Sheila Packa writes poetry, fiction, essays, and plays as well as collaborates on media and live narrative performances. MFA in Creative Writing, Goddard College, Vermont Bachelor's of Social Development, University of Minnesota, Duluth. She teaches writing in the community and at Lake Superior College.
In the northern landscape, I look for connections between history and contemporary issues. My images and metaphors rise from migrations, music, metamorphoses, and spectral traces.
Creative Community Leadership Institute Fellowship, Fall 2013 and Poet Laureate of Duluth, MN 2010-2012; Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Career Opportunity Grant, 2013 to support expenses while at the Fringe Festival, Minneapolis, August 2013; Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, 2012; Arts and Cultural Heritage Community Arts Learning Grant, 2010-2011; Northeastern Minnesota Book Award, honorable mention for poetry, 2011; Golden Crown Award for Poetry, 2011, for Echo & Lightning (expanded edition); Northeastern Minnesota Book Award, honorable mention in fiction, poetry, drama, 2007; Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Opportunity Grant, 2007; Northeastern Minnesota Book Award, 1st place in fiction, poetry, drama, 2003; Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, 2002; Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, 1998; Loft McKnight Fellowship Award for Creative Prose, 1996; Poetry Prize, Finnish American Reporter, 1995; Loft Mentor Award for Poetry, 1992-1993; Loft McKnight Fellowship Award for Poetry, 1986
Publications & Projects
Books: Night Train Red Dust, Wildwood River, c2014 (includes web materials); Cloud Birds, Wildwood River, c2011, Echo & Lightning, expanded edition, Wildwood River, c2010, The Mother Tongue, Calyx Press, c2007 Migrations: Poetry & Prose for Life's Transitions, ed. Sheila Packa (Wildwood River Press, c2011)
Media Performances: Night Train Red Dust @ The Fringe Festival, Minneapolis 2013; Origin of Red @ Two Harbors Library; Migrations multimedia performances @ Teatro Zuccone Duluth and other venues in Superior, Esko, Cloquet, Virginia, Grand Rapids and Two Harbors; Duluth Poet Laureate Inaugural Performance of Cloud Birds @ Weber Music Hall in Duluth; Echo & Lightning multi-media performances in Virginia; Ely; Washburn, Wisconsin, the Loft in Minneapolis; Banfill Locke Nature Center, Intermedia Art GLBT Writers Series, Spirit Lake Poetry Series, Duluth; Café au Lake annual performances 2000-2006
Collaborations: text for “Migrations” used by composer Ollie Kortekangas for musical composition commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra to be performed Feb 4, 5, and 6, 2016 in the Sibelius 150 Series: Vanska Conducts Kullervo.
Exhibitions: On the Road to Williston, currently showing at Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND; “Radio Pluto,” “Origin of Birds” (Prøve Gallery), “Hole in the Sky” (Zeitgeist New Music Quartet at Studio Z in St. Paul), and “Sophronia Two” (Walker Art Gallery for Northern Spark 2014); Loom, Poetry Videos: Pluto Festival, October 2012, Belgium; Celluloid Afterlife, Was It I, Black Iris, shown at Co-Kisser Poetry Festival, Minneapolis and Visible Verse Poetry Video Festival in Vancouver, BC, Canada in 2011; Confluence (2010) @ Duluth Film Festival Audio Poetry CDs: Undertow, (CDs and DVDs with music and images by Kathy McTavish) c2010, Fearful Journey, c2009, Dear Bird, c2006.
Anthologies: When We Become Weavers (Squares and Rebels, 2012); Best Poems, American Places, (Viking Penguin, 2011), Finnish-North American Literature in English: A Concise Anthology, ed. Beth Virtanen, c2009, Mellen Press, NY; Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude, Holy Cow! Press, c2009; Trail Guide to the Northland Experience in Prints and Poetry, Calyx Press, c2008; To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-territorial Days to the Present, New Rivers Press, c2006; Erotic Justice, Calyx Press, c2007; Response, Calyx Press, c2006; Shared Visions, Calyx Press, c2004, Uncommon Light, Tamarack Press, c2003; Across the Fence, Tamarack Press, c1983; Sampo: The Magic Mill: A Collection of Finnish American Writers, New Rivers Press, c1989
Literary magazines: Poetry: Rock & Sling, Writer’s Almanac, Cortland Review, Ensemble Jourine, qartsiluni, Thunderbird Review, Ploughshares, Forkroads, Women’s Times, YourLife magazine, Canal Park Times, The Weaver’s Friend, The Poet’s Touchstone, Kippis!, Earth’s Daughters, Sing Heavenly Muse, Wolfhead Quarterly, Hurricane Alice, Main Channel Voices, Minnesota Poetry Calendar, Sinister Wisdom, Rag Mag, Sidewalks, North Coast Review, Loonfeather; Texas Education Agency: Academic Assessment Testing, 2011; KAXE 91.7 FM poetry on community radio, 2012; KUMD 103.3 FM poetry; Fiction: “The Accomplice,” The Cortland Review, Feb 2010; O Finland, Otsa Press, c1998; Sidewalks, Spring 1998; Evergreen Chronicles, Fall 1997; Forkroads, Fall 1996; One Minute of Knowing, Loft Publication; Essays: “Crossing Borders,” New World Finn, Vol 11, #1, Winter 2010; “Up the Hawse Pipe: A Brief History of a Ship’s Engineer,” Nor‘Easter: Journal of the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association, c2009; “The North Shore” North Writers, II, University of Minnesota Press c1997
Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont, 1995
Bachelor of Social Development (Social Work), University of Minnesota, Duluth, 1981 and Minor in English
Teaching the Art of Writing
College Writing Instructor: adjunct, Lake Superior College (2002-present)
Community Workshop Teacher: Metamorphosis: Manuscript Class. Feb 2015 @ Lake Superior Writers Conference Room, Duluth; Poetry & the Spirit (Jan-Feb 2014); Dylan Fest Creative Writing Workshop (May 2013) Hibbing; Dancing with the Past (Jan 2013) University for Seniors, UMD;; Get Your Work Out There! Poetry Publication, The Use of the Past, Writing and The Body (2012); Writing for Transitions poetry workshops in Duluth and Grand Rapids (2010-2011); Migrations Project, Community Arts Learning Project, 40 workshops, a book and 7 multimedia presentations by the contributors; Memoir Writing Workshop (2009) and other poetry workshops across the region. Lecturer: "Impact of the Iron Range on my Writing," Ironworld, Chisholm (2008)
Other Arts Experience
Member of Blue Spiral @ School of Impermanence; Board Member, Spirit Lake Poetry Series, Duluth 2012-2013; Board Member, Lake Superior Writers, 2008-2010; Judge, Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Poetry Contest, 2012; Judge, Poetry Out Loud, High School Poetry Recitation, Arrowhead Region, 2009-2013