‘New Journalist’ Toby Thompson to read at Blue Heron, Jim Armstrong to perform new songs


Laureate Writers Series farewell reception, reading

On Tuesday, December 10, at 6:30 p.m., poet and songwriter Jim Armstrong will perform several of his new songs about the American West. At 7 p.m. featured reader Toby Thompson will read from “Fired On,” his upcoming collection of essays that interpret Western American art through the eyes of the artist, from Charley Russell to Native painter and songwriter T.C. Cannon. The event will take place at the Blue Heron Coffee House, Winona. It will be followed by an open mic. The theme for the open mic is “The Artist.”

Come early, grab a free dessert, a cup of coffee, and listen to Armstrong’s songs. Then settle in for Thompson’s presentation. Consider reading something at the open mic.

Thompson is the author of five books of nonfiction: “Positively Main Street — Bob Dylan’s Minnesota,” “The’60s Report,” “Riding the Rough String — Reflections on the American West,” “Metroliner —Passages, Washington to New York,” and “Saloon.” He teaches creative nonfiction writing at Penn State. Thompson has written for publications as diverse as Vanity Fair, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Gray’s Sporting Journal, GQ, Men’s Journal, Sports Afield, Playboy, Outside, Western Art & Architecture, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Tom Wolfe calls Thompson “an intrepid tripper in the Merry Prankster sense, and an urban Thoreau.”

Armstrong is professor of English at WSU and has published two books of poetry, “Monument in a Summer Hat” and “Blue Lash,” and co-authored a book of essays, “Nature, Culture and Two Friends Talking.” He is also a songwriter. He said, “While driving across the West, following the Oregon Trail to Portland, I started writing songs inspired by the landscape … I had become intoxicated by the loneliness and precarity and beautiful vastness of the West.”

The event is co-sponsored by The Blue Heron and The city of Winona and is free and open to the public.


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