Monthly Archives: June 2017

Fragments and foments for the 4th

That which distinguishes this day from all others is that then both orators and artillerymen shoot blank cartridges. ~John Burroughs

This wry observation on the forthcoming Fourth of July inspires random thoughts and a dip into the scattered notes that don’t quite sum to a cogent theme – or post.  Thinking that some may be of interest – and that the 4th is about more than parades and fireworks I share the some of those notes in hopes they spark some flickers for folks who are enjoying a long holiday weekend… It seems to me a legitimate alibi to share a few of the virtual “pokes” that have yet to make it to the blog. Their time has come….

Since you may be house-bound over the holiday, you might want to think about actually doing some research on the history of your home. Just last week  Greta Kaul, writing in MinnPost offered some basic tips and starting points – find the article here:  https://www.minnpost.com/data/2017/06/what-public-records-can-tell-you-about-history-your-house   What the journalist failed to mention is that the staff of Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library  has sponsored several excellent workshops on the topic in recent months.  There’s one more Researching the History of Your Minneapolis Home session scheduled for Saturday, August 5, 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Roosevelt Library.

Thinking about starting or joining a book group?  The South Dakota Humanities Commission has a new and very useful guide.  http://sdhumanities.org/media/blog/how-do-you-start-a-book-club.

Feel like learning a bit more about our neighbors to the West?  Renowned North Dakota poet Tom McGrath sets the tone in this video produced some years ago by the Center for International Education (Mike Hazard) (http://www.thecie.org/mcgrath/). The Movie at the End of the World: Thomas McGrath is on YouTube Movie at the End, a lovely introduction – or reminder – of the poet and his North Dakota roots. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABDUGe2kGNs

As long as you’ve let your mind wander a bit, check out The Ephemera Society of America, Inc. (ephemerasociety.org) Located in Cazenovia, New York, the national organization pays attention to all of the little stuff the rest of us don’t even notice.  Though the website is a bit quixotic, ephemera do not categorize easily – and that’s the fun of it!  Relax and wander freely through the world of ephemera!  The local authority on the Ephemera Society of America is author and intrepid researcher Molly (Moira) Harris

For some time I’ve been following the work of Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (http://www.brycs.org) a project of the Migration and Refugee Services at the US Conference of Bishops.  The BRYCS website and clearinghouse does a great job of sharing elusive information on practices, studies, events, interview with immigrant youth and more.   Try dipping in to learn more about whatever it is you want to know more about.

Earlier this week this timely piece popped up on the email.  Its value lies in the fact that it suggests an inclusive definition of food chain workers while underscores the ways in which women forge essential links in the food chain.  https://foodtank.com/news/2016/01/women-we-love-27-influential-women-in-food-and-agriculture/

In the spirit of the 4th, take time to check out this short read.  It’ll make you think: https://www.reddit.com/r/shutupandwrite/comments/6k2fyn/article_patriot_hasnt_always_been_positive_words/

We need an American with the wisdom of experience. But we must not let America grow old in spirit – Hubert H Humphrey

Lessons for today from the Woman Suffrage Movement

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.  Winston Churchill

Recently I posted on this blog a spate of brief and preliminary backgrounders about the forthcoming celebration of the centenary of ratification of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote.  Celebration of the ratification is simply a point in time; what’s important is that we capitalize on the occasion to learn from and share the lessons that can be gleaned from the long and volatile struggle known as the Woman Suffrage Movement.

The hallmarks of the Woman Suffrage Movement were vision, commitment, resilience, collaboration and persistence – virtues demanded by these troubled times.  Fortunately, the tools to understand and share those stories are both rich and relevant. These are the links to these recent posts:

The earlier posts identify resources that cover the Woman Suffrage Movement from a national perspective. They suggest the broad perspective, what was happening at the national level, the leaders and key supporters of the Suffragettes.

Still it is often more meaningful to tackle complex issues such as ratification of the 19th Amendment from a local perspective, the context of  one’s personal experience.  The Woman Suffrage Movement may be best understood as the struggle evolved and involved individuals “close to home” – with whom we have some connection in terms of  geography or experience

Fortunately, the record of Minnesotans’ involvement in the Woman Suffrage Movement is robust and readily accessible.

For a quick and easy guide to Minnesota’s ratification, start with the Minnesota House Record posted here:   (http://history.house.gov/HouseRecord/Detail/15032436205)  The archives  include a replica of the original ratification document – an inspiring first step on the journey to trace the roots of the movement. (http://history.house.gov/HouseRecord/Detail/15032436205)

For an excellent overview of the history of Minnesota’s steps to ratification there is no better than Eric W. Weber’s excellent piece on the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association  posted in MNOpedia.  (http://www.mnopedia.org/group/minnesota-woman-suffrage-association).  Weber’s essay  was reprinted by MinnPost in 2012 (https://www.minnpost.com/mnopedia/2012/09/minnesota-woman-suffrage-association-fought-womens-right-vote)

The MNOpedia entry leads to treasure troves of excellent resources including these:

These sources provide a firm foundation to appreciate the work of historian Jane Curry who has toured the state with her delightful one-woman show “Samantha Rastles the Woman Question.” It’s a powerful production that tells the story of the Woman’s Movement in a most delightful way!  Learn more here: (http://www.usfamily.net/web/dllund/jac/samantha.htm)

Though these posts may seem premature, consider the prolonged struggle for the Woman Suffrage Movement.  The parallel with today’s challenges offers a powerful model of resistance, collaboration, persistence and resilience, qualities that serve us well both individually and collectively in these difficult times.

She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails ― Elizabeth Edwards

Summertime – A Good Time to “waste time” thinking!

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.

John Lubbock, The Use of Life

True enough – it is by no means a waste of time to slow down, to listen and watch – in fact this sort of clearing of the mind accomplishes two goals: it takes the mental spotlight off the blast from the Beltway, and, more important, it creates ideal conditions for serious thinking – about “life, the universe and everything.”

Some powerful prompts may help to  jumpstart the dormant thinking process, try some or all of these:

  • There are just a few days remaining to visit the current exhibit at the White Bear Lake Center for the Arts. “Woven Together: Traditions of the Indigenous Culture of Peru” is curated by Melanie Eberts, founder of ArtAndes. ( http://artandes.com)  Wilber Quispe is the master weaver who shares the challenge to preserve the ancient craft.  (http://www.presspubs.com/white_bear/image_4f11082c-56b8-11e7-879d-6b6e70ae7ba8.html)  Read more about the unique partnership of Melanie and Wilber here: http://www.startribune.com/duets-wilbur-and-melanie-woven-together-across-continents/268625052/
  • The theme of fiber art continues with a show featuring fiber artist Tressa Sularz, http://www.mnartists.org/tressasularzwill) To learn more about Tressa, her life and creative work, view her Voices of Northeast conversation here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vq_pGW6Jm4.  Both exhibits are free and open to the public.  Learn more about the White Bear Center for the Arts here: http://whitebeararts.org
  • “Shout Out: Community Intervention, Independent Publishing and Alternative Distribution” is the theme of the Book Art Biennial, July 20-23, 2017. Centerpiece of the Book Art Biennial is presentation of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts Prize, “a unique award that showcases and honors the best artists’ books in the world.”  (Much more about this major national gathering on the MCBA website: http://www.mnbookarts.org/biennial/
  • Moving Image is Walker Art Center’s established series of exemplary films https://walkerart.org/about/moving-image/ “In solidarity with Minnesota immigrants and refugees” Mizna (http://Mizna.org) is collaborating with Walker to sponsor a series of films representative of the seven countries named in the original presidential travel ban.  Reshaping our World: Cinema without borders will be screened Wednesday evenings, 7:30 p.m. on July 5, 12, 19 and 26 and August 2.  Tickets are $10 (with reduced rates for Mizna community members).  The series begins with screening of A Stray, the story of a struggling young Somali-American living in Minneapolis.  The “stray” is, in fact, a dog with whom the young man, Adan, forms a friendship.  A Stray is preceded that evening by a screening of Rumee, a documentary created by Somali community residents who share refugee stories “from a strength-based perspective.” State Representative Ilhan Omar and actor Ifrah Mansour will discuss the films. The special viewing is just one feature of Somali Week 2017. (https://somaliweek.org) Details here: http://mizna.org/articles/events/175.shtml
  • It’s 4th of July weekend – think “up to the lake!” On Friday evening, June 30, Tim Jollymore will share the pleasure.  He’ll be reading from his new book, Lake Stories & Other Tales at Eat My Words, 1228 2nd Street Northeast.  https://www.facebook.com/events/299092377204602/.  (You may even have an opportunity to the bookshop complete their move to new digs just up the road…)
  • Discovering hidden attributes of your of-an-age abode? Learn about Researching the History of Your Minneapolis Home at one of the learning opportunities sponsored by Special Collections staff at Minneapolis Central Library. The popular training sessions are scheduled for July 1, 10:30-11:30 at Special Collections, 4th floor, Minneapolis Central Library and August 5, 10:30-11:30 at Roosevelt Library.  Register online at https://hclib.bibliocommons.com/events or call 612 543 5669.

To truly expand your thinking horizons take advantage of the seasonally and politically  timely opportunity for deep thinking about the Civil Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964.  It was the Civil Rights Act that outlawed all segregation on the basis of raceThe Law was intentionally – and decidedly – specific that this was to include any hotel, motel, restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, gas station, movie theater, concert hall, theater, sports arena, stadium of other place of “exhibition or entertainment.”  (You get the idea.) When he signed the bill Johnson was anachronistic but firm when he affirmed: We believe all men are entitled to the blessings of liberty.”

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them~~ Albert Einstein

MPRB records now at Central Library!

Not so long ago but in another journalistic era I spent many hours enjoying the rich resources and incredible staff of  Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library.  My quest was to learn and share the stories of the parks and neighborhoods  of Northeast Minneapolis.  (See attached)

In those days my key leads to park records were the MPRB website (https://www.minneapolisparks.org/about_us/history/) , the library’s “vertical file,” crammed with clippings, posters, letters, newsletters, and other mementoes of park history,  the brief outline of MPRB posted on the Hennepin County Library website, the grand plan for the Grand Rounds (https://www.minneapolisparks.org/_asset/vkz2qm/grand_rounds_masterplan_1999.pdf)  and David C. Smith’s  essential guide to the park system: https://www.minneapolisparks.org/about_us/history/city_of_parks_book/

Both the Grand Rounds and my series of posts about the magnificent park system remain works in progress….

As I enjoy the sights and sounds of  the city’s parks these summer days I often vow to complete that series of posts – and  a recent note from Edward (Ted) Hathaway, head of Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library, inspires  me to take long overdue action.  Clearly, the task of researching the histories has been greatly simplified for all of us who want to be more engaged – or who just want to better understand – the city’s magnificent park system.

The essence of the news is this: The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Hennepin County Library (HCL) are excited to announce the successful transfer of a huge collection of MPRB proceedings, reports and other historic documents to Minneapolis Central Library.

Attached is the announcement  that explains the full import of the move and offers more information about access.  Because it seems relevant I’m also attaching a list of park/neighborhood related articles and posts from this blog.

~~~

Attachment #1 –  Announcement:

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Hennepin County Library (HCL) are excited to announce the successful transfer of a huge collection of MPRB proceedings, reports and other historic documents to Minneapolis Central Library.  (See full  notice attached.)

Thousands of documents providing a detailed, fascinating record of Minneapolis park history are now open to the public at the James K. Hosmer Special Collections located on the fourth floor of Central Library. This collection holds archival material that shows the growth, improvement and programming of the Minneapolis park system from the early 1880s through the 1960s. It includes:

  • Proposals and correspondences tracing the evolution of the Minneapolis park system as it grew to encompass 15% of the city’s land
  • Reports and petitions illuminating significant park issues across different eras
  • Official Board actions including agreements, policies and contracts

James K. Hosmer Special Collections is open to the public Monday-Thursday, 10 am-4:30 pm, as well as the first and third Saturdays of the month, 10 am-4:30 pm.

Discover the history of your neighborhood park or learn more about the development of iconic Minneapolis landmarks in the Minneapolis Parks Collection, now available at Central Library.

If you haven’t discovered the wonders of the Minneapolis Central Library’s James Hosmer Special Collections start here:  http://www.hclib.org/specialcollections#visitors-guide

Attachment #2  – Links to the park stories posted or published to date – more to follow!

Tracy K. Smith – The Poet Laureate’s Minnesota Links

I’m very excited about the opportunity to take what I consider to be the good news of poetry to parts of the country where literary festivals don’t always go.  Poetry is something that’s relevant to everyone’s life, whether they’re habitual readers of poetry or not.

These are the words of Tracy K. Smith, named last week as the Poet Laureate of the United States. (https://www.graywolfpress.org/news/tracy-k-smith-named-new-poet-laureate-united-states)   The words resonate especially with those of us had the chance to participate in the recent Rural Arts Summit described in an earlier post.  (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/tag/rural-arts-and-culture-summit-2017/)

Smith’s poetry and her selection as Poet Laureate are of special interest to Minnesota readers who are long familiar with the local publisher of her work — Graywolf Press (https://www.facebook.com/GraywolfPress/)   Graywolf has published numerous books of Smith’s poetry including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry winner Life on Mars.  Best of all, Graywolf will publish Smith’s Wade in the Water in April 2018.

Needless to say, much has been written about the new Poet Laureate in the past week – many focus her long relationship with Graywolf:

Though the Minnesota connection runs throughout the local press this blast from Bemidji tops the list of Minnesota newsmakers!  We look forward to hearing more about last evening’s event!   http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/news/local/4286330-poet-laureate-tracy-k-smith-headline-northwoods-writers-conference.  We  hope that America’s Poet Laureate will return often and travel throughout the region to share “the good news of poetry” with those who live in “parts of the country where literary festivals don’t always go.”

Summertime means time to read!

One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by ~~Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle

The recent post report notwithstanding, the F. Scott Fitzgerald international conference does not a summer make. When the dust has settled bibliophiles will continue book binge and reluctant readers won’t be able to resist the abundance of literary lures. What follows are hints of the possibilities.  Whether you’re a reader, a good listener, a browser or just choose to hang out with word lovers, you’ll want to keep your eyes and mind open to the possibilities!  The list here is sadly metro-centric and arbitrary – the idea is to suggest sources and inspire creative searches for bookish gatherings that may pop up in unexpected places.

Public libraries and local Friends of the Library are planning close-to-home programs for all ages.  The MELSA calendar is humungous and detailed, loaded with Bookawocky events for kids,  book discussions, music, house history, art, gardening, something for everyone.  Think reading options, varieties of content and the choice of format that fits the seeker’s fancy and device.

More than ever libraries have no monopoly on reading resources and events – the great good news is that book sales are rising, book groups, literary events of every fashion are everywhere – in coffee shops, places of worship, indie bookstores, parks, book festivals  and more.

Following are some bookish possibilities that suggest you’ll find books and reading – local writers reading their books, book art, book discussions, poets, historians, even Little Free Libraries — in unexpected places!  Troll the neighborhood to learn who’s reading or listening to what… consider your nosiness as a high-brow form of voyeurism.

A few events that might activate your literary inclinations:

June 16, 7-8:00 PM Victoria Houston (http://www.victoriahouston.com) The author will discuss her new book Dead Spider at Once Upon a Crime Bookstore, 604 W 26th Street, , Minneapolis. Doors open at 6:30.

June 17, 2 PM.  History Comes Alive: Emily O. Goodridge Grey.  Emily O. Goodridge Grey was an African American social activist, pioneer and abolitionist in Minnesota during the 19th century.  Hosmer Library. 347 E 36th St, Minneapolis  This is just one in a robust series of History Comes Alive programs, stories of African American men and women shaped not just Minnesota, but the entire nation. The series is developed by Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center.(https://www.facebook.com/MAAMCC/

June 17, 10 AM.  Joel Katz, author of From Footpaths to Freeways, Minneapolis Central Library.  Katzwill discuss the history of highway development in Hennepin County and around the state.  His talk will trace Minnesota’s road and street systems, how they developed in pre-statehood times in the 1840’s to today.  Katz will also talk about classifications, construction, maintenance, traffic control, safety congestion, bridges and the interstate system.  Sponsored by Friends of Minneapolis Central Library.

June 17, 3 PM. David Sedaris and Ariel Levy, Common Good Books.  The authors will read and sign their new books:  Sedaris’ Theft by Finding and Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply. http://www.commongoodbooks.com/event/common-good-books-hosts-david-sedaris-ariel-lev

June 21. All day. Book it to the parks!  To celebrate the 50th anniversary of MPR the Minneapolis Foundation is donating 50 Little Free Libraries to Minneapolis Parks.  Local writers will be reading from their children’s books at city parks throughout the day.  For a full list of parks and readings check here: https://www.minneapolisfoundation.org/bookit/

June 25, Open Mic Night at Coffee House Northeast, 2852 Johnson in Northeast Minneapolis– 5:45-8:30 PM.  This is one of countless  summertime open mic possibilities –  For a full list of Open Mic events check here: http://openmikes.org/calendar/MN

June 16 7 PM.  Heid E. Erdrich Eat My Words, 1228 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis. Learn more about Heid Erdrich here:https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/heid-e-erdrich 

June 17, 2 PM David Housewright, What the Dead Leave Behind.(https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/rosemary-simpson/what-dead-leave-behind/) Valley Bookseller, Stillwater. 

June 22, 7 PM. East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street, St. Paul. Norah Murphy reads from her book White Birch, Red Hawthorn: A MemoirThe story of the author’s ancestors’ maple grove, home of Dakota, Ojibwe and Ho-Chunk who were dispossessed when the Irish arrived, the story of the author’s search for the connections between the contested land and the communities who call it home.  Part of the ESFL’s monthly “Women from the Center Reading Series.”

Friday, June 22, 7 PM Kevin Kuhn: Do you realize? A Novel.  Eat My Words, 1228 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis https://www.evensi.us/kevin-kuhndo-you-realize-a-novel-eat-my-words-bookstore/212898374

+ + +

You get the idea — These are June happenings only.  During the summer months Minnesotans will take part in these and a zillion other book/reading/word events.  To know what’s happening in your community,  keep checking these current – and complementary – calendars.  Each posts literary happenings set in bookstores, parks, coffee shops and wherever people who dare to share ideas gather.

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge;

it is thinking that makes what we read ours. John Locke

All things F. Scott Fitzgerald on St. Paul’s Summer Calendar

You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Let there be no mistake Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald reigns in St. Paul these early days of Summer 2017.   Fitzgerald fans have been preparing for eons — reading and re-reading, explicating, exploring the fine points of Fitzgerald’s works and world.

The schedule of events – academic, social and other – will keep the Saintly City planning and parsing until – and no doubt after – the 14th Annual International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference meeting in St. Paul June 25-July 1.  http://www.fitzgerald2017.org

Exploring the program is a glorious introduction to Fitzgerald.  Though you may not have plumbed the depths of the hometown hero you can claim a bit of literary chauvinism, even if your only brush with Fitzgerald is skimming the text for sophomore English or a glorious summer afternoon lost in Jazz Age society.

No need to wait for the grand event.  On Wednesday, June 21 the Show Gallery will sponsor a pre-conference event.  Fitzgerald scholar David Page, author of F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota: The Writer and His Friends at Home will share the stories he has found while doing research.  Page will share stories of the places and people Fitzgerald describes, snippets of local lore he discovered in his extensive study of the writer’s letters, scrapbooks and diaries.  June 21, 6:00 PM at the Show Gallery, 346 North Sibley in St. Paul’s Lowertown.

The following Wednesday evening, June 28, Anne Margaret Daniel will offer a public reading from I’d Die for You: And Other Stories, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. http://www.startribune.com/review-i-d-die-for-you-stories-of-f-scott-fitzgerald/420017193/   The reading will be at 7 pm at Common Good Books, 38 Snelling Avenue South in St. Paul.

This is just a taste of what promises to be a grand frenzy of Fitzgerald festivities! There’s still time to brush up a bit on Fitzgerald lore.  Though the best prep would be to take time to re-read a Fitzgerald classic, rime is fleeting so here are some last-minute options:

NOTE: 6/27/17 —  https://www.minnpost.com/artscape/2017/06/f-scott-fitzgerald-society-events-open-public?utm_source=MinnPost+e-mail+newsletters&utm_campaign=28526b5a6c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_06_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3631302e9c-28526b5a6c-123365126