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Magic Mikes & Welcome Matts: Townhall on White Heteropatriarchy

  • Poetry Asylum @ Assembly 2854 Columbus Avenue South Minneapolis, MN, 55407 United States (map)

All cis men? All straight cis men? FOUR white dudes? WTF!!! (This is still happening everywhere!) The very premise of this event goes against our "mission" in every way, but we feel that in order to take poetry out of privileged spaces, we have to acknowledge privilege first by those who HAVE privilege in a privileged landscape for just a lucky few.. We feel that we can have deeper and perhaps uncomfortably honest conversations with writers we know well for our fourth event of Poetry Asylum's Assembly series––the cozy setting lending itself to challenging discourse in an intimate space.. We are in NO WAY celebrating white privilege, oh hell no! We want to shine a light on their privilege and what they're doing about it.

When did they acknowledge their privilege? In what ways have their privilege affected them as humans and writers? How are they/what can they do to dismantle heteropatriarchy in a white supremacist country/state/community, especially within literary circles. All cisgender male readings still occur across the Twin Cities. All white readings still take place. Let's talk about that. 

This event idea truly started as a joke/riff on a random FB thread by Sun Yung. She posted something on FB, then it so happend Michael, Mike, and Michael all replied in the same thread. Sun Yung joked, "Ha, we should host an all Michaels reading." It's true, they are friends. We thought it would be a hoot. Then we realized it was mostly white dudes named Michael. We could only think of these Mikes, so we contacted two other Mikes, POC + queer, but they never got back to us. That's when we thought of inviting the Matts to continue the "M" alliteration––silly, not much thought involved sadly. We then realized this needed to be more than a reading. We've all heard them read before, but we wanted to sit down and have a difficult conversation about their privilege, about how that privilege has created our current prison system, and to take ownership of their privilege, to be moderated by Sun Yung who doesn't wear kid gloves when it comes to interrogating white privilege and male violence.

We are making this ONE TIME exception so we can address white privilege––but we will also call into question the realities of racism/sexism/phobias in literary circles since these subjects are rarely discussed in an open forum. Five of the six M's are/have been involved with MPWW (Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop) so we felt like they could speak about prisons b/c they have firsthand experience working inside a facility. They are all teachers, so we want to hear about what they are doing to change the heteropatriarchical structures in the classroom. We will also have a Q&A with the audience so you can also get in on the conversation.

A brisk reading from each reader (5 min each) will be followed by a roundtable panel discussion moderated by Sun Yung Shin. We really welcome questions from you. Local radio station KRSM (dedicated to amplifying underrepresented/marginalized voices in traditional media) will probably be there to record the event for future re-broadcast. The conversation is not to celebrate privilege, but acknowledge it and how we can move forward to combat/reverse it.


MIKE ALBERTI was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and received his MFA in fiction from the University of Minnesota. His short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Florida Review, Gulf Coast, One Story, and elsewhere. He has received support from the James Merrill House, the Ucross Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. He serves as the Managing Director of the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop and lives in Minneapolis, where he is at work on a novel.

MICHAEL BAZZETT is the author of The Interrogation (Milkweed Editions); Our Lands Are Not So Different (Horsethief Books); and You Must Remember This, which received the Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry. His poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Ploughshares, The Sun, The American Poetry Review, Tin House, and The Iowa Review. A longtime faculty member at The Blake School, Bazzett has received the Bechtel Prize from Teachers & Writers Collaborative and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

MICHAEL KLEBER-DIGGS is a poet and essayist. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeney’s, Poetry City, North Dakota Quarterly, Paper Darts, Water~Stone Review and a few anthologies and collaborations. He is a past Fellow with the Givens Foundation for African-America Literature, a past-winner of the Loft Mentor Series in Poetry, and a 2018 recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Michael lives in Saint Paul with his wife, Karen, and their 16-year-old daughter.

MATT MAUCH is the author of Bird~Brain, If You’re Lucky Is a Theory of Mine, Prayer Book, and the chapbook The Brilliance of the Sparrow. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Conduit, The Journal, DIAGRAM, Willow Springs, The Los Angeles Review, Forklift, Ohio, Sonora Review, Water~Stone Review, and on the Poetry Daily and Verse Daily websites. A Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant recipient, Mauch leads the staff at Poetry City, USA, a journal of poetry and prose on poetry, and lives in Minneapolis, where he teaches in the AFA in Creative Writing program at Normandale Community College.

MATT RASMUSSEN is the author of Black Aperture, which won the 2013 Walt Whitman Award, the 2014 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His poems have been published in The Literary Review, Gulf Coast, Water~Stone Review, Revolver, Paper Darts, and elsewhere. He received a 2014 Pushcart Prize and was awarded the 2015 Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University. A founding editor of the independent poetry press Birds, LLC, he lives in Robbinsdale, MN. 

MICHAEL TORRES was born and brought up in Pomona, California where he spent his adolescence as a graffiti artist. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, The Sun, and Copper Nickel among others. He has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation. Torres is a VONA alum and a CantoMundo Fellow. Currently he teaches creative writing at Minnesota State University, Mankato and through the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop.

Later Event: April 14
Dreamy Dreamers