Books in the Barn: Michael Kleber-Diggs
The Anderson Center is proud to present Minnesota writer Michael Kleber-Diggs in the Tower View Barn on Friday, September 30, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. for a public reading as part of the Books in the Barn series. General Admission tickets are $10 for the public and $5 for Anderson Center members and youth under 18.
Originally from Kansas, Michael Kleber-Diggs (KLEE-burr digs) is a poet, essayist, literary critic, and arts educator based in St. Paul, MN. His debut poetry collection, Worldly Things (Milkweed Editions 2021), won the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize and is a finalist for the 2022 Minnesota Book Award. His work has appeared in Lit Hub, the Rumpus, Rain Taxi, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Water~Stone Review, Midway Review, North Dakota Quarterly and several anthologies. Michael is a past Fellow with the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, a past-winner of the Loft Mentor Series in Poetry, and the former Poet Laureate of Anoka County libraries. With a background in law, Michael possesses a potent focus on justice and serves as the Board Chair of the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. Kleber-Diggs has also worked extensively with the Loft Literary Center, and Trio House Press.
In Worldly Things, Michael names delight in the same breath as loss. Moments suffused with love—teaching his daughter how to drive; watching his grandmother bake a cake; waking beside his beloved to ponder trumpet mechanics—couple with moments of wrenching grief—a father’s life ended by a gun; mourning children draped around their mother’s waist; Freddie Gray’s death in police custody. Even in the refuge-space of dreams, a man calls the police on his Black neighbor.
But Worldly Things refuses to “offer allegiance” to this centuries-old status quo. With uncompromising candor, Michael documents the many ways America systemically fails those who call it home while also calling upon our collective potential for something better. “Let’s create folklore side-by-side,” he urges, asking us to aspire to a form of nurturing defined by tenderness, to a kind of community devoted to mutual prosperity. “All of us want,” after all, “our share of light, and just enough rainfall.”
Sonorous and measured, the poems of Worldly Things offer needed guidance on ways forward—toward radical kindness and a socially responsible poetics.
Praise for Worldly Things by Michael Kleber-Diggs:
“The full-throated poems in this debut collection see the world whole, allowing daily intimacies against a backdrop of social injustice: ‘Neighbors chatting while sirens / gathered in volume, urgency.’”
— New York Times
“Michael Kleber-Diggs’ astonishing debut, winner of the 2021 Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, is a collection of perfectly crafted and expertly paced lyrics, each as arresting as the last.”
— Minneapolis Star Tribune
“I am captivated, consoled, and bowled over by these poems, knifelike in their concision and oracular at their core.”
— Tracy K. Smith
Books in the Barn is a two-part reading series that offers a wide-ranging look at the work of contemporary writers. Books will be available for purchase and signing following each reading. Featured authors are also participating in outreach events in the Red Wing community, providing further opportunities to share their work with a broader audience.
NOTICE: All patrons must provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test at the door prior to the event. Phone photos of vaccination cards will be accepted.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.