This August, Lyricality Founder/Director Tracy Rittmueller is pleased to present Lyricality’s “Read Poetry 2021” chosen author, Louise K. Waakaa’igan along with the guest poets who graced us with their presence at “an Evening with Louise K. Waakaa’igan” on April 8, 2021. Please enjoy this video series offering a deep-dive into Louise’s poetry, in conversation with 6 of Minnesota’s wonderful poets–3 nationally known poets from the Twin Cities metroplex and 3 accomplished Somali-American poets from Saint Cloud.

About Su Hwang

In this conversation, Lyricality’s “Read Poetry 2020” poet Su Hwang reads “Father” by Louise K. Waakaa’igan and responds with her poem “Eomma.”

Su Hwang is a poet, activist, stargazer, and the author of Bodega, Lyricality’s selections for “Read Poetry 2020” and recipient of the 2020 Minnesota Book Award in poetry. Su’s poems invite us to recognize trauma and to, in her words, “rage responsibly.” Her poems invite us to concede our egoistic ideals and fantasies to the truth of experience, as she writes in her poem “The Price of Rice”: 

 . . . I let my mother speak
in hyperbole—-concessions you allow someone who
survived civil war, someone whose father was takenby silhouetted men in the dagger of night . . .  

A gift of her poetry is allowance—-to allow and make a hospitable place for the reality of pain and shame, our own and others, and then to marvel in awe, to reconsider the value of feelings, ideas, people, and places which are generally unwanted, invisible, or marginalized in mainstream American culture. 

About THIS IS WHERE and Louise K. Waakaa’igan

This August (2021), ​​This Is Where, guides a series of video conversations on Sunday Morning Lyricality as we celebrate Louise K. Waakaa’igan, an Anishanabekwe poet enrolled at La Courte Ordielles Reservation in northern Wisconsin. Her poems courageously face hard truths, revealing the sorrows of complicated families and historical trauma. Her poems bring beauty to the world through their painstaking attention to the craft of writing, with empathy and kindness. 
This Is Where brings to us a gift in this naming and acceptance of contradiction. Aren’t we all searching for wholeness in a fragmented, polarized world? By holding the broken and the healing, the miraculous and the pitiful tenderly together, by facing ambiguities and contradictions, This Is Where shows us that while there are no shortcuts to healing and reconciliation, and although the work is hard, Love is possible.


“Father” appears in This is Where by Louise K. Waakaa’igan (Willow Books, 2020). Willow Books is the award-winning division of AQUARIUS PRESS, 

“Eomma” appears in Bodegaby Su Hwang (Milkweed Editions, 2019) 

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“Read Poetry Central Minnesota 2021” and “An Evening with Louise K. Waakaa’igan” were made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Central MN Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.