About

The Sonoglyph Collective fuses poetry, song, storytelling, and spoken word with improvisational music in unique, spontaneous performances. Their work draws on influences as diverse as the West African griot tradition, the epic Finnish folk-poetry of the Kalevala, Irish sean-nós singing, torch songs, the blues, classic rock, and free jazz. They have given performances and workshops throughout the Twin Cities, at venues including the Blue Harbor Center for the Arts, the East Side Freedom Library, the Wolf House, the Saint Paul Public Library, the Normandale Writing Festival, and the University of Minnesota's Witness Creative Writing Project.

“A riveting, soulful show that's funny, joyful, and way-smart.” – Carrie Pomeroy, Saint Paul writer

“The evening’s performance had poets, musicians and audience riding the waves of literary and sonic interplay – splashing, sunning and laughing in the best tradition of collaboration.” – Steve Peterson, Twin Cities arts photographer

“A magical merging of music and poetry” – Stan Kusunoki, curator/host of the Bridges Reading Series

The Poets

Hawona Sullivan Janzen

Hawona Sullivan Janzen

Hawona is a poet and multidisciplinary artist who believes that art is the only thing that can save us from ourselves. She is the co-founder of Witness Writing, a free North Minneapolis-based creative writing program, and the chair of Literary Witnesses, a 20 year old poetry reading series of Plymouth Congregational Church. Her writing has been featured on National Public Radio, in publications by Sister Black Press, Coffee House Press, and developed into a jazz opera at the Soap Factory Gallery. Hawona is also a 2019-20 Jerome Foundation Naked Stages Performance Art Fellow, a recipient of a 2018 McKnight Foundation Artist Neighborhood Partnership grant, and 2020 Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership grant awardee. She is currently at work on “Love Letters for the Midway” a public art lawn sign project featuring photographs and poetry about the Hamline-Midway Neighborhood.

Lynette Reini-Grandell

Lynette Reini-Grandell

Lynette is the author of two poetry collections, Wild Verge and Approaching the Gate, which won the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award for Poetry. Her poetry has appeared in Alligator JuniperIt’s Animal but Merciful, MNArtists.org, Poetry MotelRevolver, Poetry City U.S.A., Seminary Ridge Review, and more. Nominated for a Pushcart, her work has received support from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Finlandia Foundation. In addition to her work with Sonoglyph, she performs frequently at spoken word venues, is a core member of the Bosso Poetry Company, and is a seasoned collaborator in multimedia performances. A two-time president of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English, she has an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Minnesota and is an alum of the Sewanee Writers Conference. She teaches creative writing at Normandale Community College and lives in Minneapolis with her family. reini-grandell.com

IBé Kaba

IBé Kaba

IBé is an award winning spoken work poet born and raised in Sierra Leone and Guinea. He's called Minnesota home for over half of his life. So naturally, of course, he lives in the middle of the Atlantic. Among others, IBé is the recipient of a Midwestern Voices Award, Jerome/SASE Verve Grant, and a Minnesota Academy Award nominee for Best Spoken Word. He is a contributing writer to the acclaimed collection "Good Time for the Truth" and a member of the Sonoglyph Collective, an eclectic group of poets and musicians spreading a new old vision of music all over Minnesota. atlanticrock.com/ibe

Kathryn Kysar

Kathryn Kysar

Kathryn is the author of two books of poetry, Dark Lake and Pretend the World, and she edited the anthology Riding Shotgun: Women Write About Their Mothers. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing in poetry and has received fellowships and residencies from the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Tofte Lake Center, and the Oberholtzer Foundation. Her poems have been published in the Minnesota Women’s PressGreat River ReviewMidland ReviewMizna, and many other magazines and anthologies. She is the founder of the creative writing program at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, and she has served on the boards of directors for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and Rain Taxi. An experienced workshop instructor, Kysar teaches classes and offers manuscript consultations through the Loft Literary Center. Her recent collaborative projects included a series of art exhibits and CD of poems from Pretend the World. She resides with her family in Saint Paul, Minnesota. kathrynkysar.com

The Musicians

Aaron Kerr

Aaron Kerr (cello)

Aaron performs with many ensembles in the Twin Cities area, including rock bands Swallows and J. Briozo, the avant-garde jazz trio SingleCell, the eclectic jazz ensemble Todd Harper's Musical Ecology, and his own classical fusion group Aaron Kerr's Dissonant Creatures. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Aaron studied music composition at Loyola University in New Orleans under composers Stephen Dankner, William Horne, Sylvia Pengilly, and Sanford Hinderlie. Since moving to the Twin Cities, Aaron has received awards from the American Composers Forum and a composer fellowship from the McKnight Foundation. Aaron teaches cello, bass, and composition to individual students and in workshops, and he has instructed middle school students in music composition as part of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's CONNECT program. Aaron's music is on over fifty albums nationally and internationally, including several solo albums. His 2019 release “To Combat Loneliness: Musical Compositions Based on the Works of David Foster Wallace” was nominated for Concept Album of the Year at the 2020 Independent Music Awards. aaronkerr.com

Sean Egan

Sean Egan (clarinet)

Sean grew up in Hammond, Indiana, and studied composition at DePaul University. His primary musical interests are improvisation and interdisciplinary collaboration; his artistic partners have included poet D.J. Haliday, sculptor Pedram Baldari, dancer/choreographer Erika Hansen, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the James Sewell Ballet, and In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. He has given classes and workshops at the Perpich Arts High School, Four Seasons Arts-Plus Elementary School, and through the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's CONNECT program, and he created found-object percussion used by the Macalester College New Music Ensemble. Egan has also had a long career playing Irish traditional music, and currently teaches at the Center for Irish Music in Saint Paul. In 2018 he qualified to compete at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Drogheda, Ireland, and in 2019 he received the Irish Music and Dance Association's Cross-Cultural Grant to develop a collaboration between Irish traditional musicians and master drummers from Guinea. seaneganmusic.com

Jonathan Townsend (percussion)

Jonathan Townsend (percussion)

Jonathan has worked with a long list of Twin Cities artists in a wide variety of genresincluding jazz, blues, rock, zydeco, and free improv. A short list of his creative partners would include Katy Thomasberg, Venus de Mars, RIDE, JJ’s Zydeco Paydirt, the Brothers Malmgren, Chellie Brown, Trevor Lettman, and the Stone Arch Jazz BandHe has been in musical theater productions at the Fringe Festival and at Patrick’s Cabaret, worked with the Saint Paul Composer's Syndicate, and has been a member of the Barebones Orchestra since 2016. Jonathan is also a certified Windsurfing Instructor, and taught high school Spanish for over twenty years.