Literary Bridges: Autumn Leaves (Oct 3)

Donna Isaac
September 7, 2021

Literary Bridges: Autumn Leaves presents poets Thomas R. Smith, Mary Kay Rummel, Stanley Kusonoki, Norita Dittberner-Jax, and Mary Moore Easter, a Sunday matinee 2:00-3:30, Oct. 3rd @ Next Chapter Booksellers, 38 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul with host Donna Isaac. Please  be vaccinated and wear a mask. Donations welcome for readers. Refreshments will be offered.

Stanley Kusunoki is the author of three collections of poetry; 180 Days: Reflections and Observations of a Teacher and Items in the News (North Star Press) and Shelter in Place--Poems in a Time of COVID-19  (Polaris Press). He has taught creative writing through The Loft, Asian American Renaissance, Intermedia Arts, and S.A.S.E., The Write Place. Stanley received a Loft Asian Inroads Mentorship and was awarded a MN State Arts Board Cultural Collaboration Grant to create, write, and perform "Beringia-The Land Bridge Project" with Ojibwe performance poet, Jamison Mahto at Intermedia Arts. He is a host/curator of the Literary Bridges reading series at Next Chapter Booksellers. Most recently, he was Red Oak Elementary School's High Potential Coordinator.He lives in St. Paul with wife Claudia Daly.

Norita Dittberner-Jax lives in her native St. Paul in a sixth-floor apartment.  From her desk she can see the skyline and the cathedral as well as a 100-year old tree she named Prosper.  Her poetry has been widely published, and her sixth book of poetry, Now I Live Among Old Trees (Nodin Press), debuted in 2020. In 2017, Crossing the Waters won the Midwest Book Award for poetry among other accolades. She is one of the poetry editors for Red Bird Chapbooks.

Thomas R. Smith teaches at the Loft Literary Center and lives in River Falls, WI.  His recent books include Windy Day at Kabekona: New and Selected Prose Poems (White Pine) and Storm Island (Red Dragonfly).  His first book of essays, Poetry on the Side of Nature: Writing the Nature Poem as an Act of Survival, is in preparation from Folded Word Press.  He is also working on a pandemic-themed collection called Medicine Year.  He posts poems and essays at

Mary Kay Rummel’s ninth poetry book, Nocturnes: Between Flesh and Stone, has been recently published by Blue Light Press of San Francisco. Her first book, This Body She’s Entered, won a MN Voices Award from New Rivers Press. The Lifeline Trembles won the Blue Light Award from Blue Light Press, and Love in the End was a chapbook award winner from Bright Hill Press. She is co-editor of Psalms of Cinder & Silt, poems about the fires in CA (Solo Novo Press). Mary Kay has read her poems in many venues in the US, England, and Ireland. She is a Poet Laureate emerita of Ventura County, CA and divides her time between Minneapolis and Ventura.

Mary Moore Easter, a 2020 recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the MN State Arts Board, and Cave Canem Alumni Fellow, is the author of four poetry books:  Free Papers: poems inspired by the testimony of Eliza Winston, a Mississippi slave freed in Minnesota in 1860 (2021); The Body of the World (MN Book Award in Poetry finalist) (2019); Walking from Origins; and  From the Flutes of Our Bones (2020). Founder and Director of Carleton College’s dance program, Easter pursued a long dance career as a much-honored independent dancer/choreographer. Her poems have been individually published in Poetry, Water~Stone and Prairie Schooner.