Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Tributary Reading Series meets monthly at Selam Coffee

Posted on 25 February 2019 by calvin

The sounding call of the Tributary Reading Series is simple: “Love your neighbor. Drink Coffee. Dig poetry.” Created by Minneapolis poet and performer Ted King and hosted by the owners of Selam Coffee, the gathering happens on the first Saturday of each month starting at 1pm.

Photo right: Poet Mari Moore read from recently published work. Her honors include a Bush Artist Fellowship, multiple McKnight Artist Fellowships, The Loft Creative Non-Fiction Award, and numerous residencies. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Saxophonist David Erickson begins playing and improvising on those days at noon. Audience members trickle in by ones and twos; every month, according to King, “It’s standing room only. With this kind of reading, it’s all about the audience. Everyone should feel welcome.” The event is exactly what it’s billed as—an enjoyable, politically charged, power-hour in a cozy coffee shop.

King is the curator of the Tributary Reading Series. “I was recovering from a serious illness a couple of years ago,” he said. “I was homebound and bored. I’m a poet and a performer. I couldn’t get around much at that time, but I thought I could put together a poetry reading series. If I organized it, I could pick all the ways that would make it easy for me to participate.”

Photo left: Curator Ted King chose to call this gathering the Tributary Reading Series because, he said, “A tributary doesn’t start in the main stream!” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

“Readings are almost always at night, but I wanted this one to be during the day,” King added. “Originally we met at the Lake Coffee House, until the owner lost his lease. I approached the owners of Selam Coffee a few months ago, to see if they were willing to host us—and they were. They provide us with a great space, and our series has brought them a lot of new customers. It’s a wonderful connection. The professional poets who participate say that it’s their favorite event in the metro, and they can’t wait to be invited back to read again.”

Photo right: Audience member Patrick Murphy, said, “I’m a closeted poet. I love coming to these readings, to listen to the poetry and for the sense of community. Ted King? He’s an old hipster—his funkiness runs deep.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

St. Paul poet Christine Jaspers brought her three young daughters to the February event, and said, “Almost everyone who comes to these readings is a writer.” Jasper’s ten-year-old daughter, Claire, read “The Summer Day” by American poet Mary Oliver, who recently passed away.

Selam Coffee is located at 3860 Minnehaha Ave., and can be reached at 612-722-2768.