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University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, tinted postcard circa 1920 from the MInnesota Historical Society photography collection.

University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, tinted postcard circa 1920 from the MInnesota Historical Society photography collection.

On the third Tuesday of every month for more than 13 years, St. Paul Poet Laureate and Kay Sexton Award-winner  Carol Connolly has hosted a collegial gathering of local poets, writers and bibliophiles at the University Club, in a gracious room overlooking the Mississippi River. The lineup changes every month; the area’s most beloved writers have all taken a turn over the years, many more than once. At the close of the night’s readings a hat is passed for some worthy cultural cause; these days, the night’s donations go to the Sidewalk Poetry Project, run by City Artist in Residence Marcus Young for the City of St. Paul and Public Art Saint Paul (both Knight Arts grantees)

Connolly’s Readings by Writers Series is always a lovely way to pass the evening: the vibe is warm and the mix of writers eclectic and consistently engaging. But the roster for this month’s holiday event is just a knockout:  poet, performer and visual artist Tom Cassidy; founder of Lief Magazine and youth advocate Mike Finley; author Peter Geye (Safe from the Sea and The Lighthouse Road); acclaimed poet Heid Erdrich (National Monuments, The Mother’s Tongue, and most recently, Cell Traffic); Minneapolis Star-Tribune Books Editor  Laurie Hertzel (News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist); Milkweed Editions’ Lindquist & Venum Award-winner Patricia Kirkpatrick; food writer, poet and CEO (and Master Bread Baker) for Saint Agnes Baking Company, Klecko; Guthrie favorite actor/singer-turned-author Greta Oglesby (Mama ‘n Ned: Handprints on My Life); and poet, lawyer and Minnesota Book Award-finalist Tim Nolan (The Sound of It, And Then).

Carol Connolly, St Paul Poet Laureate and 2011 Kay Sexton Award-winner. Courtesy of the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.

Carol Connolly, St Paul Poet Laureate and 2011 Kay Sexton Award-winner. Courtesy of the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library

The next Third Tuesday Reading by Writers, hosted by Carol Connolly is December 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the University Club, 420 Summit Ave., St. Paul. The event is free and open to the public. There will be a cash bar, and all the authors will have books available for sale and signing; the reading is scheduled to last an hour or so. For more information, visit the event listing on Facebook.

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