Nearly 450 submissions later, the 2012 Saint Paul Almanac is out and on store shelves. You can find this compendium of all things Saint Paul at most bookstores in the city, including Common Good Books.
The September launch included an extended series of readings by the writers featured in the book. The last 2012 author reading will be held this Thursday, Nov 17, at Claddagh Coffee at 6:30pm. This new coffee shop is located at 459 West Seventh St. This final reading will include Katrina Vandenberg, David Mather, Joe Nathan and others.
Attend and enjoy readings of some of the material featured in the book. The readings feature poetry and prose read by the writers themselves. A recent outing at Nina’s Café, sponsored by Common Good Books, featured Sharon Chmielarz, Patricia Kirkpatrick, Martin Devaney, and more.
The readings are friendly events, with each reader introducing the next one. It’s an appreciative audience, if you don’t mind the whir of the espresso machine. They only take an hour or less, so come on out to see your favorite contributor or a poet yet undiscovered.
If you didn’t make it to one of these many author readings, there are still more community opportunities to hear live writers. The next series of readings sponsored by the Saint Paul Almanac is The Lowertown Reading Jams. The first reading for this series is tonight and features eight writers, hosted by J. Otis Powell!. This series takes place at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince St. The first Jam is entitled “Duende and the Sound of Soul” and begins at 7pm.
This series brings in out-of-town writers, as well as featuring local talent, says Kimberly Nightingale, editor and publisher. The Jams may or may not feature those published in the Almanac. These are spoken word performances, rather than readings of straight prose or poetry. It is another way to get the word out, literally, into the air. The Jams will continue on the second Monday of each month through July.
So what is the Saint Paul Almanac? It is “a literary campfire,” a celebration of Saint Paul in poetry, prose and images, set up in a datebook format. It is a guidebook to our capital city, and for the first time ever, the 2012 edition features two full-color, hand-drawn, poster-size maps of Saint Paul, both the whole city and a detail map of downtown.
In the Almanac, readers will find anything from recipes for family favorites to a short series on the history of some well-known murals. You will find nostalgic stories, like a boy’s adventure at the last Ringling Brothers tent circus. Or a touching story of family and place, like the story featuring peonies and Calvary Cemetery. Each edition includes new, unpublished voices alongside such luminaries as Garrison Keillor, Katrina Vandenberg, Jill Breckinridge, Carol Connolly and many others.
The 2012 edition includes 129 stories and over 180 photographs. The book retails for $14.95 at local retailers and coffee shops, or you can get it for $17.95 online (including shipping and handling). This is the sixth year for this hometown favorite. Send one to some expat you love, a student away at college, or someone who is just down the street.
The Saint Paul Almanac enjoys the support of many community organizations, including the Saint Paul Foundation, the Lowertown Future Fund, the Minnesota Humanities Center, Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and KFAI, among many other august entities. But they still need your help. This Thursday, Nov 16, is Give to the Max Day. If you can afford to give, do it on this day and see your contribution combined with others. Plus, you could win $1,000 for the charity of your choice!
Arcata Press publishes the Saint Paul Almanac, but their work doesn’t stop there. The Saint Paul Almanac is used as a community force for good. More than 2,000 students in the Saint Paul Public School system get a copy each year as part of their language arts curriculum. There is also an annual writing contest for grades 5-12. Community editors choose the best from among the hundreds of entries, and everyone has a shot.
So get your pencils sharpened… the next entry deadline for contributions is coming up fast! Rather than the usual March deadline, this year the deadline for the 2013 Saint Paul Almanac is December 15. Get it out of the way before all the holiday craziness. Nightingale says the earlier you get your material in, the better. So don’t wait until the last minute! You can find submission guidelines on the Saint Paul Almanac website.