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Winners of the 2015-2016 Loft Mentor Series in poetry read

Sherry  Quan Lee, Loft Mentorship Poetry Mentor 2015-2016: Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. Her most recent book, LOVE IMAGINED: a mixed race memoir, was a 2015 Minnesota Book Award finalist.

Jeanne Lutz grew up on a dairy farm in southern Minnesota, attended the University of Ireland, Galway, earned her B.A. in English from St. Catherine University, spent two years in Tokyo, and now divides her time between the family farm and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. She is the author of the chapbook, Hearts and Harrows, co-written with Richard Donnelly, and her work has appeared in a variety of venues, including Stories for the Seventh Generation, Conduit, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Poetry City, USA, and on KAXE radio station. “As a poet,” Jeanne Lutz says, “I think it’s important to keep asking Gauguin’s famous set of questions, ‘Where do we come from? Who are we? And where are we going?’”

Michael Kleber-Diggs likes to explore, among other things, how whimsical, political, cultural, spiritual, and transformative events happen as part of everyday life. Michael is a 2015 Writing Fellow with the Givens Foundation for African American Literature and a 2015 Winner of the Loft Literary Center Mentor Series for Poetry and Creative Prose. His work has appeared in Ache and in Water-Stone Review. He’s currently working on a manuscript reflecting on institutional violence, grief, loss, and community. When he isn’t writing poetry, he’s a husband, a father, and a risk-management consultant. Michael lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife, Karen, who makes art with flowers, and their 14 year-old daughter, who expresses her art through dance.

Sagirah Shahid was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. Primarily a poet, her work often seeks to make sense of the complexities surrounding the human experience. Sagirah is kinda an activist and is definitely interested in creating work that resonates deeply with the different communities she comes from. Sagirah has preformed her poetry and spoken word at a number of fundraiser and events, including Rock for Rasmea, For the Children of Palestine, and the Cracked Walnut Literary Festival. Sagirah’s page poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in: The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Mizna, Bluestem, For Harriet, Black Fox, Knockout Literary Magazine, Switchback, and Qu Literary Journal.

Anais is a Minneapolis based interdisciplinary artist and community organizer who sees music and storytelling as key to building power within communities of color.  With roots across the U.S.-Mexico border, her writing looks at identity, displacement, trauma, and healing.  She is the founder of Border Voices, which uses storytelling and performance to create spaces for dialogue where local poets can share their immigrant truths.  Anais is a recipient of the 2014 VERVE Grant for Spoken Word artists through Intermedia Arts and a winner of the 2015-16 Loft Mentor Series in poetry.

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