Anoka-Ramsey Community College instructor and former O’Shaughnessy-Frey library staff member, Kirsten Dierking has published her third book of poetry and will read at the University of St. Thomas, O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm. Joining Kirsten is friend and colleague, Tracy Youngblom, who has recently published her first book of poetry and also teaches at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. Book signing will follow the reading.
During a writing residency at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts near the Mississippi River, Kirsten Dierking, a poet and humanities instructor at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, thought a lot about water and the changeable nature of time. The result is “Tether,” her third volume of poetry, published recently by Spout Press, a Minneapolis publisher.
“I’m trying to capture those moments when time seems to slow and still; the spaces between waking and sleeping, the middle of a long, hot season, the feeling of floating on water,” she said. “But I’m also trying to understand those parts of our lives that flash by and how we face the relentless onrush of the future.”
The poems are grounded in “Minnesota” topics – winter, a vacation week at the cabin and the Mississippi River. Water is a strong theme in the book.
“I have poems about rivers, streams, lakes, the ocean,” Dierking said. “Part of this probably just comes from living in the land of 10,000 lakes. But I was particularly inspired by a writing residency and by working at Anoka-Ramsey. Both of these places sit right on the banks of the Mississippi. And I often get writing ideas when I’m out on the water paddling a kayak.”
Being an active artist helps Dierking bring a creative dimension into the classroom and demonstrates to students that contemporary art is being created now. “They see that poetry is not just something they are reading about in a textbook,” she said. Dierking has taught humanities courses at Anoka-Ramsey Community College since 2004. In 2011, Kirsten received the NEA’s Excellence in the Academy Award for the Art of Teaching, and in 2009 she received the Building Bridges Award in Education from the Islamic Resource Group of Minnesota.
Kirsten Dierking is the recipient of a 2010 McKnight Artist Fellowship, a Minnesota State Arts Board grant for literature, a Loft Literary Center Career initiative grant and a SASE/Jerome grant.
Dierking’s two other books of poetry are “Northern Oracle,” (Spout Press, 2007), and “One Red Eye,” (Holy Cow! Press, 2001). Her poems have been heard on public radio’s The Writer’s Almanac and have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems, American Places and To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-Territorial Days to the Present. “Tether” is available online through Small Press Distribution, Spout Press, at local bookstores or any bookstore, which can order it.
An interview with Kirsten Dierking:
What is the title of your book?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
K: Tether revolves around the changeable nature of time in our lives.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
K: Time, and the passing of time, becomes more important the older you get! I’m trying to capture those moments when time seems to slow and still; the spaces between waking and sleeping, the middle of a long, hot season, the feeling of floating on water. But I’m also trying to understand those parts of our lives that flash by, and how we face the relentless onrush of the future. These ideas are grounded in very “Minnesotan” topics – poems about winter, a vacation week at the cabin, the Mississippi River.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the book?
K: It took about 4 years to write the book, including early drafts and many subsequent revisions.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
K: Water is a strong theme in the book, I have poems about rivers, streams, lakes, the ocean. Part of this probably just comes from living in the land of 10,000 lakes! But I was particularly inspired by a writing residency at the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, and also by working at Anoka-Ramsey Community College – both these places sit right on the banks of the Mississippi. And I often get writing ideas when I’m out on the water paddling a kayak. Some of the varied things that inspired specific poems: standing on the prime meridian in Greenwich, thunder, the French Revolution, watching a boy fish Rice Creek.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
K: The publisher is Spout Press, they are a non-profit literary press headquartered in Minneapolis. Their books are distributed by Small Press Distribution (SPD).
What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?
K: I think one of the great things about poetry is that good poets have strong, unique voices, so comparisons are difficult. I do love Linda Pastan’s work, her connection to nature and time, and the succinct quality of her poems.
Tracy Youngblom earned an MA in English from the University of St. Thomas and an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College. Her first full-length collection of poems, Growing Big, was published in September 2013 by North Star Press. A chapbook of poems, Driving to Heaven, was published in 2010 (Parallel Press) and was reviewed in The Georgia Review.
Individual poems, stories, and book reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in journals including Shenandoah, New York Quarterly, Briar Cliff Review, New Hibernia Review, Slate, North Stone Review, Aethlon, Potomac Review, Poetry East, Ruminate, Weave magazine, Emprise Review, Frostwriting, and others.
Tracy teaches English full time at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, lives with her husband and dog, and spends as much time as possible with her three grown sons.
More about Tracy:
Please visit these links to publisher pages with little blurbs about the books Tracy will be reading from:
All are welcome — reading is free and open to the public — refreshments will be provided.
We hope to see you Wednesday – October 23 – 3:00 – 4:00 pm — Great Hall on 2nd floor!
Questions? Please call Julie Kimlinger, 962-5014