About Fierce Lament
2018 brings Fierce Lament, the book
“I understand the loss that leads to despair…
It has happened to us and is happening to the land, the breaking of the heart of creation." - Linda Hogan
Fierce Lament is produced annually in some form by Minneapolis artist, writer and musician Camille J. Gage. The project aims to bring together artists, environmentalists, writers, activists, Indigenous leaders, and other collaborators in inquiry and co-creation in recognition of the growing climate crisis. After a gallery exhibition and a community dance party, 2018/19 introduces a literary focus to Fierce Lament.
Fierce Lament , the book, was originally proposed to publisher Red Bird Chapbooks in 2016, before the election and the current administration's decision to pull the United States out of the historic Paris climate accord. Although the original premise was to explore life in a time of global climate change, the focus broadened. In a time of extremism all issues are connected; we cannot decouple environmental stewardship from education, militarism, racism, or any other issue. Everything is inextricably linked. In the end contributors to the Fierce Lament anthology were invited to cast a wider net, as they answered the question: "How can we survive, and even thrive, in a time of changing climate and growing political extremism.
Fierce Lament was produced and published through a partnership between Red Bird Chapbooks and Smart Set Digital Craft Print & Design, a Minnesota-based B-Corp. The book was published in October, 2018.
"...the enemy of
True Love is.....apathy.
Kirk Washington, Jr.
Fierce Lament 2018: The Book
Meet the writers, poets, artists and activists who contributed to Fierce Lament
Lisa Marie Brimmer
Lisa Marie Brimmer is a Queer, Black, Transracial Adoptee artist. She has been published in Ishmael Reed’s Konch Magazine, Gazillion Voices, On the Commons Magazine, Burn Something and the anthology Walk Towards It. Her work has been performed in many Twin Cities venues (Pillsbury House Theater, Mixed Blood Theatre, Black Dog Cafe, Intermedia Arts, SPACE, the Turf Club, Fineline Music Cafe, The Loft Literary Center’s Equilibrium Series, Open Book and more) and a few in Wisconsin. She has also been featured in Twin Cities Daily Planet, The Spokesman Recorder, Insight News and on the air with Minnesota Public Radio and KFAI. Learn more: lisamariebrimmer.com & @2speakease.
Tami Mohamed Brown
Tami Mohamed Brown holds an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University. She was a recent writer/artist in residence at Devil's Tower National Monument and has been the recipient of a MN Emerging Writer's Grant, a Loft Mentor Series Award, and a Blacklock Nature Sanctuary Fellowship. Her work has appeared in Brevity, Mizna, Sweet and elsewhere. Tami lives in Bloomington and finds inspiration on her daily bus commute to her office job in downtown Minneapolis. She writes about all of these things. Tami Mohamed Brown is the Red Bird editor for the Fierce Lament book project.
Sarah Browning is the author of Killing Summer (Sibling Rivalry, 2017) and Whiskey in the Garden of Eden (The Word Works, 2007). She is co-founder and Executive Director of Split This Rock: Poetry of Provocation & Witness and an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies. She has been guest editor or co-edited special issues ofBeltway Poetry Quarterly, The Delaware Poetry Review, and POETRY magazine. Since 2006, Browning has co-hosted the Sunday Kind of Love poetry series at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC. She previously worked supporting socially engaged women artists with WomenArts and developing creative writing workshops with low-income women and youth with Amherst Writers & Artists.
Joe Brusky is an educator, activist, and award-winning photographer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His most visible work is with the Overpass Light Brigade (OLB). In addition to photographing street actions, he manages OLB’s online presence. His photographs, posted under the name Light Brigading, have received over nine million views since 2012. Brusky also serves as Social Media Membership Organizer for the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, where he is in charge of the union’s social media strategy. He recently received an “Excellence in Journalism” award from the Milwaukee Press Club for photographs taken at the Standing Rock #noDAPL pipeline resistance camp.
Andrea Carlson is an artist from Minneapolis, Minnesota currently based in Chicago, Illinois. Through painting and drawing, Carlson creates landscapes with captive objects which that draws parallels to ideas of authority and power through the merit of possession. Her work has been acquired by institutions such as the British Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the National Gallery of Canada. Carlson was awarded a 2008 McKnight fellowship and a 2016 Joan Mitchell Foundation fellowship.
Sean Connaughty works with the artistic potential of the natural and social environment. Incorporating the community and the agencies that govern our public spaces and infrastructures in an attempt to mitigate our damaging behaviors. These works stem from a deep connection with the natural world, a love of science fiction and hopes for the future of humankind and nature. These socially engaged works are reflections on human involvement with the natural world and allude to our history and our future.
Pam Costain is a community organizer and social justice activist who recently retired after ten years of work to strengthen Minneapolis Public Schools. She was an elected member of the Minneapolis School Board and most recently was CEO of AchieveMpls, the strategic nonprofit partner of the public schools. Pam grew up in North Dakota and spent a great deal of time in her home state during the struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline. She helped to found Wellstone Action in 2003 and was their Director of Education and Training for 5 years. Prior to that she led the Resource Center of the Americas for 14 years, focusing on globalization, immigration, trade and human rights.
Bill Cottman is a Minneapolis artist, writer and photographer. Since 1969, photography has been his primary tool for creative expression. Cottman’s work has been influenced by Henri Cartier Bresson, John Coltrane and Roy DeCarava. In 2008, Cottman encountered the haiku writing of Richard Wright and has since challenged himself to write in that form. Self exploration and concepts of freedom, identity and responsibility are the foundations of his work. Cottman’s engineering education and artistic practice combine to demand answers to questions of Why? and How?. He continues to educate himself daily through study and practice.
Scott Dibble first became involved in politics in the mid-1980's working on issues concerning the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) communities including HIV/AIDS. In 2000, Dibble ran for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives, becoming the third out LGBTQ gay legislator to serve in the Minnesota Legislature. After serving one term in the House, Dibble ran for State Senate in 2002 where he is now serving in his fifth term. He is the only out LGBTQ member of the Senate. Dibble was the chief author of legislation to give same-sex couples the freedom to marry. The bill was passed and signed into law in May of 2013, making Minnesota the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Heid E. Erdrich
Heid E. Erdrich is the author of five collections of poetry including Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media new in 2017. Heid’s nonfiction work, Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories and Recipes from the Upper Midwest, earned a City Pages Best Food Book of 2014 designation. Her writing has won awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Bush Foundation, The Loft Literary Center, and First People’s Fund. Her book National Monuments won the 2009 Minnesota Book Award. In 2013 she was named a City Pages Artists of the Year. Heid’s poem films have been screened widely at festivals and have won Best of Fest and a Best Experimental Short awards. She is an independent scholar and curator, a playwright, and founding publisher of Wiigwaas Press an Ojibwe language publisher. She teaches the MFA Creative Writing program of Augsburg College. Heid grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota and is Ojibwe enrolled at Turtle Mountain
Angela Frucci is a journalist whose work has appeared in New York Times, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, and more. Her radio stories have been heard on WNYC’s, “Studio 360.” She writes about rarified worlds and has covered the Vatican. From 1983-97, Angela was part of the Têtes Noires, the first all-female rock band from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She currently resides in San Francisco, where she works in tech. She frequently travels back to her home state of Minnesota and is the producer of Fawnapalooza, an annual music event held in Danbury, Wisconsin.
Camille J. Gage
Camille J. Gage began her creative journey in her teens, writing music and touring with a variety of bands including the all-female alt-rock band Tetes Noires. She later segued into public art and mixed media performance, often with a topical edge. Gage has produced many community-based public art projects and was a founding member of Form + Content Gallery, an artist’s cooperative in Minneapolis. As an artist and engaged citizen, Gage continues to be inspired by the intersection of art and political expression and believes that artists who choose this path have a role to play in shaping the public consciousness.
Ruthann Godollei is the Wallace Professor of Art at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her prints comment on the abuses of power. Recent exhibits include General Strike, a labor theme invitational 2017, Mpls. MN,; Democracy in America, Phoenix Gallery, NYC, 2016; Ruthann Godollei: Herd Mentality, SooVAC, Mpls. MN, 2016; Politics,Persuasion & Propaganda, MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN, 2016. Author of a DIY printing book, How to Create Your Own… (Voyageur Press), her work is in the collections of the Polish National Museum of Art, Poznañ; KUMU National Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia; Penang State Museum, Malaysia; the Centre For Fine Print Research, Bristol, UK; the Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul, MN; etc.
Marion Gómez is a poet and teaching artist based in Minneapolis. She has received funding for the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation. Her poems have been published in La Bloga, Mizna, The Phoenix of Phillips, among others. Her poem "Father Bought Mangos" was selected for the Saint Paul Almanac's Impressions Project. She is a member of the Latinx spoken word collective Palabristas and works at the Loft Literary Center.
David Lawrence Grant
David Lawrence Grant is a Twin Cities-based writer. As a playwright, he has been commissioned by the Minnesota Science Museum, Minnesota Historical Society, VocalEssence, The Playwrights’ Center, Mixed Blood Theater, The History Theatre, The One Minute Play Festival, and Bedlam Theatre. As a screenwriter, he has written for Russell Simmons’ Def Pictures, HBO, the Showtime Network, and Monde World Films. His “I Hold High My Beautiful, Luminous Qu’ran” appears in Solas’ Publishing’s “Best Travel Writing, 2009.” Grant is a contributor to “Water’s Edge,” by Open to Interpretation Press, 2011, and two anthologies published by Minnesota Historical Society Press, “Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota,” 2015, and “A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota.” When he’s not writing or teaching, Mr. Grant facilitates life skills groups for men incarcerated at the Ramsey County Correctional Facility.
Dr. Joe Hobot is a descendant of the Hunk Papa Band of the Lakota Nation from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. He is the president of the American Indian OIC in Minneapolis, MN. He is the author of Resurgence: Restructuring Urban American Indian Education, which examines indigenized educational models and proposes methods to close the American Indian achievement gap.
Farah Husain is a photographer and professional makeup artist who tries to spread the concept of kindness to ones self, the earth and animals through the use of clean and conscious beauty. She is the mommy of Sadie and various badly behaved rescue animals. There will always be a piece of her heart at Standing Rock.
Hawona Sullivan Janzen
Hawona Sullivan Janzen is a Twin Cities based poet and non-fiction writer whose work focuses on the impact of grief, love, kindness and hope on the human spirit. Sullivan Janzen's poetry has been featured at Silverwood Park, commissioned by the Mississippi Rivers Stewards for their annual awards, performed in a LifeSource television commercial, and included in the Sister Black Press "Poetry of Resistance and Change" project. She also developed a collection of her poems written during a residency at The Soap Factory Gallery into "Clean," a jazz opera in 2016. She works at the University of Minnesota as a gallery curator and co-ordinator for the Witness Creative Writing Project.
Andrea Jenkins is a writer, performer, educator and activist. She is a locally and nationally recognized poet, earning many awards, fellowships, and commissions including the Bush Fellowship. Andrea has co-curated the Queer Voices Reading Series with John Medeiros at Intermedia Arts for 13 years (which is the longest running reading series of its kind in the country). She has an MFA from Hamline University and a M.S. in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University She is an Oral Historian at the Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota Archives.
Michael Kiesow Moore
Michael Kiesow Moore is an award-winning writer of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, and author of the poetry collection What to Pray For (Nodin Press). He has received a Minnesota State Arts Board fellowship and a Loft Mentor Series Award, and received nominations for the Minnesota Book Award and the Pushcart Prize for poetry. He has published short stories, poetry, and essays in journals and magazines including The Saint Paul Almanac, Talking Stick, Rockhurst Review, Water~Stone Review, Evergreen Chronicles, Peacework, The James White Review, Mpls. St. Paul Magazine, and in the book, A Loving Testimony: Losing Loved Ones Lost to AIDS.
Michael Kleber-Diggs is a poet and essayist. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, Poetry City, North Dakota Quarterly, Paper Darts, Water~Stone Review and a few anthologies and collaborations. He is a past Fellow with the Givens Foundation for African-America Literature, a past-winner of the Loft Mentor Series in Poetry. His work has been supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation. Michael lives in Saint Paul with his wife, Karen, and their 16-year-old daughter.
Monica Edwards Larson
Monica Edwards Larson is a Minneapolis-based book artist, printmaker and designer, working mostly in letterpress and other relief techniques to create limited edition prints and books. She is also the proprietress of Sister Black Press - a private Letterpress and Book Arts studio in Minneapolis, MN. Larson is a 2017 recipient of the MN State Arts Board - Artist Initiative Grant, and recently started a new venture called Sister Black (Bike) Press – a mobile printing press that she pedals on the Twin Cities’ bike trails and streets, stopping to print at local parks, bike shops, bookstores and libraries. She divides her time between her Sister Black Press studio and teaching letterpress and books arts to a variety of students.
Tou SaiKo Lee
Tou SaiKo Lee is a spoken word poet, writer and storyteller from St. Paul, Minnesota. He and his grandmother Youa Chang, who performs the traditional art of kwv txhiaj (Hmong Poetry Chanting) formed the group "Fresh Traditions." Over the past 15 years Lee has facilitated songwriting/performance poetry workshops and residencies for students at schools and community centers in 10 different states in the U.S. and in Thailand. Lee received the Jerome Foundation Travel Study Grant in 2008 and is a 2009 Intermedia Arts VERVE Spoken Word grant recipient. He is also a Bush Foundation Fellow in 2016.
Reggie LeFlore, aka RAL86, is a visual artist from Omaha Nebraska, currently residing in Minneapolis Minnesota. LeFlore works exclusively with aerosol paints, stencils, paint markers and acrylic paints creating a hybrid style of Street Art-inspired works that are painted on canvases, wood panels, large scale wall spaces, and other various surfaces. A fan of Street Art, LeFlore has learned to respect the power that’s contained within these art forms and styles. Understanding their impact on society is a very important concept to observe in these works, whether it’s through the use of simple and consistent tagging through neighborhoods, or if it’s through the use of large scale mural projects. LeFlore believes that as a visual artist it’s important to be conscious of these concepts as he creates his work, creating works that respect our environments, social challenges, and the people within them.
Mar Cardenas Loutzenhiser
Mar Cardenas Loutzenhiser is an educator and immigration rights activist born and raised in Southern Mexico. In 2013, Mar and her husband Gary founded Centro Garymar de Playas, a community center in Tijuana which brings together like minded people working on social justice issues. Mar currently lives in southern California.
Lisa Moline and Lane Hall
Lisa Moline and Lane Hall are artists living and working in Milwaukee, WI. They have worked collaboratively for nearly 30 years, and have created artworks across media including print, installation, video and political action. In 2011, they co-founded the Overpass Light Brigade (OLB), a direct action group aimed at DIY political messaging, visibility, and the creation of community through peaceful protest. OLB has spawned an international movement of Light Brigades that is currently comprised of over fifty chapters within the USA, Germany, the UK and New Zealand. Their other projects include installations for the California Academy of Sciences, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Science Gallery at Trinity College, Dublin, and the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University.
Patina Park is Mnicoujou Lakota and her family comes from the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux Tribes. A graduate of Hamline Law School, Park is currently the Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center (MIWRC), a nonprofit opened in 1985 and dedicated to providing holistic, multi-service programming grounded in cultural strengths to heal, preserve, and strengthen Native American women and their families from the multi-generational and historic trauma experienced from the effects of colonization. Park currently serves as Chair of the Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors, the first woman to hold that role.
G. E. Patterson
G. E. Patterson is a poet, translator, and critic. Patterson is the author of two poetry collections, Tug and To and From. His work has garnered a Minnesota Book Award and fellowships from Cave Canem, the Jerome Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, & New York City’s Fund for Poetry. He was a featured poet-performer in New York’s Panasonic Village Jazz Fest. Recent work includes two public-art commissions in the Twin Cities – for Create: The Community Meal and The Plume Project.
Heather Peebles is an interdisciplinary, community-based artist with a focus on ending rape culture using art as a mediator for healing. By questioning the perpetuation of oppressive systems in current healing methodologies for victim-survivors, she facilitates workshops and creates work that interrupts power dynamics, promotes agency, and critically looks at additional barriers such as race and gender identities. Multimedia paintings address the complexities of rape culture through the lens of her own trauma, utilizing symbolic and sensory materials. Participatory work invites the viewer to hammer, untie, write, etc. to promote collective responsibility and the possibilities of change. Movement-based workshops are safe spaces in which victim-survivors can reconnect with and reclaim their body through writing, drawing, making, and dancing.
Teresa Cooper Shook
Teresa Cooper Shook is the original founder of the Women’s March on Washington which brought more than 5 million people around the world together to stand in solidarity for women’s rights and a fair, just and inclusive world. She is a lawyer and an educator, world traveler, writer and adventurer. She has spent the past 30 years working on social justice issues, representing underserved communities, advocating for youth and helping victims of domestic violence. She is the mother of two grown sons who she raised as a single mother and Tutu (grandmother in Hawaiian) to four girls. She continues her Resistance work with the Women’s March and various organizations and does public speaking. She resides in Hana, Maui.
Kathy M. Skerritt
Kathy M. Skerritt is a Cleveland artist whose work has been deeply influenced by hours spent gazing at the Earth from airplanes while traveling around the globe. This led her to notice common patterns across enormous expanses of the planet’s surface and these became central to her treatment of form and surface in her paintings. Participation in a wide range of cultures evoked ideas about artful knowing and practice as pathways to find and appreciate the threads of shared humanity that transcend cultural differences. Her artistic inquiry is a practice of learning to feel and see what animates form from beneath, within, or behind surface appearances; to touch and be touched by the whole within which and as all forms arise.
Qiana Towns is a poet and lifelong resident of Flint, Michigan, a graduate of Flint Northern High School, and a community activist. She is a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program at Bowling Green State University and the Master of Arts program at Central Michigan University. Towns has published in various literary journals including Harvard Review online. Currently, she is mobile unit administrator and Coordinator of Community Outreach for Genesee Health System's water outreach team. In addition to her professional and community endeavors, she is mom to two exceptional daughters--Sam and Cass.
Ben Weaver is a songwriter and poet who travels by bicycle. He uses his music as a tool to strengthen relationships between people and their local ecosystems. Ben’s most recent project Music For Free saw him riding 3000 miles from Canada to Mexico along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route with his guitar and banjo making stops on the route to offer free performances to the communities along the way. Ben has completed many wilderness music by bike tours, released nine studio albums and five books of poetry. Given the choice he will side with the animals, lakes, rivers and the trees.
Brad Zellar has written and published fiction, and worked as a writer and editor for newspapers and magazines. He is the author of Suburban World: The Norling Photos, Conductors of the Moving World, and House of Coates. He most recently collaborated with photographer Alec Soth on The LBM Dispatch, a series of seven newspapers devoted to American community in the age of cyberspace. He lives in St. Paul.
Buy the Book
Edited by Camille J. Gage
with Tami Mohammed Brown.
Additional editorial assistance provided by
Carolyn Payne, Soo Visual Arts Center
Published by Red Bird Chapbooks in partnership with
Smart Set Digital Craft Print & Design
11" x 8.5" single signature square fold spine with machine finishing
Published October 2018
About Red Bird and Smart Set
Gratitude to the publisher and printer who made Fierce Lament a reality.
Red Bird Chapbooks
A St. Paul, MN based small press
Red Bird has published over 90 chapbooks, a handful of pamphlets and over a dozen broadsides. Based in St Paul, MN, Red Bird is woman-owned and managed, a flock of talented writers and artists – all volunteers – dedicated to making Red Bird Chapbooks publications beautiful representations of the writing and art they contain.
Smart Set Digital Craft Print and Design
A MN B-Corp
Smart Set has been certified as a B Corp, signifying our commitment to making the world a better place. B-Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Smart Set, Inc. joins only six other Minnesota companies to acquire this certification.,
Readings and Events
Fierce Lament reading at The Loft
Join us for an evening of art, poetry and prose. Readers will include Lisa Marie Brimmer, Pam Costain, Scott Dibble, Michael Kleber-Diggs, David Lawrence Grant, G.E. Patterson and Brad Zellar; with opening remarks from editors Camille Gage and Tami Mohammed Brown. Social hour to follow!
Fierce Lament reading at the East Side Freedom Library
Join us for an evening of poetry and prose. Readers to be announced.
Who We Are
The work is serious but our methods are rooted in love of life and gratitude for this day.
Here. Now. Happy.
Here is the team behind the Fierce Lament book.
Artist, editor, lamenter in chief
Artist, writer and editor.
Tami Mohamed Brown
Editor, writer, saver of sanity
Writer and editor, Red Bird Chapbooks
Printer, publishing partner, buck stopping maverick
Owner, Smart Set Digital Craft Print and Design
Fearless publisher and yes, that's really her up there!
Writer and publisher, Red Bird Chapbooks
Lover of art and artists, friend to the end.
Executive Director, Soo Visual Arts
Fierce Lament 2017
BIG GREEN DANCE PARTY
Bar at The Bird during Big Green Dance Party
Overpass Light Brigade inspired signs over the bar at the Big Green Dance Party
Fierce Lament 2016 at Form + Content Gallery
An exhibition featuring the work of 12 artists responding to issues of environmental stewardship, global climate change, and the human relationship with nature. Curated by Camille J. Gage and hosted by Form + Content Gallery, Minneapolis, MN.
Artists, left to right from the top: Alyssa Baguss - Jonee Brigham - Andrea Carlson - Sean Connaughty - Greg Euclid - Camille Gage - Kara Faye Gregory - Lela Pierce - - Meena Mangalvedhekar - Heid E. Erdrich - Dana Sikkila - Deborah Ramos - Cameron Zebrun