Thanks to the MinnSpec Writers Group and Conrad Z-Ro for convening the fifth Wordbrew gathering of speculative writers and artists at Kieran’s Pub in Minneapolis on October 22nd.
This year’s MC was Rob Callahan, who kept the lively gathering moving along smoothly throughout the afternoon once the doors opened at high noon. As a free event, it was hard to beat with so many wonderful and talented voices participating. I found myself discovering several new artists and writers whose work I want to see more of in the future, for sure.
I also had a chance to reconnect with several of my favorite long-standing colleagues I’ve known and worked with for over the years including Terry Faust, Roy C. Booth, Cynthia Booth, Amina Harper, Dami Sheridan, and Tyler Tork. Riawa Thomas-Smith, one of the newer poets whose work I’m becoming familiar with was also there. Michael A. O’Leary, Jr. created an entirely new work of monstrous art that I can’t wait to frame!
I’m also now convinced that in 3 to 5 years, Minnesota will be ready for its first Southeast Asian Speculative Literature Festival, thanks to the work of Vietnamese American writer and artist Vu Dang, among other rising stars. My thanks to Peuo Tuy, the executive director of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association for taking the time to come out and see us all.
I’ve included some of my better shots of the afternoon at my flickr account, but Terry Faust definitely has the best shots of the day including this shot of me reading two of my speculative poems, “Zombuddha” and “Five Flavors.” In the continuing zany misadventures of Bryan, I had to read my work from my laptop at 25% this time around, but it all worked out. #DamnYouGremlins, #LongStory.
Ultimately it was a wonderful and affirming reading that assures me speculative writing is alive and well in Minnesota, and if you ever get invited to participate in Wordbrew, take them up on it. It’s a wonderful tradition that I hope continues in the Twin Cities for decades to come.