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Literary Lights Reading & Surprised by Joy book launch

Thomas R. Smith's poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Editor's Choice II  (The Spirit That Moves Us Press) and The Best American Poetry 1999 (Scribner). His work has been featured on Writer's Almanac and in Ted Kooser's syndicated newspaper column, "American Life in Poetry." He's written five books of poetry including Keeping the Star, Horse of Earth, and The Dark Indigo Current and a chapbook of nature poems, Kinnickinnic (Parallel Press.) He has edited Airmail: The Letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Transtr√∂mer (Graywolf Press); Walking Swiftly: Writings and Images on the Occasion of Robert Bly's 65th Birthday (Ally Press & Harper Collins) and What Happened When He Went to the Store for Bread (Nineties Press) a selection of Canadian poet Alden Nowlan's work. His poetry criticism has appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Great River Review and other periodicals. He is a Loft Foreword Program poetry instructor at the Loft in Minneapolis.  He and his wife, the artist Krista Spieler, live in River Falls, Wisconsin.

Mark Connor is from St. Paul, MN. A boxer since age ten, he currently trains competitive and recreational boxers, runs a training business called Fighting Chance/Boxing for Life and writes fiction, poetry, and journalism. He has written and published many articles about boxing, Irish culture, and history. The poem "My Now Departed Brother" was written for David James Ruiz, a friend since third grade who died in a motorcycle crash.

Carter Norman has spent over 25 years in education, teaching elementary, secondary, and post- secondary levels. His poetry has won awards from the League of Minnesota Poets, the Missouri State Poetry Society, and the Minnesota Library Association. He has been published in Inscape, Willows Wept Review, and the St. Paul Almanac. He is the author of two books, Fields of Flowers and Dancing with the Wind.

Suzanne Swanson is the author of House of Music and the chapbook What Other Worlds: Postpartum Poems. She is a winner of the Loft Mentor Series and was one of the founders of  the Laurel Poetry Collective. Her poems have appeared in literary journals and in the Land Stewardship Letter. Suzanne rows on the Mississippi River and is happiest near big water.


Tekkan has lived in England, Japan, and Minnesota, all of which have influenced him. The themes of his life revolve around his Buddhist practice and his recovery from addiction. His books, Everyday Mind, look for the extraordinary hidden within everyday events.

Sara Dovre Wudali is a writer and editor from Saint Paul. She grew up on the plains of southwest Minnesota where the wind blows strong and box elder bugs rule the earth. Her work has been published in Creative Nonfiction, Sweet, and The Madras Mag. She has work forthcoming in the St. Paul Almanac.


Laura Vosika is the author of The Blue Bells Chronicle, a tale of time travel, action and adventure, romance and redemption, across modern and medieval Scotland. She has had poetry published in The Moccasin and Martin Lake Journal. Her first collection of music has been released under the name Glenmirril Garden. She co-hosts Books and Brews with Laura Vosika and Michael Agnew, which features local authors and poets. Laura has been featured in newspapers, radio, and TV and is the mother of nine. She currently lives in Minnesota where she likes to attend open mics, reading her work or playing music.

Michael Dean is the founder of and host of The Martin Lake Poetry Workshop and founder of and consulting editor for The Martin Lake Journal. His first poetry collection, Sea Shells, was published by Distillate Press. His poetry celebrates and memorializes his lifelong contact with Japan, Minnesota, and nature. He resides in the woods with his family and flat coat retriever near Martin Lake, Minnesota.



Poet Donna Isaac is a teaching artist who organizes community readings in the Twin Cities, hosting Literary Lights and Cracked Walnut events. Published work includes a poetry book, Footfalls (Pocahontas Press), a paean to American folk music and her formative years in the Appalachians; two chapbooks, Tommy (Red Dragonfly Press); Holy Comforter (Red Bird Chapbooks); and work in journals, e.g., Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, The Penn Review, The Saint Paul Almanac, e.g. Persistence of Vision, a chapbook about love of movies, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press, November 2019. <>.



Literary Lights

Literary Lights with host Donna Isaac is a reading series sponsored by Cracked Walnut, League of MN Poets. In its third year, Literary Lights has a new home at Next Chapter Booksellers in a cooperative effort with Bridges, a reading series featuring host Stan Kusonoki. Readings will be scheduled as available on the 1st Sunday of the month, matinee time: 2:00 p.m.


For more information about events at Next Chapter Booksellers, please contact

Riley Davis--651/225-8989;


A complete schedule of our upcoming events is always available at


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Event date: 
Sunday, July 7, 2019 - 2:00pm
Event address: 
38 S Snelling Ave
Next Chapter Booksellers
St Paul, MN 55105