On Tuesday, October 2, spoken-word poet Pam Whitfield will perform as part of the Laureate Writers Series at Blue Heron Coffee House, 162 West Second Street, Winona. The program will begin at 7 p.m. After a short break there will be an open mic. The theme for the open mic is “love.” The program is free and open to the public. This event is co-sponsored by the Winona Fine Arts Commission and Blue Heron.
Whitfield is an educator, journalist, poet, activist, and horsewoman. She taught in Chinese colleges in the 1990s, and is now at Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC). At RCTC she co-founded the state’s only two-year equine science degree program and launched the campus writing center. In 2010, she won the MnSCU Educator of the Year award, and in 2011 the Carnegie Foundation named her Minnesota Professor of the Year. Professor Whitfield serves on the grants review panel of the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council, as well as the Human Trafficking Awareness Committee of Rochester, which works to educate the public on sex trafficking issues.
Whitfield has published poetry, creative nonfiction, feature and sports journalism, scholarly articles, and a relationship column. She won the Rochester Poetry Slam in 2012 and keynoted Mayo Clinic’s Regional Arts in Healthcare Symposium in 2014. She has since migrated into stage and performance work, including a role in “The Vagina Monologues,: street theater at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, and enacting famous women from Mayo Clinic at historical events, most recently Sister Domitilla in full 1941 habit! Whitfield performed with a music/spoken word group called Midnight Cowgirl but is now doing solo work. She said, “My style is spoken word: fast, funny, rhyming at times, and I use my southern accent shamelessly. Poetry is performance, in my mind.”