This event is free and open to the public. RSVP here.
*Note: This event has been rescheduled from its previous date (April 1) due to weather.
Join us for a special event in celebration of poet Ray Gonzalez surrounding the release of his new book Suggest Paradise, a collection of rich and complex poems that embody the Southwest and the borderlands. Though Ray unfortunately will not be able to attend this event due to a death in the family, we are bringing a gathering of local writers who will pay tribute to this prolific poet, read their favorite poems of his, and discuss Ray's impact on their work. Our lineup of readers includes José Felipe Ozuna, Merle Geode, Kathryn Savage, Michael Torres, and two special guest poets, all performing Ray Gonzalez's work.
Please join us at Milkweed Books, our brick-and-mortar independent bookstore located on the first floor of Open Book, at 6 pm for a truly singular, moving event commemorating a legend in our local poetry community!
Praise for Suggest Paradise:
"In his new book, Ray Gonzalez maps an interior terrain of shamanic wisdom that does not ignore grief. 'My feet,' he says, 'are two owls fleeing the earth.' Gonzalez's Suggest Paradise celebrates a life-map into a deep self, a way into a paradise not simply 'suggested' but lived." —George Kalamaras, former Poet Laureate of Indiana
"This is a collection of making and memory—familial, literary, historical—in a world where 'the poet / and the priest clashed before each took / turns washing his hands.' Here, the poet continues to remember, to observe, and to make song." —Poetry Foundation
About the featured poet:
Ray Gonzalez is the author of sixteen books of poetry. He has won three Minnesota Book Awards
and received a 2017 Fellowship in Poetry from The Library of Congress. He is Professor Emeritus
at the University of Minnesota where he recently retired.
About the speakers:
José Felipe Ozuna was born in Guerrero, Mexico and migrated to Minnesota at the age of four. He
graduated with a B.S. in sociology and a minor in creative writing from Minnesota State University,
Mankato. His poems have appeared in Acentos Review, Rattle, and River Whale Review.
Merle Geode is a genre anarchist. They are a multidisciplinary artist whose mediums are words and
images, and they are interested in the relationship between the two, through a poet's lens. They are
an animist and shamanic practitioner whose spiritual work is one and the same with their creative
work. They are an MFA candidate in Poetry at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, and
they are a former Write Like Us Mentor and Loft Literary Center Mirrors & Windows Fellow.
Kathryn Savage’s Groundglass: An Essay (Coffee House Press) explores topics of environmental
justice and links between pollution and public health. Recipient of the Academy of American Poets
James Wright Prize, her writing across forms has been supported by the Bread Loaf Writers’
Conference, Jerome Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, Ucross Foundation, and Tulsa Artist
Fellowship. Recent writing appears or is forthcoming in American Short Fiction, BOMB
Magazine, Ecotone Magazine, Guernica, VQR, World Literature Today, and the anthology Rewilding: Poems
for the Environment. She is working on a collection of short stories.
Michael Torres was born and brought up in Pomona, California where he spent his adolescence
as a graffiti artist. His debut collection of poems, An Incomplete List of Names (Beacon Press,
2020) was selected by Raquel Salas Rivera for the National Poetry Series and named one of
NPR’s Books We Love. His honors include awards and support from the National Endowment
for the Arts, the McKnight Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, CantoMundo,
VONA Voices, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, the Camargo
Foundation, and the Loft Literary Center. Currently he’s an Assistant Professor in the MFA
program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a teaching artist with the Minnesota Prison