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Barton Sutter and Jim Johnson read from their new poetry
09/20/2012 7:00 pm
Two of Duluth’s past poets laureate venture south to read from their poetry.
Barton Sutter is the only author to win the Minnesota Book Award in three different categories. He was raised in small towns in the Upper Midwest and graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University in 1972 with a B.A. in language arts. Since 1998, he has taught full-time at the University of Wisconsin, Superior.
Primarily a poet, Sutter enjoys working in a variety of genres. He has published poems, essays, and stories in dozens of magazines and produced six books. My Father’s War and Other Stories (Viking, 1991, U of MN 2000) won the 1992 Minnesota Book Award in Fiction. The Book of Names: New and Selected Poems (BOA Editions, 1993) won the 1994 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry. For several years, Sutter wrote and broadcast monthly commentaries for Minnesota Public Radio; these essays were collected in Cold Comfort: Life at the Top of the Map (U of MN, 1998), which won both the 1999 Minnesota Book Award for Creative Non-fiction and the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award.
In his latest book of poetry, The Reindeer Camps and Other Poems, Barton Sutter tells tales about village life on the Canadian border, presents startling portraits of northern plants and animals, teases readers with light verse, honors literary ancestors, rejoices in marriage, and, in the long title poem of this collection, traces the ancient ways of Siberian reindeer herders.
Jim Johnson was the 2008-2010 Duluth Poet Laureate. Jim Johnson's poetry is closely tied to his roots in Northern Minnesota and reveals his concern for the natural environment and the people and other living things of the area. His books, Finns In Minnesota Midwinter (1986) and A Field Guide To Blueberries (1992) were published by North Star Press. Wolves was published by New Rivers Press as a winner in the Minnesota Voices competition. In Dovetailed Corners (Holy Cow! Press, 1996) and The Coop Label (Dovetailed Corners Press, 2005) he collaborated with the photographer Marlene Wisuri.
In this new collection of lyric poems, The First Day of Spring in Northern Minnesota, Jim Johnson focus on home. He enters and explores the rich tapestry of the north woods, meditating upon such topics as deer flies, birch trees, log home construction, moose tracks, wolf scat, saunas, Finnish music, and black spruce shamanism. This collection brims, floats, and shivers with folk wisdom and unadorned majesty just like the lonely northern bogs that Johnson loves.
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