The Coffee House Press Writers and Readers Library Residency Program

In The Stacks with Éireann Lorsung: [none] / 27 July, 1-5 pm, pt IIThe visible work I’m making during my time with the Little Poetry Library, at the Blue Moon Coffee Café, on Lake Street, under the aegis of CHP In The Stacks, is a Book of Hours. But I’m also taking notes, listening to conversations and the music around me, reading books from the LPL, and thinking about some long poems I want to write about mid-sized Midwestern cities like this one (Minneapolis, where I lived until I was 26). The West and the South and cities like Boston and New York, even the Northeast/New England, seem to have an identity—literary identity especially—that writers can take part in, for good or ill. But when I started trying to think about the place I grew up, I found myself feeling there was nothing there that gave it a texture or a lexicon. Which is wrong: there is so much here. But I have a blind spot, and (maybe because I was an insider for so long, and now live so far away) I can’t see or organize a mythology of the place to write against or from. So I’m collecting things people say—instances of speech that typify this place. And I’m taking photos of gardens and houses and road signs and buses, to help me remember the way things smell and feel and sound. And I’m reading things, like (again!) Body Clock by Eleni Sikelianos and The City, Our City by Wayne Miller, that I’ve found in the Little Poetry Library, that help me think about ways to write about—in fact, ways to see—this place.Éireann Lorsung is currently a writer-in-residence at the Little Poetry Library on East Lake Street in Minnneapolis. She’ll be using the materials and the environment surrounding the LPL to create a Book of Hours. If you’d like to contribute a poem or see her in action, visit her at Blue Moon Coffee Café on one of these days/times.Tuesday, July 29 [sext: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.]Thursday, July 31 [terce: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.]Friday, Aug. 1 [lauds/matins: 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.]Join us for a reading and presentation on August 4th at 7pm above Blue Moon. Visit our Facebook event page for more details. 

In The Stacks with Éireann Lorsung: [none] / 27 July, 1-5 pm, pt II

The visible work I’m making during my time with the Little Poetry Library, at the Blue Moon Coffee Café, on Lake Street, under the aegis of CHP In The Stacks, is a Book of Hours. But I’m also taking notes, listening to conversations and the music around me, reading books from the LPL, and thinking about some long poems I want to write about mid-sized Midwestern cities like this one (Minneapolis, where I lived until I was 26). The West and the South and cities like Boston and New York, even the Northeast/New England, seem to have an identity—literary identity especially—that writers can take part in, for good or ill. But when I started trying to think about the place I grew up, I found myself feeling there was nothing there that gave it a texture or a lexicon. Which is wrong: there is so much here. But I have a blind spot, and (maybe because I was an insider for so long, and now live so far away) I can’t see or organize a mythology of the place to write against or from. So I’m collecting things people say—instances of speech that typify this place. And I’m taking photos of gardens and houses and road signs and buses, to help me remember the way things smell and feel and sound. And I’m reading things, like (again!) Body Clock by Eleni Sikelianos and The City, Our City by Wayne Miller, that I’ve found in the Little Poetry Library, that help me think about ways to write about—in fact, ways to see—this place.

Éireann Lorsung is currently a writer-in-residence at the Little Poetry Library on East Lake Street in Minnneapolis. She’ll be using the materials and the environment surrounding the LPL to create a Book of Hours. If you’d like to contribute a poem or see her in action, visit her at Blue Moon Coffee Café on one of these days/times.

Tuesday, July 29 [sext: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.]
Thursday, July 31 [terce: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.]
Friday, Aug. 1 [lauds/matins: 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.]

Join us for a reading and presentation on August 4th at 7pm above Blue Moon. Visit our Facebook event page for more details. 

In The Stacks with Éireann Lorsung: [none] / 27 July, 1-5 pm

Differences today: Music (first songs from the late 70s-late 80s, the cheesiest pop songs, so uncomfortable as background music because they weren’t part of my growing up and so my listening is more active; then a couple of albums by The Decemberists; now The National). Weather (rain when I was leaving meant I didn’t ride my bike; worried about the pages of the book getting wet, which wouldn’t be [write it!] a disaster, but still: rather not). Leading to Travel (i.e., I came by car rather than bike, which meant I didn’t come alone and that I didn’t have the slower movement as a bridge between not-here and here, and also meant I didn’t notice things as I moved through the space between not-here and here, and that therefore my image-repertoire was a little empty when I arrived). Leading to the main difference: I felt less capable or interested, a little listless. It took a while to get going. Main lesson to myself is the same lesson I always need: just begin, and begin by observation. I began with the sky. The page-form for today was also different (gothic-shaped window instead of rounded), which meant I couldn’t begin the same way as I have (with the double-arc that imitates traditional Book of Hours images). Slower, slower, slower today. Reminded me that less is all right (against my tendency to fill every picture plane). Also that slow is all right (against my habit of equating fast work with good work).

Éireann Lorsung is currently a writer-in-residence at the Little Poetry Library on East Lake Street in Minnneapolis. She’s using the materials and the environment surrounding the LPL to create a Book of Hours.

If you’d like to contribute a poem or see her in action, visit her at Blue Moon Coffee Café on one of these days/times.

Tuesday, July 29 [sext: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.]
Thursday, July 31 [terce: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.]
Friday, Aug. 1 [lauds/matins: 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.]

Join us for a reading and presentation on August 4th at 7pm above Blue Moon. Visit our Facebook event page for more details.

In the Stacks with Éireann Lorsung: Vespers: 3 - 7 p.m., 24-7-14, pt. II

…from the Greek ἑσπέρα/hespera and the Latin vesper, meaning ‘evening’.

Three p.m. isn’t really evening, but seven is—when I leave it truly will be evening in this city, city of my childhood and young adulthood, city of blinds pulled against the heat in west-facing windows, city of bedtimes while it’s light outside, city of asphalt that smells like ozone, city of tar shingles burning my feet. City of apple trees, sunflowers, Russian sage, day lilies, tomato plants; city of nasturtiums and rain gardens and river rocks; city of the river itself, northernmost city of this river. When evening comes over Minneapolis, the white Metro Transit buses shine in the low sun, and tonight the clouds that have hung over us all day lift a little in the west and send those rays straight down Lake Street from the bodies of water at one end to the flat high river at the other. And the shadows of bicyclists stretch out on 39th Avenue and the light hits the unlit taillights of cars and makes them glow. And I will go out into the early evening in this city, free on my bicycle, with the warm hands of the photographer and the sharp eyes of the reporter, with the softness of the barista and the welcome of the barista, with the ambient conversation in this place (the teenage girls with many braids, the woman with a baby, the man who walked in and out and in and out, the men playing a game with dice) all around me, like the slightly humid air.

Éireann Lorsung is currently a writer-in-residence at the Little Poetry Library on East Lake Street in Minnneapolis. She’ll be using the materials and the environment surrounding the LPL to create a Book of Hours. If you’d like to contribute a poem or see her in action, visit her at Blue Moon Coffee Café on one of these days/times.

Sunday, July 27 [none: 1 - 5 p.m.]
Tuesday, July 29 [sext: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.]
Thursday, July 31 [terce: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.]
Friday, Aug. 1 [lauds/matins: 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.]

Join us for a reading and presentation on August 4th at 7pm above Blue Moon. Visit our Facebook event page for more details. 

In the Stacks with Éireann Lorsung: Vespers: 3 - 7 p.m., 24-7-14

Some books that were present with me while I drew today:

Body Clock / Eleni Sikelianos [complex and intricate form demanded more days of me]
Annonciade / Elizabeth Spires [good title]
Dark Lake / Kathryn Kysar [she’s local but I hadn’t read this yet]
Come to the Window / Ann Iverson [from the likewise-local Laurel Poetry Collective]
The Eros Conspiracy / Greg Hewett [I liked the title]

These books are all from the Little Poetry Library itself. One interesting thing about working with this collection is the arbitrariness and the limitation that the collection presents. Because the LPL depends on people stopping by and dropping off books, and therefore on the individual taste of patrons and/or neighborhood folks, what’s inside isn’t always what I’d seek out on my own. That said, it’s always been a favorite game of mine to take whatever there is and to find what’s interesting/useful for me in it.

If you want to drop a book or a poetry magazine/journal off, the LPL would greatly benefit from that engagement (more books are taken out than are put in). It’s on 39th at Lake, just next to Blue Moon Coffee Café. There’s a guest book there, too, where you can read about what others have taken and left.

Éireann Lorsung is currently a writer-in-residence at the Little Poetry Library on East Lake Street in Minnneapolis. She’ll be using the materials and the environment surrounding the LPL to create a Book of Hours. If you’d like to contribute a poem or see her in action, visit her at Blue Moon Coffee Café on one of these days/times.

Sunday, July 27 [none: 1 - 5 p.m.]
Tuesday, July 29 [sext: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.]
Thursday, July 31 [terce: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.]
Friday, Aug. 1 [lauds/matins: 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.]

In The Stacks with Éireann Lorsung: Compline: 5-9 p.m., 23-7-14First strange thing is being in a space like a space where I used to work. Remembering right away when I arrived how it felt to work in a coffee shop, not only the smell or the kind of drift that the clients make, but the way my hours were often not guaranteed or were too few or too many or irregular, or just always varying and impossible to pin down.I am using a table near the door and it is a kind of intensive use—I moved a print of one of the images from the Très Riches Heures that happened to be hanging in the bathroom onto the table, lay out all my materials (including taping brown paper over the table to protect the Rives BFK I’m drawing on), got some tea—and it was strange to prepare this space in front of the other people in the café. Although probably they weren’t paying that much attention, I felt acutely aware when they did look at me. Once I started working I didn’t mind.Tonight I made ‘Compline: 5-9 p.m., 23-7-14’. Included: a woman who works at the café, two patrons, a billboard, Russian sage, maple leaves, coleus, a street sign and streetlight, a bus stop sign. Also constellations for July of this year, a crab to show that we are in Cancer, and an image of the sky at about 5 p.m. Also notes in my notebook as I listened to conversations and music and browsed Body Clock, a book of poems by Eleni Sikelianos.Éireann Lorsung is currently a writer-in-residence at the Little Poetry Library on East Lake Street in Minnneapolis. She’ll be using the materials and the environment surrounding the LPL to create a Book of Hours. If you’d like to contribute a poem or see her in action, visit her at Blue Moon Coffee Café on one of these days/times.
Thursday, July 24 [vespers: 3 - 7 p.m.]Sunday, July 27 [none: 1 - 5 p.m.]Tuesday, July 29 [sext: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.]Thursday, July 31 [terce: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.]Friday, Aug. 1 [lauds/matins: 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.]

In The Stacks with Éireann Lorsung: Compline: 5-9 p.m., 23-7-14

First strange thing is being in a space like a space where I used to work. Remembering right away when I arrived how it felt to work in a coffee shop, not only the smell or the kind of drift that the clients make, but the way my hours were often not guaranteed or were too few or too many or irregular, or just always varying and impossible to pin down.

I am using a table near the door and it is a kind of intensive use—I moved a print of one of the images from the Très Riches Heures that happened to be hanging in the bathroom onto the table, lay out all my materials (including taping brown paper over the table to protect the Rives BFK I’m drawing on), got some tea—and it was strange to prepare this space in front of the other people in the café. Although probably they weren’t paying that much attention, I felt acutely aware when they did look at me. Once I started working I didn’t mind.

Tonight I made ‘Compline: 5-9 p.m., 23-7-14’. Included: a woman who works at the café, two patrons, a billboard, Russian sage, maple leaves, coleus, a street sign and streetlight, a bus stop sign. Also constellations for July of this year, a crab to show that we are in Cancer, and an image of the sky at about 5 p.m. Also notes in my notebook as I listened to conversations and music and browsed Body Clock, a book of poems by Eleni Sikelianos.

Éireann Lorsung is currently a writer-in-residence at the Little Poetry Library on East Lake Street in Minnneapolis. She’ll be using the materials and the environment surrounding the LPL to create a Book of Hours. If you’d like to contribute a poem or see her in action, visit her at Blue Moon Coffee Café on one of these days/times.


Thursday, July 24 [vespers: 3 - 7 p.m.]
Sunday, July 27 [none: 1 - 5 p.m.]
Tuesday, July 29 [sext: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.]
Thursday, July 31 [terce: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.]
Friday, Aug. 1 [lauds/matins: 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.]