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Park Rapids man to give poetry reading, workshop

Richard Fenton Sederstrom will lead a poetry workshop, give a public reading, and facilitate creative writing classes during a visit to Central Lakes College in Brainerd Oct. 4-6.

Sederstrom, a retired English professor who served as a student writing contest judge at CLC last spring, lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mexico and the north woods of Minnesota near Park Rapids.

He was raised in Minnesota.

He will present a poetry workshop Wednesday, Oct. 5 from 3 to 5 p.m. in E203 for all levels of interest and ability, according to Leane Flynn of the CLC English Department.

The public is invited to a free poetry reading Thursday, Oct. 6 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Jon Hassler Library.

During the afternoon Tuesday, Oct. 4 and Thursday, Oct. 6 Sederstrom will be facilitating workshops in the creative writing class taught by Donna Salli at CLC.

"Poetry tends also to be somewhere between merely ironic and downright paradoxical," Sederstrom said.

"Like much of life seems to be, especially when we try to be conscious of living it.

We read (and write) poetry largely to try to figure it out; we live life largely to try to figure it out.

The joy of the attempt mollifies the shock of the inevitable failure, and the one pursuit trains us for the other."

With his family Sederstrom moved to pre-suburban Arizona in 1954.

He was schooled at Arizona State University and Breadloaf at Middlebury College, Vermont.

He has taught middle school, high school, college, and occasional graduate classes, but he strongly prefers to teach at the high school level, where "the young people are observant and inquisitive enough to begin to be interesting, but not too old to be molded into a love for poetry, art, philosophy and other routes to corruption."

He says he is "fortunate to have retired from all respectable pursuits, especially teaching." Today when he returns to the classroom as a visitor, he said "instead of teaching out of pedagogy, I teach out of confusion, and into it, the way teaching should be done, the way poetry should be done, the way life should be lived."

His first book, "Fall Pictures on an Abandoned Road," was released in 2009.

"Disordinary Light" came out in 2010. His latest book, "Folly, A Book of Last Summers," appeared in June.

His poetry has been published in Avocet, The Talking Stick, English Journal, Plainsongs, Big Muddy, Mother Earth Journal, The Blue Guitar, Memoir (and), and Ruminate among other journals and magazines.