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  • Loren Niemi

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I see that I have been neglectful of blog posts this summer. July and August seemed to race by with their own crisis or pleasures and now I feel like recapping the past is less interesting than predicting the future.


Specifically, this month and next are filled with books and the promotion / celebration of the same.


For starters, I have a new book - ”A Breviary For the Lost” by way of Calumet Editions out. It is a poetic memoir of my seven years in the Christian Brothers, a Catholic religious (teaching) order, my getting tossed out, and what came after. The oldest poem in it was written in 1965 and the most recent this very year. It is structured as a religious breviary with the day divided into eight “hours” of prayer/reflection containing first person poems on one side of the open book and on the other third person “footnotes” that comment on references and images within those poems.


It is available from Amazon books https://www.amazon.com/Breviary-Lost-Poems-During-After/dp/195074387X/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3A4GI3CB27X4M&keywords=loren+niemi&qid=1662136969&sprefix=%2Caps%2C71&sr=8-1 or directly from me. If you do buy it from Amazon, I would appreciate your posting a review as I am told they encourage other folks to buy the book. If you buy it from me, cash, check or credit card all work and of course, I’ll sign it and send it, or hand to it to you. Unfortunately, it is not in bookstores (though I am trying to get it placed in a few), so on-line ordering and in person autographs are your best acquisition options.


Also, as this is an election year, I am once more offering “Vote Coyote!” – a poetry chapbook that encompasses an entire political campaign. From Coyote’s decision to run for office to his (spoiler) concession speech, the peculiarities of American politics are seen through Coyote’s somewhat jaundiced eye. Hunter S. Thompson might have spewed more verbiage in writing about political campaigns, but Coyote offers short and sharp irony.


Vote Coyote!” is a limited edition publication only available from me.


So where might you see me and these or any of the other books I have done?


First up, the East Isles & Lowry Hill Super Sale on Saturday, September 10th. I’ll be sitting on the stoop on Dupont Ave (just a half a block north of the Masonic Temple on Franklin Avenue) from 9 to 3 PM with a table full of books, watching the cars roll past looking for bargains. Besides “A Breviary For the Lost” and “Vote Coyote!” I will also have copies of my collection of ghost stories - “What Haunts Us”- which won the 2020 Midwest Book Award for “Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Horror / Paranormal Fiction” and the Parkhurst Brothers Publishers 2 volume storytelling craft set “The New Book of Plots” and “Point of View and the Emotional Arc of Stories.”


Then if sidewalk transactions are not your cup of tea, you can have a beer while looking at an array of books worth reading while you sip at Inbound Brew Company’s Pop-up Bookstore (701 N 5th St, Minneapolis, MN 55401) on Sunday, September 18th from 1 – 5 PM. https://www.facebook.com/mnbooksandbeer


The third manifestation of where can you find my books is at the Deep Valley Book Festival on Saturday, October 1st. It is free and goes from 9:00 to 4:30 (at the Wow!Zone – 2030 Adams Street, Mankato, MN). Yes, it is a bit of a drive, but the Minnesota River valley should be in in glorious color if that sweetens the invitation. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/431444512264729/?acontext=%7B%22event_action_history%22%3A[%7B%22mechanism%22%3A%22calendar_tab_event%22%2C%22surface%22%3A%22bookmark_calendar%22%7D]%2C%22ref_notif_type%22%3Anull%7D


Finally on the book side of this missive, is the Twin Cities Book Festival on Saturday, October 15th from 10 AM – 5:00 PM which well be in the Progress Center at the MN State Fair Grounds. https://twincitiesbookfestival.com All the books I have available plus and information/schedules for the upcoming classes and performances being offered through the American School of Storytelling. Calumet Editions will also be there and it is rumored that they will have me do some kind of reading from “A Breviary For the Lost”, though the details have not been worked out or revealed to me yet.


As long as I am looking ahead, there are two other things on the horizon.


The first, of course, is the Autumnal Equinox, the coming of the season of bounty amid the withering of the light. I am not sure if Fall is my favorite season, but with its moody swings between warm afternoons and chilly nights its twilight afternoons and the leaves scattering before the wind, it stands in better stead with me than summer and winter. Arriving on September 22nd at 9:03 PM (Central time) it will prompt me to pen another of the seasonal missives and in that one, I think I will reflect a bit on what performing in a post-pandemic world feels like.


The second thing is that I will be performing “Fata Morgana” in Frankfort, KY at the Paul Sawyier Public Library at 6:30 PM on Thursday, September 29th. I love this “choose your adventure” story where the audience decides the stat and the finish of a story that slides between magic realism and classic adventure. I haven’t told it since I was at the Seattle Storytellers Guild in pre-pandemic 2020 and am looking forward to revisiting the intertwined lives of the Baker, the Contessa, the Mapmaker and the Widow.


That’s the essential of my art: whether telling or writing stories, whether crafting or reading poetry, it’s all narrative and as much as possible, oral. There is a joy in the sound of language, in the beats of syllables, in the rise and fall of volume and tone as we (some would say literally as well as imaginatively) conjure worlds and people to be shared with an audience in this time and place.