Thursday, April 6, 2017
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Creation takes place in the dark, but it seeks the light. The darkness is often bewildering, intimidating, but the artist persists. The theologian James Carse in The Silence of God writes that when we pray, we pray “from the heart as it is” rather than wait until we somehow have our act together before daring to address the Divine Mystery.
This evening of poems and songs, featuring Angela Shannon, Laura MacKenzie, Sharon Chmielarz, and Michael Dennis Browne, explores the journeys we must make on the way to transforming experience into words and notes that contribute to the vastness of our shared world.
Michael Dennis Browne’s latest collection of poems is The Voices. Two of his collections have won the Minnesota Book Award for poetry. A librettist and lyricist, he worked almost four decades with composer Stephen Paulus; their best-known shorter works include “Pilgrims’ Hymn,” “The Road Home,” “Hymn to the Eternal Flame” and “Hymn for America.” To Be Certain of the Dawn, a post-Holocaust oratorio, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in music. Recently he worked with Craig Hella Johnson on the fusion oratorio Considering Matthew Shepard. He is a professor emeritus of English at the University of Minnesota.
Sharon Chmielarz’s ten books of poetry include The Widow’s House, a finalist for the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and one of Kirkus’s Best of 2016 Books, and Visibility: Ten Miles, a Prairie Memoir in Photography and Poetry, a Midwest Book Awards finalist. Her work has been published in The Notre Dame Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, The Hudson Review, The North American Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Commonweal, Salmagundi, Margie, The Seneca Review, Louisiana Literature, Ontario Review, CutBank and many others. She was awarded Water~Stone’s Jane Kenyon Prize in 2012.
Laura MacKenzie has learned from many noted tradition bearers on both sides of the Atlantic, and has herself been recognized as a master folk artist. She has received numerous honors and performing arts awards, including a Bush Foundation Fellowship in Traditional and Ethnic Performing Arts. Laura performs and teaches on an array of wind-powered instruments, from wooden flutes and whistles to Scottish smallpipes, medieval greatpipes, gemshorn and voice. She has performed and recorded with diverse ensembles, worked with theatrical productions and for public radio, and has performed at festivals across the United States.
Angela Shannon, author of Singing the Bones Together, has published poetry in many anthologies including Blues Vision: African American Writings from Minnesota; Where One Voice Ends, Another Begins: 150 years of Minnesota Poetry; Hip Hop Speaks to Children: a celebration of poetry with a beat edited by Nikki Giovanni; and Beyond the Frontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st century, Step Into a World: The Global Anthology of the New Black Literature. Her publication credits include TriQuarterly, Crab Orchard Review, Ploughshares, and Essence Magazine. She is a professor of English at Bethel University.