Jim Bohen will be reading from his new collection, “I Travel in Rusted Burned Out Sedans”, alongside local poets Sharon Chmielarz, Nortita Dittberner-Jax, and Joyce Sutphen. These are poems that dive, move, surprise. Lyrical laments. Love poems. Rants with bite. Poems from the "corner of Lyric and Strange." A "hip-hop sermon/montage" on America and the state of its dream. Sardonic humor. It's all there and more in Jim Bohen's first book of poetry, I travel in rusting burned-out sedans.
It's in slices from a life of writing -- remembering the first day of school, singing the rock band blues, growing older, grandparent-hood. It's in the ominous tone that lurks behind the opening poem quiet to the weary rhythmic distress of the closing Cycle.
In between, there are tender looks at the past. bitter rants about injustice and mortality. There's some delightful fun, whether it's playing with a word like "tell," deciding what to do with the kids' stuff once they've moved out, celebrating a first grandchild with some clever exuberance, or delving into memories of secretly listening for late-night baseball scores on a "hidden" radio.
Jim Bohen is a poet/songwriter from St. Paul, MN. His work has appeared in the Minnesota Daily, Red Paint Hill, Conclave, Third Wednesday and elsewhere. He's been short-listed twice for the erbacce prize (an international competition) and was a finalist for The Loft Literary Center Mentor Series. His collection of poems, entitled “I travel in rusting burned-out sedans” (Unsolicited Press, 2018), is his first book. His music CD, “Never Too Late,” contains 12 of the hundreds of songs he's written (samples can be heard at iTunes and cdbaby; search for “J B and the Phantom Band”).
Sharon Chmielarz’s latest, eleventh, book of poetry is Little Eternities, Sept. 2017, a finalist for the Independent Book Publishers Award. Her The Widow’s House is listed in Kirkus Review’s 100 Best Books of 2016. She has poems forthcoming or currently appearing in The Hudson Review, Burningword, and The American Journal of Poetry. She lives in a NW suburb of Minneapolis where she can still get glimpses of the prairie where she was born and raised.
Norita Dittberner-Jax was born and raised in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul, the sixth of seven children. She was educated in parochial schools and graduated from the (then) College of Saint Catherine. After her first marriage and the birth of three children, she began to write poetry, just as the Twin Cities area was becoming a center for creative writing with the emergence of the Loft. She taught English in the public schools of Saint Paul, and creative writing for the Writers-in-the Schools Program and at the Perpich Center for the Arts. Her second marriage to Eugene Jax brought international travel and a great interest in art. In retirement from teaching, she returned to academic life, earning an MFA in poetry from Hamline University. Norita is one of the poetry editors for Red Bird Chapbooks. Crossing The Waters is her fifth collection of poems.
Joyce Sutphen grew up on a farm in Stearns County, Minnesota. Her first collection of poems, Straight Out of View, won the Barnard New Women Poets Prize; her third collection, Naming the Stars, won a Minnesota book award, and her recent collection, Modern Love & Other Myths (2015), was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. Her latest collection, The Green House, was released by Salmon Press, and her New and Selected will be published by the University of Nebraska Press. She is the second Minnesota Poet Laureate, succeeding Robert Bly.