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Jan. 30: Good Thunder Reading Series

Event features poets Sarah McKinstry-Brown and Christopher Howell.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of English News Release, 1-2-2014

Minnesota State Mankato’s Good Thunder Reading Series resumes its 32nd season when Nebraska poet Sarah McKinstry-Brown and Washington poet Christopher Howell conduct a residency on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. The two will meet with community writers in the morning and be interviewed on KMSU 89.7 FM.

At 3 p.m. in Centennial Student Union Ostrander Auditorium, they will lead a discussion on the craft of writing. At 7:30 p.m. in CSU Room 253, they will read from their published works. All events are free and open to the public.

Winner of the 2011 Nebraska Book Award for Poetry and the Academy of American Poets Prize, Sarah McKinstry-Brown studied poetry at the University of New Mexico and the University of Sheffield, England. She earned her MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska, and her first full-length collection of poetry, Cradling Monsoons, won the 2010 Blue Light Book Award.

McKinstry-Brown’s poetry has been published in everything from West Virginia’s standardized tests to literary journals such as Chicago Quarterly Review. It also appears in several slam poetry anthologies, including The Spoken Word Revolution Redux, which includes poems from U.S. Poet Laureates Billy Collins and Ted Kooser.

Other publication highlights include Nebraska Presence, An Anthology of Nebraska Writers; Plainsongs; The Sow’s Ear; The Cimarron Review; and at alongside the works of Emily Dickinson and Lord Byron.

A native of Albuquerque, N.M., McKinstry-Brown has taught performing and writing workshops in libraries, schools, and universities throughout the United States. She currently lives in Omaha, Neb., with her poet husband Matt Mason and their two daughters.

Christopher Howell was born in Portland, Ore., and grew up on an ancestral farm which the city (and Highway 205) has now completely devoured. He was enrolled in the local public schools, and later attended Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., where he began writing poems, originally as a means of understanding poems his coursework required him to read.

He was a Navy journalist during the Viet Nam War and afterward earned graduate degrees from Portland State University and the University of Massachusetts. The most recent of his nine full-length collections of poems are Memory and Heaven (Eastern Washington University Press, 1996), Just Waking (Lost Horse Press, 2003), Light's Ladder (University of Washington Press, 2004), winner of the Washington State Book Award, Dreamless and Possible: Poems New & Selected (University of Washington Press, 2010), and Gaze (Milkweed Editions, 2012).

This year’s Good Thunder Reading Series is funded by the Minnesota State Mankato Department of English, the College of Arts and Humanities, the Office of Institutional Diversity, the Nadine B. Andreas Endowment, the Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer Endowment, the Robert C. Wright Endowment, and individual donors. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants 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. Minnesota State Mankato Library Services and the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at Minnesota State Mankato offer additional assistance.

For more information about the series, contact Richard Robbins at the Minnesota State Mankato Department of English, 507-389-1354, or see the web site at

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