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Poetic Ecosystems: A Reading and Conversation

Join us on the eve of the winter solstice for a presentation of works by poets Halee KirkwoodSagirah Shahid, and D Allen. Readings will be followed by an open conversation about the literal and figurative ecosystems that shape our work, examining the ways that other disciplines, art forms, and ways of knowing influence our poetic consciousness. We welcome fellow poets, writers, artists, and community members to join us for this event. 

Butter Bakery Cafe and its restrooms are wheelchair-accessible, and all speakers will use a microphone. 

This event is free and open to the public. There will be an optional tip jar for the poets, along with broadsides and chapbooks for sale, and we hope you will enjoy a warm beverage or sweet treat from the bakery during the event. 


Halee Kirkwood is a gender-fluid poet descended from the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. Kirkwood is a first-generation student, a college graduate of Northland College, and a current MFA student at Hamline University. Previously a small-town librarian and corporate mascot, they are currently a writing mentor for the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, associate editor for Runestone Journal, an online annual journal of undergraduate literature, and was selected as a teaching fellow for the 2019 Desert Nights, Rising Stars writing conference at Arizona State University. Their work has been published or is forthcoming in Muzzle Magazine, ctrl+v, Cream City Review, Midwest Gothic, Autostraddle, and others. Kirkwood was a finalist for the 2018 Sundress Press Broadside Contest, and their big concerns in the writing life include amplifying resilience narratives amidst a life of trauma, promoting reproductive justice in all shapes and colors, and deconstructing the colonialist distinctions made between “folk” and “fine” arts. 

Sagirah Shahid (sagirahshahid.com) is a Black Muslim poet and occasional prose writer by way of Minneapolis, MN. She is a recipient of a 2015 Loft Mentor Series Award in Poetry, a 2016 Minnesota State Arts Bord Grant, a winner of 2017 Minnesota Center For Book Arts mentorship award, and a participant in a 2018 Twin Cities Media Alliances’ “Our Space is Spoken For” Fellowship. Sagirah’s poetry and short stories have appeared in Mizna, Paper Darts, Juked, Bird’s Thumb, AtlanticRock, Blue Minaret, and elsewhere.

D Allen (thebodyconnected.com) is a multidisciplinary poet, artist, and educator. D.'s work often engages with queer, trans, and disabled embodiment, as well as the relationship between the body and the natural world. D.'s first hybrid poetry book, A Bony Framework for the Tangible Universe, is now available for preorder and will be published by The Operating System in February 2019. 


D. Allen organized this reading and conversation as part of a 2018 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. Many thanks to the Arts Board for making this event possible.