September 2020 NorthWords

Gymnastics for Memoir Writers

Thursdays – October 8, 15, 22

6:30 pm – 8 pm via Zoom

Memoir writers need agility, strength, and flexibility. This active writing workshop builds your skills with form and structure to best tell your stories.Think of the glee of kids in gymnastics at the Y. Think of those seven-year-olds who can’t wait to climb the rope and flip over the uneven parallel bars, and jump on the giant trampoline. That’s what we’ll be doing with form, time, and point of view.Instructor Felicia Schneiderhan is a Duluth-based award-winning writer and instructor. Her work appears in many literary journals and national magazines, and she hosts “Drawn to Write,” a new show on WDSE about writers and artists.Cost is $75 for LSW members, with an option for a private 30 minute 10-page critique for $35. 

Literary events in our region 

Sept 4 (Fri) – First Stage Gallery at the Lyric to feature paintings and poetry about wolves in September

The mother-daughter team of Stephanie Johnson and Angie Arden from Duluth have a passion for wolves.  They have found inspiration to create paintings and poetry through the work and residents of the International Wolf Center in Ely and the Wildlife Science Center in Stacy, MN.

The First Stage Gallery in Virginia, MN is featuring their exhibit ‘Pup Culture’ through the month of September.  The exhibit depicts the unique organizational structure of the wolf pack as it raises and protects its young pups.

The gallery in the Lyric Center for the Arts has been featuring artwork by local and regional artists since 2006.  It is located at 510 Chestnut Street, downtown Virginia. In addition to monthly featured artists the gallery has artwork, books and other work by various artists on sale.

One of the paintings in the September exhibit was selected to be hung at the Minnesota State Capitol building this year.  As that on hold due to COVID, that painting is part of the work at The First Stage this month.

Artists Johnson and Arden have a unique method of creating their work.  Each painting and poem goes back and forth between them to accomplish the final finished piece.  There are two painting styles in each piece.  “In our work together we hope we will inspire a deeper understanding of the wolf,” say Johnson and Arden. “We celebrate the wild innocence of the wolf species by revealing their dynamic way of life and survival.”

The ’Pup Culture’ exhibit will open on Friday, September 4 and be open Fridays and Saturdays through September 26.  Gallery hours are currently limited to Fridays and Saturdays 11am to 3pm due to the COVID pandemic.  Masks must be worn and social distancing observed.  The gallery is free and open to the public. Find out more at

Sept 13 (Sun) 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Second Sunday Reading Series

The Duluth Poet Laureate Project announces the “Second Sunday Reading Series,” three online open poetry readings organized by Gary Boelhower, 2018-2020 Duluth Poet Laureate. The monthly readings will take place from 3-4 pm. on Sunday afternoon, September 13th, October 11th, and November 8th. Each month’s reading will feature two local poets whose presentations will be followed by an open reading. The reading on September 13th will feature Phil Fitzpatrick and Daniel Oyinloye; October 11th will feature Deborah Cooper and John Herold; and the reading on November 8th will feature Sheila Packa and Blair Powless.

All three poetry readings will be offered through the ZOOM online video communications technology. The public is invited to view the readings through a ZOOM online portal; please register for one, two or all the programs with Gary Boelhower through email, Poets who wish to participate in the open reading segment should contact Gary Boelhower with the date they wish to be placed on the program.

The Duluth Poet Laureate Project began in 2005 and is funded by donations from The Friends of the Duluth Public Library, Lake Superior College, and the English departments at the College of Saint Scholastica, UMD, and by generous individuals. The Zeitgeist Community Arts Center is the fiscal sponsor. More information can be found at

Sept 22 (Tues) 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm – In Conversation: Peter Geye and Leif Enger (Virtual Event) – Zenith Bookstore is thrilled to welcome two of our favorite Minnesota writers. Peter Geye presents his new novel Northernmost, in conversation with Leif Enger, author of Virgil Wander. This Crowdcast event is free, but you must RSVP at We will have signed copies of books to purchase – for pickup at the store, curbside delivery, or to be shipped out.


St. Croix Writers audio-only phone teleconferences meet every Tuesday, 9:10-11 am. No charge. Any phone will work. Moderator Debbi King requests you call in at 9:10 – 9:25 am to join. Each reader gets about 7 minutes, time permitting. Dial in at 602.610.2058,  Conference code is 405424. If line is busy, try again. SCW welcomes you. More information, email Debbi at

KUDOS – News about our members

3 books to launch horizontal 72 - Jim Brakken

Award-winning LSW member, James Brakken, will publish 3 titles late this summer. First up will be 45 Fairly True Tales from the Old Corner Bar, Brakken’s third fact-based short story collection. Set between Prohibition and the mid-1960s, the stories feature characters and tales from northwest Wisconsin’s resort country. Subjects range from hunting and fishing yarns to gangster tales, tavern pranks, and smart people doing stupid things. As with Brakken’s other books, names are usually changed out of respect for descendants of the characters recalled. Although the stories could have taken place at any up-north watering hole, these are set in the old Cable Corner Bar, razed years ago to make room for a new bistro now under construction. His second book for 2020 is Thornapple Girl. Set near the Thornapple River in Winter, Wisconsin, the novel explores the life of Myra Dietz. In the early 1900s, Myra and her brothers stood by their father, John Dietz when he asked for back wages from the Chippewa Lumber Company. Rather than settle, Frederick Weyerhaeuser, the wealthiest-ever lumber baron, responded with government corruption. Warrants were issued. Posses were formed. Myra and her brother, Clarence, nearly died from bullets shot by the Sawyer County sheriff and his deputies. In 1910, headlines exploded coast-to-coast after nearly 100 deputized thugs fired a thousand rounds into the log home housing a family that became regarded nationwide as heroes of the working class. Thornapple Girl is based on press clippings, court records, and Myra Dietz’s personal recollections, featured in her never-published 1929 memoir. Sybil Brakken will publish The Heroine of Cameron Dam, Myra Dietz’s 146-page manuscript (MS). It was found long ago by a vagabond searching through trash outside a Los Angeles publisher’s office. Myra’s life story fell victim to the Great Depression and languished for decades before James Brakken discovered it during research for his true-crime novel, Thornapple Girl. Now, after 91 years, Myra’s recollections of coming to age on a backwoods north country farm, defending her father, then fighting for years to get him out of prison, will be in print. The Brakkens will publish the MS as an annotated, edited memoir. Descendants of John Dietz are pleased to know of the discovery of the memoir and its production. The Brakkens write from their home on Wiley Lake in Bayfield County, Wisconsin. Information on all three upcoming titles can be found at along with James Brakken’s other ten books.

Eric Chandler’s short story “Just a Kid” will appear in PANK Magazine on August 31, 2020.

Holy Cow! Press announces the publication of What Falls Away Is Always: Poems and Conversations by Minneapolis poet Richard Terrill. Minnesota Book Award-winning poet Richard Terrill is back with a new collection of poetic “conversations” with the work and wisdom of Walt Whitman, Diane Arbus, Miles Davis, Groucho Marx, and more. Tai qi, classic movies, environmental angst, and the inexorable passage of time are among the subjects the poems consider―along with Terrill’s signature subject, music, especially the blue nights and blue notes of jazz. Terrill borrows language and image from his sources and handles it with care. Here is a blend of humor and pathos, of light and of dark, that revels in its contradictions and conundrums. Here is a clip of Richard reading his poetry accompanied by the Larry McDonough Jazz Quartet:!AnqwJetDrMjhg00qpWBMGxFwK0nE The 88-page paperback retails for $16.00 and can be purchased through, local bookstores, and

On Friday, August 7, Tom & Debbi King‘s folk band, HALLBJORN, presented their newest, original Northland adventure music & poetry at Lucius Woods Performing Arts Center “Music on the Docks”. This unique LWPAC concert, created for safe distancing of all, was held in Solon Springs, WI, on Upper St. Croix Lake. Five bands, each situated on docks at the north end of the lake, played as boats of music lovers toured to each. Wordy fun! Debbi and Tom live and write in Solon Springs, and are members of Lake Superior Writers, St. Croix Writers and Wisconsin Writers Association and Lake Superior Writers.

CJ McPherson-Heaney has published The Always and Forever Trilogy. A fourth book that will have back stories of favorite characters and continuing adventures of their children as they grow up is also in the works. The Always and Forever Trilogy – Rough New Prizes, The Frailest Leaves of Me and That Shadow My Likeness – is available at Zenith Bookstore and through the website, including signed copies.

Open LSW Writing Groups

The Third Wednesday Writers – September 16 (Wed) 6:00 pm – We are an open genre writing group that meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 6:00 pm. Meetings are currently being held outdoors at Enger Tower.