by Anja Wuolu
A poetry event designed for all people with feelings and a love of words is coming soon. Four local poets are scheduled to read at the “Hit the Nail Home” event at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 at the Minnesota Street Market, Food and Art Co-Op. Complimentary snacks and beverages will be served.
The co-op is a load-bearing wall for the culture of St. Joseph. The food aspect is renowned. Shelves carry food from local farmers. Local restaurants such as the Local Blend and Krewe will turn to the co-op for many ingredients. The co-op, like many others around the state, sells quality organic food.
Yet St. Joseph’s co-op has something other co-ops around the state do not. Along with the fair-trade chocolate and illustrious Wisconsin cheese department, the Minnesota Street Market boasts a huge collection of art. Yellow walls and black shelves display art created by dozens of people who live just down the street or a short drive away. The building is a gathering space for potters, textile artists, painters and poets.
During the pandemic, many in-person events were put on hold. Some ceased altogether. However in recent times, the co-op has once more become the location of many cultural events, including the literary event entitled “There’s a Poem in this Place” last June. People flocked in to listen to poetry by the late Charles Preble.
The “Hit the Nail Home” event will feature four authors. While each writer shares a unique perspective, they all have something in common: a passion for words.
Nicole Borg’s book is called “All Roads Lead Home.”
“I write because to not write makes me feel as if the ground is falling away, as if gravity has lost its particular pull,” Borg said. “To not write –north shifts, the constellations rearrange themselves menacingly in the sky. To not write is to court chaos. I have the urge to quit my job and uproot my life. I have to write. So, I do. Almost every morning before my family wakes – I read poetry then I write poetry.”
Borg said she plans to read sections from her book as well as newer pieces.
Betsy Johnson most recently created “A Hit of Hope,” which follows a series of meditations. Johnson came up with the work when life went sideways in 2018. She turned to her favorite things to help her cope – writing, yoga and meditation.
Johnson says “[I] began writing short (and sometimes salty) meditations to help …deal with life events that were out of [my] control.”
Johnson began recording herself speaking those writings. She posted her thoughts to the Insight Timer app. “A Hit of Hope” is a collection of Johnson’s first 50 meditations.
Larry Schug has published many poetry books: “Nails,” “Obsessed with Mud,” “Scales Out of Balance,” “Caution: Thin Ice,” “The Turning of Wheels,” “Arrogant Bones,” “At Gloaming” and “A Blanket of Raven Feathers.”
Anja Wuolu wrote “Space Between Chapters” about her experience graduating from the College of St. Benedict during the pandemic. It reads a bit like a diary in poetic format. She has another coming out later this year called “fLaws: Poetic Advocacy for the Vulnerable.” Both works are a mix of despair and optimism. Wuolu will read from “Space Between Chapters” as well as from the new book, “fLaws.”
The co-op sells many of the 15-plus books by Borg, Johnson, Schug and Wuolu. It also carries other literature written by local authors. Mysteries, history and of course more poetry can be found on the bookcase tucked into the co-op’s cozy tea-and-coffee alcove.
All are invited to join the free event at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov 17.