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 Anisa Hagi-Mohamed and Halima Hagi-Mohamed

In this conversation, Lyricality’s “Read Poetry 2020” poet Anisa Hagi-Mohamed reads her poem  Maxaa Kaa Maqan? What is Missing from Your Life? in response to the poem I’m Okay by Louise K. Waakaa’igan. Afterwards, Anisa’s sister, poet Halima Hagi-Mohamed reads her poem Nomad in response to the poem  This is Where by Louise K. Waakaa’igan.

Louise acknowledges Anisa and Halima’s poems with these words: I am amazed and humbled with the notion of response poetry. It resembles a gentle solicitation of another’s truth and space. I am never aware of the impact of my words on another’s journey- yet, the echos of their responses are sweetly etched into my own, from this day on. Miigwech.

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.


“I’m Okay” and “This is Where” appear in This is Where by Louise K. Waakaa’igan (Willow Books, 2020). Willow Books is the award-winning division of AQUARIUS PRESS,  

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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.