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Pankake Poetry featuring Deborah Keenan

April 7 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Virtual Virtual Event
Deborah Keenan

Join the Libraries for the 12th annual Pankake Poetry reading featuring poet Deborah Keenan, the author of 10 collections of poetry. Her book, “Willow Room, Green Door: New and Selected Poems,” received the Minnesota Book Award for Poetry. Following the reading, there will be a discussion with Keenan led by James Lenfestey.

Free online event. Please make a reservation to receive the Zoom event link.


About Deborah Keenan

Keenan is the author of 10 collections of poetry, a chapbook “and so she had the world,” and a book of writing ideas, “from tiger to prayer,” now sold out of its third printing. She has received two Bush Foundation Fellowships for Poetry, a National Endowment Fellowship for Poetry, The Loft McKnight Poet of Distinction grant, selected by Nikki Giovanni, and a Minnesota State Arts Board grant. She has been a participant and local mentor in the Loft Mentor series.

Keenan was a professor for 30 years at Hamline University in the Liberal Studies and Creative Writing programs. She has also worked an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas, and Hamline University. She has taught poetry at the Loft Literary Center since its inception. Keenan directed the COMPAS artists and writers in the Schools Program. She was the managing editor for local independent press Milkweed Editions, where she worked with founders Emilie Buchwald and Randall Scholes.

Keenan is the founder of the Laurel Poetry Collective, a group of 22 poets and book artists. They published over 30 books and gave readings all over the state of Minnesota. Their letterpress broadsides are part of permanent collections at Carleton College, and the New York Public Library systems.

About James Lenfestey

After a career in academia, marketing communications and journalism on the editorial board of the StarTribune, where he won several Page One awards for excellence, since 2000 Lenfestey has published a collection of personal essays, seven collections of poems, edited two poetry anthologies, and co-edited “Robert Bly in This World,” University of Minnesota Press. His “haibun” memoir, “Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain,” was a finalist for the 2014 Minnesota Book Award. His sixth poetry collection, “A Marriage Book: 50 Years of Poems from a Marriage,” was a finalist for two 2017 Midwest book awards. In 2020 he received the Kay Sexton Award for contributions to the Minnesota literary community. For 15 years he chaired the Literary Witnesses poetry program in Minneapolis and led a summer poetry series on Mackinac Island, Michigan.

About the Pankake Poetry Series

The Pankake Poetry Series was named in honor of retired librarian Marcia Pankake, whose love of poetry was demonstrated in the countless readings and poetry events she hosted at the University Libraries.

About the Friends Forum: A Series for Curious Minds

The Friends Forum — an exciting series of events to spark your curiosity and challenge your thinking — is brought to you by the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries.

Event details

What: Pankake Poetry featuring Deborah Keenan
When: Wednesday, April 7, 4 p.m. Central Standard Time
Where: Online event. Please make a reservation to receive the Zoom event link.


April 7
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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University of Minnesota Libraries