September 2013 10,000 Fresh Voices Archives

Modeled after the popular Little Free Libraries, the Little Poetry Library looks like a weatherproof outdoor bookshelf. Situated at the corner of 39th Avenue and East Lake Street, this weatherized cabinet is stocked with poetry books, chapbooks, and periodicals. KFAI producer Susan Budig has the story.

Duluth native Leslie Ball lives in Minneapolis where she works as a singer/songwriter, poet, actress, director, educator and worship facilitator. In 1991 she launched BALLS Cabaret, an experimental stage for performers of any discipline and experience level. Unscreened and uncensored, performers must be sober on stage, and audience feedback is encouraged. What began as a six-week experimental project has become a Twin Cities institution, and some say it’s the longest-running weekly midnight cabaret in history.

The Twin Cities’ Shape Note Singers have been performing for more than 25 years. “Shape-note” or “Sacred Heart” singing refers to a musical notation system designed to make reading music easy, and it’s one of the earliest forms of musical expressions in the United States. Its history is Anglo-Celtic, and although the songs are rooted in Christianity, Sacred Harp singing is not affiliated with any particular denomination. The singers sit in a square facing each other and take turns leading songs from the hollow center of the square. The Denson and Cooper versions of The Sacred Harp, first published in 1844, are the two main singing books used. Shape Note singing is a community activity, and all songs are sung a cappella.