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Tracy Youngblom

Tracy Youngblom has been living and writing in the Twin Cities for 30 years. She earned an M.A. in English from the University of St. Thomas and an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College. She has published widely in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction; individual poems, stories, and essays have appeared in journals such as Shenandoah, Big Muddy, Great River Review, Cumberland River Review, Wallace Stevens Journal, St. Katherine’s Review, Briar Cliff Review, Westview, DMQ, and many other places. She teaches full-time at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and in the community as well.

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Gene Stark

Gene Stark writes fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, and has written a children’s book. His writing is local, rural, and outdoors-oriented. Minnesota and local interest predominate his writing. Stark’s audience is comprised of the folks who live and work in Flyover Country. He has been a teacher, farmer, and a grower and propagator of native pollinator plants. He lives, writes, and works in rural Minnesota and enjoys many outdoor activities. He and his wife, and their Labrador retriever, live on 120 acres of native prairie and wetlands.

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Carol Masters

Carol Masters is the author of Dear Descendent, poems; the biography You Can’t Do That: Mary Davidov, Nonviolent Revolutionary (finalist for the 2010 Midwest Independent Publishers Award), and The Peace Terrorist, short stories (1994 winner of MN Voices Project). She has been part of a Loft Mentor series and a Loft-McKnight winner. Her poems and short stories have appeared in anthologies and literary publications.

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Barton Sutter

Bart Sutter is the only writer to win the Minnesota Book Award in three different categories: poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Among other honors, he has won a Bush Foundation Fellowship, a Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant (Sweden), a Loft-McKnight Award, and the Bassine Citation from the Academy of American Poets. In 2006, he was named the first Poet Laureate of Duluth. He has written for public radio, had four verse plays produced, and performs as one half of The Sutter Brothers – a poetry-and-music duo. He grew up in Roseau and Jackson Counties and has lived in Duluth for more than 30 years.

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Kevin Zepper

Kevin Zepper is a professor of English at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He teaches a variety of writing and Humanities classes. Zepper is the author of book-length poetry collection, Moonman.  He has authored four chapbooks of poetry: The Fifth Ramone, (Suffering from) An Apartment Complex, I Bring you Dead Things and other Love Poems, and Sugartown.

Lines&Notes is a collaborative, creative effort with alchemical partner in crime, Professor Terrie Manno, Professor of Music, Minnesota State University Moorhead. She has performed both nationally and internationally, offering both sensitive and dramatic performances of familiar and lesser-known piano work. A chance meeting between Manno and Zepper in a hallway at MSUM led to their ongoing work these past few years.

When Zepper is not writing poetry, or collaborating with Manno, he is off somewhere taking photographs. Several of his pieces have appeared in online and/or small press publications. He has also acted in several student-based movie productions and marketing productions through the MSUM campus.

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Marilène Phipps

Marilène Phipps was born and grew up in Haiti. She held fellowships at the Guggenheim Foundation, Harvard’s Bunting Institute, the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, and the Center for the Study of World Religions. The Company of Heaven: Stories from Haiti, won the 2010 Iowa Short fiction Award. Her poetry won the 1993 Grolier prize, and her collection, Crossroads and Unholy Water, won the Crab Orchard Poetry Prize. Her new book, Unseen Worlds, literary nonfiction, is published by Calumet Editions. She has contributed to American anthologies and collections such as The Best American Short Stories; Haiti Noir: The Classics; The Beacon Best; Ploughshares; River Styx; Callaloo; and Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and she edited Jack Kerouac: Collected Poems for The Library of America. Phipps is the recipient of the NAACP’s Award of Excellence for outstanding commitment in advancing the culture and causes for communities of color.

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Marie Zhuikov

Marie Zhuikov is a storyteller and poet from Duluth. Her two eco-mystic romance novels, Eye of the Wolf and Plover Landing, are set in northern Minnesota. Plover Landing was nominated for a Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. Her most recent work is Going Coastal: An Anthology of Lake Superior Short Stories, which she edited and co-authored. It earned an honorable mention in the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards.

Zhuikov’s poems have appeared in several anthologies and community projects, and she is past chair of Lake Superior Writers, a nonprofit arts group in Duluth. Zhuikov has a B.A. in science journalism and an MA in public health journalism. When not writing fiction, she writes nonfiction as a science communicator for the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Program. She is a member of the National Association of Science Writers.

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Bill Meissner

Bill Meissner is the author of two short story collections (one from Random House Publishers), five books of poetry, and a novel, Spirits in the Grass, which won the Midwest Book Award.

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Brittany Chaffee

Brittany Chaffee is an avid storyteller, professional empath, and author. On the daily, she gets paid to strategize and create content for brands. Off work hours, it’s all about a well-lit place, warm bread, and good company. Her first book, Wild Morning was released in 2017. Her recent work, Borderline: A Series of Essays, is a collection of prose essays about memory, time, change, and wonder. She lives happily in Saint Paul.

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Susan Thurston

Susan Thurston’s grandfather loved a poem she wrote in second grade, and within the glow of his appreciation, she decided to become a writer. Later, a well-meaning adult mentioned that as a journalist, she could earn her living. She became a reporter and editor, but wouldn’t really say what she earned was a living. She did get to work with some of the finest people she has ever known. Along the way, she has created and produced programs for adult education, traveled in search of her soul-deep home, mothered two fabulous kids, learned to make really good bread, flown in a hot air balloon, and a lot of other things. And always — writing. She has published, performed, and earned awards for a lot of her poetry and some of her prose, co-authored a cookbook, published the novel Sister of Grendel, and taken a few plays from page to stage. She is also the executive editor of The Black Hat Press, assumed from dear friend and fellow writer Beverly Voldseth.

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