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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Sept. 13-14: Good Thunder Reading Series

Poet and novelists Juan Felipe Herrera and graduate student Alyssa Striplin are first featured writers in this year's series.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 9-2-217

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato will host poet and novelist Juan Felipe Herrera (pictured) and Alyssa Striplin, Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 13-14, as the first two of eight writers who will be on campus for this year’s Good Thunder Reading Series.

On Sept. 13, Herrera will hold a “Talk on Craft,” from 3-4 p.m. at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, located at 150 Stadium Court in Mankato. Following Herrera’s talk, an event titled “An Evening with Juan Felipe Herrera and the Aktion Club Theatre Poets” will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Elias J. Halling Recital Hall, located in the Jane Earley Performing Arts Center at Minnesota State Mankato.

The following day (Sept. 14) will feature two events. Herrera will hold a workshop from 10-11 a.m. at the Emy Frentz Gallery, located at 523 S. 2nd St., Mankato. Then from 7:30-8:30 p.m., there will be a reading with Nadine B. Andreas graduate assistant Alyssa Striplin in the University’s Centennial Student Union, Room 253.

All Good Thunder Reading Series events are free and open to the public.

Herrera was the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015-2016) and the first Latino to hold the position. His many collections of poetry include “Notes on the Assemblage,” “Senegal Taxi” and “Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems.”

He is the author of “Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse,” and his books include “SkateFate,” “Calling The Doves,” “Upside Down Boy,” which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City, and “Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box.”

Herrera served at the California State Poet Laureate. He is a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, Americas Award, and Ezra Jack Keats Award. He is also a performance artist and activist of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth.

Alyssa Striplin is an MFA candidate at Minnesota State University, Mankato and the managing editor of the Blue Earth Review. She is a recipient of the 2017-18 Nadine B. Andreas Graduate Assistantship.

The Aktion Club Theatre of Mankato is a group of high-energy, upbeat people of all ages and abilities that stage original plays and performances around issues of disability-accessibility, community inclusion and sharing a message of peace, love, and acceptance.The plays are original and highlight the gifts and talents of each of the actors. The group is currently working on a production about a circus and will be available in 2018.

The plays are written and directed by Wilbur Neushwander-Frink and include Soph and the Nana, Love Sweet Love, The Other Side, From Silence to Voice and The Beautiful Community Cabaret Show.

The Aktion Club Theatre Poet’s Club has been a part of the Good Thunder Readings Series at Minnesota State University, Mankato since 2015. The members create original poetry that features in plays and public poetry readings. Students at Minnesota State, Mankato’s MFA in Creative Writing Program facilitate the group.

The Good Thunder Reading Series is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

The 2017-18 Good Thunder Reading Series also receives support from Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of English, College of Arts and Humanities, Office of Institutional Diversity, the Nadine B. Andreas Endowment, the Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer Endowment, the Robert C. Wright Endowment and individual donors. The Arts Center of St. Peter, the Twin Rivers Council of the Arts and Barnes & Noble Bookstore at Minnesota State Mankato offer additional assistance.

For photos or more information, contact Diana Joseph at or 507-389-5144. Website:

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,110 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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