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Visiting Poet Bios

Oct. 9 | Heid Erdrich and Tim Nolan

Heid E. Erdrich’s poetry collections include National Monuments and Fishing for Myth. She also authored The Mother’s Tongue and co-edited Sister Nations: Native American Women on Community.  A member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibway, Heid grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota. She and her sister Louise Erdrich recently co-founded a non-profit clearinghouse for indigenous language-centered literature called Birchbark House.

Tim Nolan’s first book of poems, The Sound of It, was published in 2008 by New Rivers Press and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. His work has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Nation, Ploughshares, and many other magazines, and Garrison Keillor has read his poems on The Writer’s Almanac.

Nov. 13 | Jude Nutter and Thomas R. Smith

Jude Nutter was born in North Yorkshire, England, and grew up in northern Germany. Her first book-length collection, Pictures of the Afterlife, was published in 2002. The Curator of Silence, her second collection, won the Ernest Sandeen Prize from the University of Notre Dame and was awarded the 2007 Minnesota Book Award in Poetry. A third collection, I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman was published in the spring of 2009, and was also awarded the Minnesota Book Award. In 2004/2005 she spent two months in Antarctica as a participant in the National Science Foundation’s Writers and Artists Program.

Thomas R. Smith has had hundreds of poems published on three continents. He is author of several books of poems, At the Foot of the RainbowKeeping the Star, Horse of Earth, The Dark Indigo Current, Winter Hours, and Waking Before Dawn. His work has reached wide national audiences on Garrison Keillor’s public radio show Writer’s Almanac and former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s syndicated newspaper column, American Life in Poetry.

Feb. 19 | St. David’s Day Open Reading

The annual St. David’s Day Open Reading honors the anniversary of the canonization of St.David, the patron saint of Wales. Poets of all skill levels, from novice writers to those with established reputations, are invited to read a single original poem and/or a favorite piece by another author.

Mar. 26 | Michelle Matthees and Joyce Sutphen

Michelle Matthees is the author of two poetry collections, entitled Served and Outside, forthcoming from Press This! She has received grants, awards and fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, the Arrowhead Regional Artists Council, and Associated Writing Programs, and she was a 2009 Jerome/ SASE Emerging Writer. Her poems have appeared in The Bloomsbury Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, PANK, The Bellingham Review, and numerous other journals.

Joyce SutphenJoyce Sutphen lives in Chaska, Minnesota and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College in St.Peter, Minnesota. She grew up on a farm near St. Joseph, Minnesota, and this is the foundation for her latest collection of poetry, First Words. She is also the author of Naming the Stars, which won the Minnesota Book Award, Straight Out of View, winner of the 1994 Barnard New Women Poets Prize, and Coming Back to the Body. Her work has been widely anthologized, and she has been a guest on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

Apr. 30 | Ted Kooser

Two-time United States Poet Laureate (2004-2006), the highly regarded Nebraskan poet Ted Kooser was the first poet from the Great Plains to hold the position. A professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he is the author of eleven full-length collections of poetry, including Weather Central and Delights and Shadows, which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. Over the years his works have appeared in many periodicals including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Poetry, The Hudson Review, The Nation, The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, and Antioch Review. He has received two NEA fellowships in poetry, the Pushcart Prize, the Stanley Kunitz Prize, The James Boatwright Prize, and a Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council.


Book signings will follow each reading, courtesy of Northern Lights Books and Gifts. Funding for the Spirit Lake Poetry Series is provided by the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council and the Arrowhead Library System with money in part from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, by Northern Lights Books and Gifts, and by the Lee and Rose Warner Fund.

*Note: links to poets’ books provided wherever possible.  Not all of these books are readily available.  Please support your local, independent booksellers whenever possible.

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