books, "Dust & Fire," and other anthologies. Also,
she has self-published two chapbooks. She has read in various bookstores,
coffee shops, and spoken word events in the Twin Cities. Lori recently
was accepted as a participant for the Givens Black Writers Retreat,
with Sonia Sanchez and Carolyn Holbrook. She is currently working on
her Master's thesis through the Master of Liberal Studies program at
the University of Minnesota. She has studied with Rose Brewer,
Carolyn Holbrook, Sherry Quan Lee, and others.**

* *


*Sherry Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and
as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. *Quan
Lee taught Creative Writing at Metropolitan State University for ten years,
and now teaches community-based workshops such as Stories that Save Lives,
and Bookmaking. She is also a mentor. For the past eight years, Quan Lee
has been, and currently is, a Program Associate for the Split Rock Arts
Program Summer Workshops, College of Continuing Education. Quan Lee earned
an AA degree at North Hennepin Community College (honored as a Distinguished
Alumni in 2004), and a BA and MFA (first Chinese/Black woman, in 1996, to
graduate from the, then, newly established MFA Program) at the University of
Minnesota.

Quan Lee is the author of *A Little Mixed Up*, Guild Press, 1982 (second
printing), *Chinese Blackbird*, a memoir in verse, published in 2002 by the
Asian American Renaissance, republished 2008 by Loving Healing Press, and *How
to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman's life*, Loving
Healing Press, 2008. http://www.sherryquanlee.com /
http://blog.sherryquanlee.com

February 24, 2010

Untitled

[sigh]
contemplating
as i look at my list

the never-ending to do list
that i avoid to do

list of tasks,
of goals,
of resolutions.

organized
in priority order
by longest standing date

memorized to the d
details so clear
they sometimes blur
with insignificance

a list
that screams for me to
check off its boxes
boxes attached to tasks
tasks that hang on
for days
for weeks

dragging an illusion
to complete satisfaction

wish i could
shred it
yes, shred it to

p
i
e
c
e
s

[sigh]

then, restart
with one thing to do:

1) live.

-chuayi

Cross My Heart & Hope to Die: A Memoir
ASMorgan
Now Available at True Colors Bookstore, Amazon.com and PublishAmerica.com

Lifelines

by Aundria Sheppard Morgan

Lifeline-- (1) an anchored line thrown as a support to someone falling or drowning; (2) a means or route by which necessary supplies are transported.
--The American Heritage Dictionary
Sometimes lifelines slip.

Sometimes the person reaching out loses her grip. Battle weary, she's unable to hold on. Or grasping the line, it cuts into her palms, wrenches her shoulder. At other times the savior falters. A dangerous setting, a gust of wind, another cry for help or her own cries of distress distract; she slackens the line. Perhaps deep down she doubts the mission. Or she has grown weak from repeatedly tossing out and towing in the line--often alone.

Sometimes lifelines slip. Here, we let go when a new cry goes up. We often lose the one, in our frenzy to save thousands. Caught up in the emotion of the moment--the spotlight that validates the latest tragedy and by default negates yesterday's tears--we follow the media rather than our heads and hearts. We allow others to dictate who is worth saving and who is not; others decide who is our miracle and who can stumble, fall, die.

Sometimes lifelines slip when today we forget what wrenched our hearts yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. We move on before we can heal or help others heal. We paint smiley faces and write happy endings. We forward feel good e-messages, blogs, texts, tweets. We manufacture hope on fresh graves and barely cold bodies. We turn the page, flip the channel, then are outraged when the unthinkable happens again and again and again.

Sometimes lifelines slip. But we can change our pattern, alter our history, and learn from pain-filled mistakes. Let's shore up the lifelines and pull ourselves and each other to a true place of healing.

February 22, 2010

What Next: Writing Prompt - February 22 - 28

What next?

Being off this semester and seeing the end of my program in the distance (two more classes, but a ton of writing), I have been asking myself the question - what next?

Do I keep plugging along on my bibliography, reading the next book to inspire more research? Or do I buy groceries? Or do I clean and dust the house...has it been a month? Or do I sit in front of the TV and catch up on Project Runway and America's Next Top Model? Or worse yet, get sucked in by Bravo's Housewives of - you fill in the blank.

What next?

Please share your thoughts, stories, poems, essays, and prose pieces on this topic. See the "How to Become an Author" blog entry for further information on responding to this and all future prompts. We welcome all posts, if your writing doesn't end up speaking to the prompt but is triggered by it, we want to know!

Happy Writing!

February 16, 2010

In my own way

Can't say how many times
I sit in the second bedroom/office and
wonder why I cannot write.

It's the desk. Not the right height.
It's the chair. I need a new chair
It's the paper. The notebook isn't doing it for me.
It's the cleaning. Look at the dust on the file cabinet.
It's this and it's that...again.

I stall and there I am. In my own way.
Waiting for some kind of mood to move
me, crying desperation or busting with anger,
to write down all those yummy feelings, thoughts.

I stall and there I am. Looking at the desk,
file folders on right side and books on the left,
unchanged from the day before and the day before that...
and nothing written, wishing the pages away.

I worry the clothes wont get washed,
the groceries won't get bought, or
the damn apartment won't get cleaned.

I worry I will not write again
(we have all told ourselves that one).

I stall

and here I am,

writing...

-Lori Young-Williams
2/16/10

February 1, 2010

A Saturday Workshop for Women about Women

"There was a woman here who was loved." Joy Harjo

February 20, 2010
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

TRUE COLORS BOOKSTORE http://truecolorsbookstore.com/

SHARING OUR WOMEN'S STORIES: AN ORAL TRADITION will focus on stories of women in our lives. Stories of women in our families, and/or stories of women who have crossed our paths. Is there a particular woman you want to or need to write about?

This workshop is for writers and non-writers alike--everyone has stories!

Join Sherry Quan Lee and Lori Young-Williams for a lively and thought-provoking day of writing (letters, poems, and/or short narratives). We will use photos, maps, memorabilia, and history books. We will read stories by other women, as well as our own--stories recalled from great-grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunts, and girlfriends.

This will be an engaging day of story sharing -written / visual / oral!!!

Cost for workshop: $40.00 plus a donation to True Colors bookstore of a used book or dvd. Please bring cash or check payment to the workshop. To register, e-mail Lori at youngwms@yahoo.com. Workshop limited to twelve participants.

Lori Young-Williams is a 42 year old prose poet born in St. Paul. She comes from a working class family that believes in laughter, crying, and praying when times are good, bad or otherwise. Lori has one brother, one sister, and another sister who passed away when she was 14. She received her degree in Human Relationships with an emphasis in family relationships at the University of Minnesota, 1992. Lori works a 9-5 job in Human Resources and Finance, but her passion is her writing. Most of her poetry is about her family--family relationships and how they impact her life. She has been published in Interrace magazine, the Turtle River Press, the National Library of Poetry, Quill Books, Dust & Fire and other anthologies. Also, she has self- published two chapbooks. She has read in various bookstores, coffee shops, and spoken word events in the Twin Cities. Lori recently was accepted as a participant for the Givens Black Writers Retreat, with Sonja Sanchez and Carolyn Holbrook. She is currently working on her Master's Thesis through the Master of Liberal Studies program at the University of Minnesota. She has studied with Rose Brewer, Carolyn Holbrook, Sherry Quan Lee, and others.
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/leexx065/writingmulticulturalidentity/

Sherry Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. Quan Lee taught Creative Writing at Metropolitan State University for ten years, and continues to teach community workshops such as Stories that Save Lives, and Bookmaking. Currently she is a Program Associate for the Split Rock Arts Program Summer Workshops and Seasonal Retreats at the University of Minnesota. She has done consulting for SASE: The Write Place, a community based literary organization. She was a selected participant for the Loft Literary Center's Asian Pacific Inroads Program, and in 2000 she was the mentor for that program. She was a selected participant for the Asian American Renaissance's (AAR) Writers' Block Program to mentor youth. She edited several of AAR's annual journals, and curated AAR cabarets. Quan Lee was a selected participant for the first Cave Canem retreat for Black Poets in Esopus, New York. She earned an AA degree at North Hennepin Community College (has since been honored as a Distinguished Alumni), and a BA and MFA at the University of Minnesota. Quan Lee has edited Body of Stories, the fifth journal of the Asian American Renaissance, and Spirits, Myths and Dreams: Stories in Transit, the fourth journal of the Asian American Renaissance; as well as, I Am Who You Fear I Am, poems by Deborah Kelly, (distributed by Kitchen Table Women of Color Press) Corn Songs, poems by Virginia Allery (Turtle Mountain Reservation), and Chromosomes and Genes: an interracial anthology, (Guild Press, 1980's). Quan Lee is the author of A Little Mixed Up, Guild Press, 1982 (second printing), Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse, published 2002 by the Asian American Renaissance, republished 2008 by Loving Healing Press, and How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman's life, Loving Healing Press, 2008. http://www.SherryQuanLee.com
http://www.blog.sherryquanlee.com

January 25, 2010

What's in Your Way: Writing Prompt Jan. 25 - 31

It's been awhile since I have posted a writing prompt. School got in the way...along with other life issues.

Which is my writing prompt. What gets in the way of doing what you want to do, write, sing, draw, visit with friends, take a day off, the list is endless! How do you get around the barrier that is in your way? Are there times of the year where you have more conflicts than other times? What gets in your way and how do you solve the problem or not.

Please share your thoughts, stories, poems, essays, and prose pieces on this topic. See the "How to Become an Author" blog entry for further information on responding to this and all future prompts. We welcome all posts, if your writing doesn't end up speaking to the prompt but is triggered by it, we want to know!

Happy Writing!

October 1, 2009

School: Writing Prompt October 1 - 7

School, I feel like that's my life right now: learning, writing, interacting with classmates, teachers, instructors, staying up late, catching up on reading assignments, trips to the library, searching for books, files and articles, losing sleep, worrying, passing tests, failing classes, endless hours on your a-- in front of a desk, table or other hard surface. The list is endless.

What is your school experience? Are you thinking of going back to school? What memories, good, bad or otherwise, do you have of school?

Please share your thoughts, stories, poems, essays, and prose pieces on this topic. See the "How to Become an Author" blog entry for further information on responding to this and all future prompts. We welcome all posts, if your writing doesn't end up speaking to the prompt but is triggered by it, we want to know!

September 28, 2009

Maxine Hong Kingston/ The Art of Making Peace

Sponsored By: Department of English
Additional Sponsors: Ted Mann Concert Hall

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Cost:
Free and open to the public

Ted Mann Concert Hall
Minneapolis Campus

Contact:
Terri Sutton at 612-626-1528
sutt0063


From her first groundbreaking melange of imagination and (self-)history The Woman Warrior (1976), to her striking account of life during wartime (her lifetime, from WWII to the Iraq War) The Fifth Book of Peace (2003), Maxine Hong Kingston has created some of the most widely read (and taught) literature of the late 20th century. She has won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Award, NEA Awards, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and, in 2008, The Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. And she has taught and mentored thousands of writers, from Hawaiian high school students and undergraduates at the University of California, Berkeley, to the veterans she has met through her writing-and-mediation workshops (and whose work she edited in the award-winning 2006 collection Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace). The Department of English is honored to host her. Reception and book-signing to follow.

Givens Black Writers Collaborative Retreat

Passing along information regarding the Fall Givens Black Writers Retreat.
Lori


The Givens Foundation for African American Literature
Invites Black Writers in Minnesota to Apply
For the 2009-2010 Givens Black Writers Collaborative Retreat Program

Information Session: October 7, 2009, 7P @ Open Book Rm. 303
Application Deadline: October 21, 2009
For More Information Visit: www.givens.org

For more than 20 years, the Givens Foundation for African American Literature has been the only organization in the Twin Cities exclusively dedicated to advancing and celebrating black literature and writers. At the Givens Foundation, we understand that African American writers are the future of African American literature. This is one reason that we developed the Givens Black Writers Collaborative Retreat Program -- to promote the "writing life," to support the crafting of excellence in African American literature, and to provide opportunities for the creation of literary collaboration, community, and the sacred space within which art is born.

Collaboration Retreat Program Quick Facts
What: A program for 10 emerging and established black writers living in Minnesota that includes a four-day retreat, writing workshops, one-on-one mentoring, peer support and a literary performance.
Retreat Dates: Nov. 12-15, 2009 (4 days, 3 nights)
Retreat Location: The Dwelling in the Woods, McGrath, MN (www.thedwellinginthewoods.org)
Mentoring Writers: Ishmael Reed (National) & Laurie Carlos (State)
Mentoring Workshops: November 2009 to April 2010
Literary Performance: April 2010
Cost: Free (Sponsored by the Jerome Foundation)

Eligibility Criteria
In October of 2009, 10 black writers will be selected to participate in the collaborative retreat program. For this program, the Givens Foundation will strive to have participants represent a balanced distribution of ages, genders, and geographic residences within the state of Minnesota. Applications will be subject to blind review by a panel of three local African American writers.

Selected participants will:

* Be aged 18 and older
* Be identified as emerging artists (6 applicants who exhibit significant potential yet are not recognized as established creators by fellow artists and other arts professionals; not yet or only recently published or produced)
* Be identified as established writers (4 applicants with multiple works published or produced)
* Not be enrolled in an academic literary arts program
* Not be past participants in the Givens Black Writers Collaborative Retreat Program.


Writers interested in applying should plan to attend the Retreat Program Information Session:
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
7:00p to 8:00p @ Open Book, Rm. 303
1011 Washington Avenue, Minneapolis, MN.

For More Information Visit:
www.givens.org

Or Contact:

Ellena Schoop
Collaborative Retreat Program Coordinator
Phone: 651-895-5603
Email: retreat@givens.org


Givens_Writers_Retreat_Application_Fall09.pdf

let honey bees be

by Theresa Crushshon

mama
always said
the best way
to get
the
honey
from
the bees


is
to let
the bees
chase
the honey.

September 24, 2009

Road trip: Sights, Comments and Questions

Ths post is my attempt at remembering and writing about what I saw on my road trip to Lethbridge, Alberta. The tense changes a lot, paragraph to paragraph, sentence to sentence. Please hang with me as I try to get to the gut of seeing the beauty of our land.

Disclaimer:
I know I am speaking from a point of privilege to even say that I have enough time to take vacation and enough money to go some place outside my neighborhood.


I am at Waterton Park in Alberta, just north of Glacier National Park. I am visiting friends who moved to ALberta to teach. Today it's a trip to the mountains to see the view of the Rockies. As I walked slowly up the trail putting one foot in front of the other, I watched the tops of the other mountains get closer. I noticed the way the earth and rock were formed, at angles, layers of rock moved further towards the sky. The sides littered with trees standing, leaning or fallen against the others that are standing, leaning or fallen. I reach the top of the summit to gaze at what the earth has been making for over 10,000 years or more. How old are the Rockies? The mountains are large and imposing. But aren't all mountains, Olympus, Rainer, Everest, and the Himalayas?

The wind blows my linen pants and strands of hair. My friends and I take pictures, pointing, posing and gazing. Standing close to the edge of a mountain/hill me and my friends hiked up, I took in the vast sky before me and the lake below, big and blue, reflecting the sky. I fell small. I feel big. I feel that warm fuzziness when you are in the presence of something grand. I wish to stay there forever in the present moments.

A crowd starts to gather and a family with three boys joins us on the summit. Reality sets in, it's time to head back down the mountain. Descending requires more concentration. I must pick my steps carefully so I don't slide on the small stones. I see scenes I didn't see on the way up, I look away for a second, lose my footing, slide a bit, and catch myself. Life changes quickly. Lose your footing and you can be a rolling stone. But life up here on this mountain doesn't seem to change that fast. Not from what I can see. I regain my footing and walk slowly down to the parked car and the bustle of the town.

The mountains were inspiring but then so were the plains. Our road trip took us through some beautiful fields of sunflowers, grazing cattle and cows. Once we reached Painted Canyon of North Dakota, just before Medora,my mind turned the glaciers that carved out this place and made the buttes that were popping up as we drove towards Montana. I would get out of the car at a rest stop and try to get my heart to catch up with what I was seeing, before we moved on.

A week doesn't do the landscape justice. I was slowing down as I sped across two states to visit friends who I would see for about five days. I wanted to take in every scene and document it. There is something valuable in seeing the land and its natural beauty. I try to visualize the mountains that were forming around Lake Waterton and also Lake St. Mary, MT, and how the coulee in Lethbridge was carved in the land, with Chief Mountain looking on. The plains give way to pastures that are larger than most neighborhoods. My thoughts would wonder to who surveys and keeps track of all this land? The fences that are so close to the rodas and highways? What will we do if the population gets too large? Will we expand out here? What will become of this land and the beauty?

Looking out the window beyond the twisting road to the foothills of the Rockies in the Lewis and Clark National Forest, drawing me in with it's pine trees like flag poles, covering the range and the creek rushing past us, heading north as we travel south. Bright blue sky hangs above and I feel free. Not myself, not anyone for a moment. I am in the moment. I am that blip of a blip in the history of the world. All I know for sure is this land will continue to be. It was here before me. It will be here after me. And for that I feel thankful, grateful.

Lori Young-Williams

September 22, 2009

snapshot

in
tampa
i especially noticed
how beautiful the trees were.

purely accidently
i found my way to an urban park
no swings for children
i noticed.
just benches for the adults

it was the kind of park where folks would go to on their lunch break.
as a kid, I often wondered why they had those kind of parks.
seeing how life is...
i now know why those kind of parks exist.

in the middle of the afternoon
i walked
and took in
the fragrance from the gorgeous flowers

immersed in the beauty
under my breath
i said
thank you God
for your earthly presents.

the exotic plants were in abundance
first time
i saw
uncut
birds of paradise

afraid to touch
i took pictures

and noticed
an oversized metal sculpture of a child dancing
handsomely painted in vibrant colors
it too
was
jubilant

but what was so picturesque
was
a bee
i followed

crazy of me.

i know.

but...
i wanted a picture
not of the flower
but of the bee on the flower
making love to life

don't mind me,
i said to the bee.
just go on
and...
do your business

he moved and I followed
like a fool
i followed
and continued to follow

hoping to capture a snapshot
of this moment

a glimpse of life
and beauty
in this small park where most just walk by
not noticing nothing

the chase continued

he moved
i chased
and
chased
and chased
and snapped in between all the chasing.

the pictures were blurred.
Oh this I will call art.

a bold me zoomed in.
and captured

a picture of a bee.

but the best picture
was the one not taken.

of me
traveling this great distance
to take
a picture
of
a
bee.

by Theresa Crushshon

September 10, 2009

Nature

I went on a road trip a couple of weeks ago to visit friends in Lethbridge, Alberta. My travel buddies and I drove through North Dakota and Montana cutting up to Canada via Interstate 15. What has stuck with me, since being back, is the land and the way it looks, the mountains, buttes, river valleys and the great plains.

How does nature affect us as we live in it and around it, or not? Does the sight of mountains, lakes, etc. renew your spirit? Inspire growth? How does nature speak to you?

Please consider writing a blog post for our collective blog. Please pass on to your writer friends! Also, remember this is simply a suggestion to get your thoughts and writing going, we welcome all writings by women of color on our blog!

Happy Writing!

Kandace and Lori