Donte Collins is a Black, queer American poet. Named the inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of Saint Paul, Minnesota, they are the recipient of the 2018 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Spoken Word administered by the Loft Literary Center and winner of the 2016 Most Promising Young Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets. They are the author of the poetry collection “Autopsy” (Button Poetry, 2017) a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. Collins is the recipient of the 2016 Mitchell Prize in Poetry from Augsburg University and are an alum of TruArtSpeaks, a non-profit arts organization based in the Twin Cities cultivating literacy, leadership and social justice through the study & application of Spoken Word and Hip Hop culture.
Donte’s words cannot sit still and often embody theatrical recitations. Their work holds a knife to systems of oppression and dominant power structures. They wield poetry to collapse normativity and deliver work that is both alluring and challenging. Often centered around intersections of class, race, adoption, sexuality and social justice, Donte uses rhythm, breath, and the marriage between archive and repertoire to reimagine how poetry can be accessible to those who believe the form is dead.
Margaret Hasse is the author of five books of poems: Stars Above, Stars Below (1985, new edition reissued in 2008); In a Sheep’s Eye, Darling (1993); Milk and Tides (2008); Earth’s Appetite (2013); and Between Us (2016). She is a recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, McKnight Foundation, Loft Literary Center’s Career Initiative Program, Minnesota State Arts Board, and Jerome Foundation.
Hasse leads poetry workshops, mentors writers, and edits manuscripts, emcees a poetry reading series and welcomes opportunities to read, perform, and make presentations about her poetry, as well as to support and collaborate with artists and arts organizations. Her work has been published in anthologies (such as Where One Voice Ends, Another Begins: 150 Years of Minnesota Poetry, and To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women’s Voices from Pre-Territorial Day to the Present), magazines, broadsides, and unusual places such as sidewalks, public art, and in Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Naomi Cohn is a poet, therapist and teaching artist. Through her project, Known by Heart, she leads accessible poetry workshops and experiences and publishes poetry posters featuring the work of older adults and people with disabilities. She’s also worked as a freelance writer, community organizer, encyclopedia copy editor and grant writer. Red Dragonfly Press published her chapbook, Between Nectar & Eternity, in 2013. Her lyric essay, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Bird, appeared in Hippocampus in 2016 and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Thanks to a 2018 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant, she is currently finishing a book-length prose poem, Entries from the Braille Encyclopedia, about the experience of learning braille as an adult. A Chicago native, she now lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she’s proud to be featured in that city’s sidewalk poetry project.
This library event made possible by the lovely folks at the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.