Laura Hansen experiences life after Bookin’ It

She is busy with her writing and will soon submit a manuscript for publishing 

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

“My energies are now focused on primarily writing poetry, doing articles for various local periodicals such as Lake Country Journal and Minnesota Moments and writing book reviews,” said Laura Hansen, poet, author and former owner of Bookin’ It Book Store in Little Falls. “I now have a life without a business to concentrate on.”

Hansen was recently published in volume 22 of “Talking Stick, In Retrospect,” an annual book published by Jackpine Writers Bloc. In it, Hansen has two poems and one short story.

“One poem was inspired by a family wedding in Kansas that I was not able to attend,” said Hansen. “The other is about a new mother’s first experience reading to her child and coming to the realization it’s the first step in letting go.”

Without Bookin’ It to take up her energies, Little Falls resident Laura Hansen is concentrating more on her poetry and short story writing. She recently won several awards at the League of Minnesota Poets annual conference, plus will soon publish a 60-page manuscript of her work.

Without Bookin’ It to take up her energies, Little Falls resident Laura Hansen is concentrating more on her poetry and short story writing. She recently won several awards at the League of Minnesota Poets annual conference, plus will soon publish a 60-page manuscript of her work.

Her short story, or flash fiction, is a mythical story about riding beasts to the mountains and finding children who are keepers of the books.

To be considered flash fiction, a story should be less than 1,000 words. Hansen’s is 732 words.

She is also published in “The Heart of All That Is,” a book published by Holy Cow Press. The company called for submissions from known authors to do an anthology about home.

Hansen’s story is called “What Holds Me,” and is about the boxes of artifacts left behind by older generations, pictures, China and letters that hold her and make her house a home.

“I am trying to break into more mainstream publishing; trying to receive more than just regional exposure,” she said. “Holy Cow Press is a good step forward.”

The book also showcases many nationally known poets such as Marge Piercy, Naomi Shihab Nye and Joseph Bruchac.

“My poetry strives to engage, while also being quality work. Even those who don’t think they like poetry, find it engaging,” she said.

Hansen started writing when about 8 years old.

“Both my grandmothers loved poetry,” she said. “One read a lot of poetry, the other wrote. I still have the book written by Grandma Hansen.”

She said she loves the play of words, which she says came from being moved during church services by the power of the liturgy and the readings.

Hansen got away from composing for a time, then began keeping a journal when she turned 30. She took classes from writer and poet Tom McKeown at the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse and from him she learned about word choice and brighter language.

Her first chapbook, or pocket-sized booklet, was published in 2006 and the second in 2010.

Currently, Hansen is working on a 60-page manuscript of her work. She recently had a private consultation with poet Kathryn Kayser who inspired Hansen to write.

“When I left, I had 60 poems written,” said Hansen. “It’s nearly ready to submit to publishers.”

At the most recent League of Minnesota Poets annual conference, held in Chaska Oct. 17 – 18, Hansen walked away with three awards in the grand prize category and several more awards in other categories.

She is also beginning a stint as a board member on the Five Wings Art Council, starting in November.

“While writing has always been with me, I didn’t really do it in earnest until 1989,” Hansen said. “Now, without the store, I am able to concentrate more on it. My plans are to work on layering my work where one idea leads to another, broadening the perspective to universal human conditions, historic events and more. I want inspiration from different landscapes, classic myths and metaphors.”

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