Tag Archives: Performance

Circus Rex Reading at Eat My Words

Loren Niemi reads / tells stories from “Circus Rex” his new novel. The product of 40 years in the storytelling, 20 years and nine versions in the writing, “Circus Rex” is available just in time for your Holiday gift giving.

Loosely based on his lived experience as the ringmaster and tour manager of In the Heart of the Beast Theatre’s 1983 “Circle of Water Circus” tour from the headwaters of the Mississippi to New Orleans and 25 years of performing as “Dr. Buzz” with MIchael Sommers and Kevin Kling in the “late great” trio, Bad Jazz, it is not a memoir gone off the rails so much as it is an engaging fiction replete with poetic imagery, carny come-ons, memorable characters, offbeat humor and a happy ending. Signed copies will be available.

7;00 PM is the time. Tuesday, December 12th is the date. FREE. Come on out and get yourself a little bit of the Doctor’s medicine. As Mark Twain said, supposing is good but finding out is better…”

First Night

So, we did a thing. American School of Storytelling has secured a space for onsite, in-person classes and oral performance. On Friday, August 18th, doors will open at 6:30pm for a “soft” open reception with some stories, poetry, music and cake. Make it if you can make it.


We have a powerhouse performance lined up for opening night at the American School of Storytelling! Storyteller Laura Packer, Poet Sarah Degner Riveros, Singer Monica Cortes, Poet Clarence White, and Storyteller Jim Stowell.

Friday, August 18th 7:00 PM.  1762 Hennepin Avenue S. Minneapolis.

Free but donations to support our performance series, appreciated.

Do not park on Hennepin Ave before 6pm!

A Poetic Quartet For the Blank Verse Reading Series

The American School of Storytelling is curating a poetic quartet of Janna Knittel, Christine Mounts, Loren Niemi and Diego Vazquez Jr. for the Blank Verse reading series at the Anoka County Library (711 County Road 10 NE Blaine, MN 55434) on Thursday, July 20, 2023, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM.

Sponsored by League of Minnesota Poets and Cracked Walnut, this evening which is being organized by the American School of Storytelling will offer a diversity of old school and new styles and content from four exceptional performers. The American School teaches narrative forms, both online and in person, as well as producing regular storytelling and spoken word performances.



Diego Vazquez Jr is a poet, writer, editor. On YouTube he is “Trainwreck Poet”. Many videos of train travel, not much poetry: www.youtube.com/@TrainwreckPoet

Janna Knittel is the author of Real Work (Nodin, 2022), a finalist for the 2023 Minnesota Book Award in poetry and the chapbook Fish & Wild Life (Finishing Line, 2018). Janna has also published poems in Blue Mountain Review, Constellations, North Dakota Quarterly, Pleiades, The Trumpeter, and The Wild Word as well as the following anthologies: Waters Deep: A Great Lakes Anthology (Split Rock, 2018); The Experiment Will Not Be Bound (Unbound Edition, 2023); and Broad Wings, Long Legs: A Rookery of Heron Poems (North Star, forthcoming 2023).

Christine Mounts is an IT professional by day and a poet by night. She writes and travels as much as a working schlub like her can manage. She is the author of Book of Snark: Wit & Wisdom for the Angry Professional Woman on the Bus, published October 2020. She co-founded the American School of Storytelling in 2021. She is a winner of the 2022 University of St Thomas Environmental (In)justice in Mni Sóta Maḳoce storytelling contest.

Loren Niemi began as a child fibber but soon realized he was less interested in lying than he was in improving the truth. He is still at it, as a poet, author and innovative storyteller whose work includes a 2020 Midwest Book Award winning story collection, “What Haunts Us”, and two poetry chapbooks, “Coyote flies Coach” and “Vote Coyote!” His new poetry memoir “A Breviary for the Lost” is available now. He is also the founder of the American School of Storytelling and its CSO (Chief Storytelling Officer). More at: www.LorenNiemiStories.com

Jules Nyquist & John Roche @The Briar

May 3- Jules Nyquist & John Roche @The Briar

Doors at 6:30 PM, Performance at 7:00 PM, Free event!
The Briar 1231 Washington Street Northeast, Minneapolis, MN

2021 NM/AZ Book Award WINNER. Atomic Paradise explores the nuclear history and the dawn of the atomic age. This collection of poems focus on the author’s experiences living in New Mexico, a land of incredible beauty, that is in the heart of the nuclear military/industrial complex. Atomic Paradise takes us from the author’s experience growing up in the Cold War, to reflections on the Manhattan Project, and poet/physicist Dr. Robert Oppenheimer. These poems also explore Hiroshima and the dropping of the bomb, the spread of nuclear weapons throughout the world and nuclear tourism, and the fallout of the nuclear industry in New Mexico. The Japanese internment camps in Santa Fe and the Trinity Site are included along with nuclear waste and the environment in the Southwest. Throughout are the author’s personal observations to make this huge topic of the nuclear war and the resulting nuclear industry a bit more human, and very relevant.

Jules Nyquist is the founder of Jules’ Poetry Playhouse in Placitas, New Mexico. Born in St. Paul, MN, she took her MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College, VT. Jules reads from her NM/AZ Award-winning Atomic Paradise, exploring the nuclear history and dawn of the atomic age, the Manhattan Project, and growing up in the Cold War. She has been interviewed by NM Entertainment Magazine and MN Reads. More at: www.poetryplayhouse.com

John Roche lives in Placitas, New Mexico, helping Jules Nyquist run Jules’ Poetry Playhouse and edit Poetry Playhouse Publications. He taught Literature and Creative Writing classes for decades at various colleges, and was formerly President of Just Poets in Rochester, NY, member of the board of BOA Editions, chief organizer of the Black Mountain North Symposium, and an instigator of the annual Cloudburst Council poets’ retreat in the Finger Lakes. Along with editing the five-volume Poets Speak series and other anthologies (including Mo’ Joe), his own poetry collections include On Conesus, Topicalities, Road Ghosts, and The Joe Poems: The Continuing Saga of Joe the Poet. His most recent book is Joe Rides Again: Further Adventures of Joe the Poet (FootHills Publishing 2020).

John’s Books at PoetryPlayhouse.com
Poets Speak Series


The Briar

@ The Briar- National Poetry Month

@The Briar April 12 – National Poetry Month Reading

Doors at 6:30 PM, Performance at 7:00 PM Central, Tickets $10 at the door
The Briar 1231 Washington Street Northeast, Minneapolis, MN

April is National Poetry Month! Join American School of Storytelling Co-founder Christine Mounts with poets Wendy Brown-Baez, Sarah Degner Riveros, and Diane Pecoraro as they read original poetry that will blow your socks off!


Sharing the Fire

Loren Niemi will be teaching “A Rose by Any Other Name: the Erotic in Stories” workshop Saturday, March 25th 10:30 AM ET & performing “Fata Morgana” 90-minute performance on Saturday, March 25th 1:30 PM ET at the Sharing the Fire conference in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Registration www.nestorytelling.org/stf-2023-registration/



Poetry Readings as Performance- Free Event!

April is National Poetry Month and you can get ready for it with “Poetry Readings as Performance”, a two hour in-person workshop on reading your poetry (and prose) as if it mattered. The focus is on the orality of spoken words and some simple techniques to help you be a better presenter of your own work.

  • Taught by Loren Niemi
  • Dates: Wednesday March 28
  • Time: 7pm Central Time
  • Format: 90-minute, in-person
  • Cost: FREE!

Breathing Life into Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales should be anything but dry! Join Cooper as we explore how to approach the “freeze dried soup” of classic fairy tales. How to bring them to life, take them apart, rebuild them, and have some plain old fun telling fairy tales.

  • Taught by Cooper Braun-Enos
  • Thursdays, March 16, 23, and 30
  • 7pm Central Time
  • 90-minute Zoom sessions
  • Tickets $120


Cooper Braun was raised by granola eating coyotes in Boulder Colorado. In 2013, he took to the storytelling stage for the first time. Cooper was featured at the Exchange Place at the National Storytelling Festival in 2017. He was awarded the 2018 JJ Reneaux Emerging Artist Award and the 2022 Regional Excellence Award by the National Storytelling Network.

Cooper’s stories remind us that fairy tales were never just for children. That traditional stories can be funny, dark, poignant, and anything but dry.

Since the beginning of the pandemic Stories with Spirit, his company with Rachel Ann Harding, has become one of the leading producers of virtual storytelling shows. Their series Fairy Tale Variations has proved wildly successful, regularly attracting audiences of over 200 from around the world.

To register:

  1. Add the number of tickets you want by clicking the ‘+’ button
  2. Click the ‘Get Tickets’ button.

Some Black Storm

The people’s rebellion of Jack Cade against the usurper King Henry VI

“…force perforce I’ll make him yield the crown, whose bookish rule has pulled fair England down.”

A wealthy insurrectionist urges thousands of British citizens from across the country to gather in London. The violence escalates, leaving royal forces outnumbered and overwhelmed. Shakespeare’s language is brought to life in this full-cast reading of a new adaptation of Henry VI, in all its rage, madness, and folly. Featuring Alison Anderson, Mahmoud Hakima, Matthew Kessen, phillip andrew bennett low, Loren Niemi, Matthew Saxe, Mickaylee Shaughnessy, and Rob Ward!

7:30pm on Friday, January 6th at the Phoenix Theater

Tickets are $12, $10 with a Fringe button discount.