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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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March 20: Good Thunder Reading Series

Poets Matt Rasmussen and Tracy Smith to lead a discussion on the craft of writing and read their work.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of English News Release, 3-11-2014

Mankato, Minn. -- Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Good Thunder Reading Series continues its spring programming when National Book Award finalist and Minnesota poet Matt Rasmussen and Pulitzer Prize winning New York poet Tracy K. Smith (pictured at right) conduct a residency on Thursday, March 20.

The two will meet with community writers at 10 a.m. in Centennial Student Union Room 203 and be interviewed on KMSU 89.7 FM. At 3 p.m. in CSU 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.

Matt Rasmussen’s poetry has been published in Gulf Coast, Water~Stone Review, Paper Darts, and at Rasmussen (pictured below) was recently awarded a Pushcart Prize and has received grants and residencies from The McKnight Foundation, The Bush Foundation, The Minnesota State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts, The Anderson Center, and The Corporation of Yaddo. He teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, The Loft Literary Center, and Hamline University, and is also a founding editor of Birds, LLC, a small, independent poetry press. His first book of poems, Black Aperture, won the 2012 Walt Whitman Award and was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award in Poetry.

Tracy K. Smith is the author of three books of poetry. Her most recent collection, Life on Mars, won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book. The collection draws on sources as disparate as Arthur C. Clarke and David Bowie, and is in part an elegiac tribute to her late father, an engineer who worked on the Hubble Telescope. Her second book, Duende, won the 2006 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Essence Literary Award. Her first book, The Body’s Question, was the winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Along with other awards, Smith was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers Award in 2004 and a Whiting Award in 2005.

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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