The Gustavian Weekly

Local Minnesotan Freya Manfred gives poetry reading | The Gustavian Weekly

By Katie Kaderlik Staff Writer | February 26, 2010 | Variety

This Thursday, March 4, 2010, poet Freya Manfred will give a poetry reading of selections from her newest book. Growing up in Minnesota, many of Freya’s poems reflect her life here. Jen Wahl.

Poet Freya Manfred will be reading from her newest book of poetry, Swimming With A Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle, on Thursday, March 4, 2010 in the Lind Interpretive Center. The poetry reading is open to the public and will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Manfred has received several awards for her poetry including the Minnesota Poetry Award. She also has five other published collections of poetry including A Goldenrod Will Grow, Yellow Squash Woman, American Roads, Flesh and Blood and My Only Home. Besides Manfred’s experience with writing poetry, she has also written and published a memoir about her father.

“I have read Freya’s memoir of her famous father, a writer named Frederick Manfred. The memoir is entitled Frederick Manfred: A Daughter Remembers (1999). In this book, she recalls growing up in a literary family and the influences this had on her own decision to pursue a writing life.

Her father was a ‘larger than life’ figure whose novels are set in Minnesota in the nineteenth century,” English Professor Elizabeth Baer said.

Manfred’s desire to become a writer was influenced by her father, and she found inspiration in the natural world around her.

“Freya grew up in western Minnesota, near Pipestone, where she gained the love of the natural world. Of her poems, my favorites in the new as well as previous books are her poems about lakes; she writes about water and lakes in ways that give words to my own emotional responses to lakes in all seasons,” Baer said.

Assistant Professor of English Baker Lawley is beginning to familiarize himself with Manfred’s work and has begun to read portions of her newest collection of poetry.

“In describing just what I’ve seen in her newest poetry collection, I think Freya’s style is very rooted in the natural world, using very descriptive passages to evoke setting and letting that setting evoke some larger question about the meaning and questions of human life,” Lawley said.

According to Manfred’s website, “This book is broken into three sections.

Section I, ‘Swimming with a Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle,’ focuses on the natural world and contains meditations upon fear, grief, dreams, rage and acceptance. Section II, ‘Just Like a Woman,’ contains poems about marriage, written in many voices. Section III, ‘One True Thing,’ speaks of mankind’s search for meaning, for one true thing in a perilous world.”

The poetry reading by Manfred is a great opportunity for students to learn about a local writer. It will be an evening full of relaxation, poetry and time to ask Manfred questions at the end of her reading.

“I have enjoyed what I’ve read so far, and am looking forward to hearing her read from it and describe her work with it further,” Lawley said.

To learn more about Manfred’s work, visit her website at