Books in the Barn Reading Series     

The Anderson Center is pleased to present Books in the Barn, which will bring some of the best writers in the region to Red Wing to present their work in the historic barn event space. Mark your calendars for thought-provoking poetry and art in a beautiful setting. This three-part series offers a wide-ranging look at the work of contemporary writers. Through diverse forms and world-views, each brings a sense of connection to place and the impact of landscape on storytelling and identity.
Each writer is also presenting an outreach event in the Red Wing community, providing further opportunity to share their work with a broader audience.

Ray Gonzalez is a professor of literature at the University of Minnesota. He is also the recipient of the Carr P. Collins / Texas Institute of Letters Award, the PEN / Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, the Western Heritage Award, the Latino Heritage Award, and the Minnesota Book Award, was recently awarded the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress. A widely recognized prose poet, Gonzalez has 15 published books. The most recent is Beautiful Wall, published by the University of New Mexico Press. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Gonzalez’s work comes from his Mexican Ancestry and American upbringing. He’s influenced by rock and roll music and mid-century American poets such as Robert Bly.

Saturday, September 7 at 3:00pm, Central Park in Red Wing: Join Gonzalez and the Anderson Center at the Hispanic Heritage Festival.

Saturday, September 28 at 7:00pm, Anderson Center: Gonzalez will read from his extensive catalog of work, share poems by the writers and poets who inspired his work, and reflect his experiences living along the U.S. Mexico border in the American southwest.

Gwen Westerman is co-author of Mni-Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota, a published poet, an award-winning visual artist, a respected educator and researcher, and an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. The title of Gwen’s event is “Why I Write About the Land.” Please join us as Gwen Westerman reads from her writing, shows her quilts and fiber arts, and discusses her multi-disciplinary approach to history as seen through place, focused on Red Wing and the Upper Mississippi River Valley.
Westerman recieved a Minnesota book award for Mni-Sota Makoce. Her poetry has been included in numerous anthologies, including New Poets of Native Nations, edited by Heid E. Erdrich and published by Graywolf Press. Her quilts have won awards and are in museum collections across the region.

Friday, November 8 at 9:40am: Join Westerman and the students of Tower View Alternative High School for a presentation about Westerman’s work, her experiences as a first-generation college student, and a mini poetry workshop in historic barn.

Friday, November 8 at 7:00pm: Enjoy a reading, reception, and visual art exhibition in the Anderson Center’s historic barn.

Brian Laidlaw is a songwriter and poet who melds myths ancient and contemporary among the raspberries, wolves, and taconite mines of Minnesota’s Iron Range. He’s equally adept at melding artistic forms; each of his published books of poetry has a musical accompaniment. The Center welcomes Laidlaw back to Red Wing to share his contemporary take on storytelling, mythmaking and songwriting.
Laidlaw is the author of The Stuntman and The Mirrormaker, both published by Milkweed Editions. He has had poems published in New American Writing, Iowa Review, FIELD, and The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral; lyrics in American Songwriter Magazine; and a songwriting credit on the Grammy Award-winning album Can You Canoe? by the Okee Dokee Brothers. An accomplished musician, he has toured widely in the United States and Europe. His most recent album is Amoratorium from Paper Darts Press.

Saturday, November 23 at 4:30pm: Songwriting workshop at Hobgoblin Music, 920 State Highway 19, Red Wing, Minnesota.

Saturday, November 23 at 7:00pm: Poetry reading and concert in the Anderson Center’s historic barn.

Books and CDs will be available for sale and signing.

ASL interpretation is available upon request. To request interpretation, please contact Stephanie at or 651-388-2009 at least two weeks prior to the event.