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William Reichard

William Reichard is a writer, editor, and educator. He has published six poetry collections, most recently, The Night Horse: New and Selected Poems. Three of his previous collections were finalists for the Minnesota Book Award. Reichard is the editor of the anthology, American Tensions: Literature of Identity and the Search for Social Justice, and he revised and edited The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940’s, an award-winning memoir by the late Ricardo Brown. Reichard lives in Saint Paul.

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Yvonne Pearson

Yvonne Pearson is a writer and clinical social worker who lives in Minneapolis. Her picture book, Sadie Braves the Wilderness, was published in 2017. She has also published 16 non-fiction books for children. Pearson’s poetry has appeared in Split Rock Review, Talking Stick, Main Street Rag, Wolf Head Quarterly, Open to Interpretation, Chrysalis, Sidewalks, Literary Mama, and other publications. She is a 2018 Loft-McKnight Writing Fellow and has received a Loft Creative Non-Fiction Award, the Shabo Award in children’s literature, and two Minnesota State Arts Board grants. She has also written for newspapers and magazines.

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Sheila Packa

Sheila Packa is a poet, writer, and teacher with Minnesota and Finnish roots. She was Duluth’s Poet Laureate in 2010-2012. Her poems became part of playwright/director Tom Isbell’s award-winning documentary “One River” performed at University of Minnesota Duluth and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in 2017. Olli Kortekangas used Packa’s poems for “Migrations,” a cantata for mezzosoprano and male voice choir. This classical music piece premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra in 2016. She has poems in several literary magazines and anthologies, including Good Poems American Places, Finnish-North American Literature in English, Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude, and To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-Territorial Days to the Present. Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac and Prairie Home Companion has also featured her work.

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Brett Ortler

Brett Ortler is a writer and an editor from just north of the Twin Cities. He is the author of 10 books, including everything from a poetry collection, Lessons of the Dead, to nonfiction books pertaining to fireflies, mosquitoes, and ship watching on the Great Lakes. His essays, poetry, and articles appear widely, including in HuffPost, Salon, Fatherly, Ascent, The Fanzine, The Nervous Breakdown, and many other venues. He is the former editor of Knockout Literary Magazine, and a former poetry editor of Willow Springs. He founded and edits Gray Duck Press.

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Mai Neng Moua

Mai Neng Moua is a writer spinning tales of what it means to be Hmong in America. Her memoir, The Bride Price: A Hmong Wedding Story was published in 2017. She is the founder of Paj Ntaub Voice, the Hmong literary arts journal where she published more than 200 artists, and the editor of Bamboo Among the Oaks: Contemporary Writing by Hmong Americans. Her writings appear in publications such as Healing by Heart, Where One Voice Ends Another Begins, and We are the Freedom People. Her artistic awards include the Bush Artist Fellowship, the Jerome Travel Grant, and the Minnesota State Arts Board’s Artist Initiative Grant. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two girls.

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Ethna McKiernan

Ethna McKiernan has been twice awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board grant in poetry. Her first book was nominated for the Minnesota Book Award and her work has been widely anthologized, including in Notre Dame’s Book of Irish American Poetry, 33 Minnesota Poets, and more. McKiernan holds an MFA from Warren Wilson Program for Writers. Her fourth book, Swimming With Shadows, is due from Salmon Poetry in spring 2019. McKiernan works in Street Outreach for a non-profit serving the Minneapolis homeless population. In an earlier life, she was CEO of Irish Books and Media, Inc.

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Michelle Matthees

Michelle Matthees is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s MFA program in Creative Writing. She has received grants and awards from The Jerome Foundation, The Minnesota State Arts Board, The Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, AWP, and other arts organizations. In 2016 New Rivers Press published Flucht, her first book-length collection of poems about Eastern Europe, immigration, and adoption. She lives in Duluth and is currently at work on a new book of poems about institutionalization.

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Freya Manfred

Freya Manfred has nine collections of poetry. Her sixth collection, Swimming with a Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle, won the 2009 Midwest Bookseller’s Choice Award for Poetry. Her ninth and most recent collection is Loon in Late November Water. A longtime Midwesterner who has lived on both coasts, her poetry has appeared in over 100 reviews and magazines and over 40 anthologies. Her memoir, Frederick Manfred: A Daughter Remembers, was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award and an Iowa Historical Society Award. Her second memoir is Raising Twins: A True Life Adventure.

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Raymond Luczak

Raymond Luczak is the author and editor of more than 20 books. His most recent titles include Flannelwood and Lovejets: Queer Male Poets on 200 Years of Walt Whitman. He lives in Minneapolis.

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Athena Kildegaard

Athena Kildegaard grew up in St. Peter, Minnesota, and, after having lived in Chicago, Austin TX, Oxford MS, New Orleans, and central Mexico, now lives and teaches in western Minnesota. Her poems have been set to music by Linda Kachelmeier, Libby Larsen, Jake Endres, and others. She has experience teaching people of all ages, is a regular speaker (usually about poetry), and loves spreading the word about the power of poetry.

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