Saint Paul Public Library Offers Free “Out Loud at the Library” Workshop Series with Local Artists Focused on Spoken Word, Songwriting, and Poetry

Free creative workshops for the public led by local artists Kashimana Ahua, Desdamona, Sun Yung Shin, and Kyle Tran Myhre on Wednesdays in May at George Latimer Central Library

Saint Paul Public Library (SPPL) is offering free creative workshops led by local artists Kashimana Ahua, Desdamona, Sun Yung Shin, and Kyle Tran Myhre in partnership with COMPAS through Out Loud at the Library. At the workshops on Wednesday evenings throughout May at George Latimer Central Library, participants will explore spoken word, songwriting, and poetry with the artists and then create works of their own.

“We invite both beginners and people experienced in spoken word, poetry writing, and songwriting to join us for a series of workshops focused on exploring our identities and building community,” said Katrina Hartz Taylor, Public Services Manager at Saint Paul Public Library. “Through the interactive workshops, artists will lead participants in learning new skills, sharing stories, and exploring expression through poetry and performance.”

All workshops are free and open to the public and take place on Wednesday evenings at George Latimer Central Library, 90 4th Street West, St Paul, 55102. The workshop series concludes on May 29, the final Wednesday of the month, with an open mic night when participants from the workshops will share their work with the public.

“One of the biggest misconceptions about writing is that it's only for a tiny handful of famous professionals. But everyone has a story, and every story matters,” said presenter Kyle Tran Myhre. “Whether that story is shared in a poem, or a song, or some other way, we can all be part of the process of telling our stories and listening—truly listening—to each other. That's something we don't get a lot of opportunities to do in this historical moment, and I think it's so important for both personal growth and community-building.”

Registration is encouraged but not required. Attending all workshops is not required.

May 1, 6-7 p.m.: Spoken Word workshop, led by Desdamona 

Desdamona is a writer and an engaging performer who works in the realm of Spoken Word and Hip-Hop. She stumbled upon the art of spoken word as an outlet for her lyrical expression. As a student, the opportunity to experiment and create helped to develop her identity and self-esteem. When she struggled in some areas of school, art led her through and gave her something that made her feel powerful. “It taught me to adapt and change and this ability is one that has benefited me greatly in life.” She loves to share her work and also learn about students and what they are interested in so that together they can create something that makes them feel powerful. 
May 8, 6-7 p.m.: Poetry Writing workshop, led by Sun Yung Shin 

This poetry workshop is for people new to writing poems, experienced writers, and everyone in between. In this workshop, participants will read and discuss a variety of poems that affirm the belief that poetry belongs to everyone. Together, participants and Sun Yung Shin will learn or review some poetry basics to help build understanding of poetry's special gifts and opportunities as a genre. Participants will have the opportunity to write about topics that matter to them and will leave the workshop with a few drafts of new poems that express their sense of belonging.

May 15, 6-7 p.m.: Songwriting workshop, led by Kashimana Ahua 

Participants will learn to use observation, listening, improvisation, collaborative writing, and singing to develop their talents as songwriters. Participants learn about the building blocks of lyric writing, melody, improvisation, genres and arrangement. Together participants get to play at music creation, problem solving and supporting one another as you go on this unique journey of writing a song. 
Kashimana Ahua believes each new day brings a new song from within if we take the moments to write it. She believes that everyone should write songs and after she teaches, she envisions leaving a strong community of songwriters ready to share their stories through songwriting. 
May 22, 6-7 p.m.: Spoken Word and Slam Poetry workshop, led by Kyle Tran Myhre 

Across the globe, the spoken word movement has reignited poetry as a force for artistic expression, critical dialogue, and community-building. As both a specific form (writing poetry that is meant to be shared aloud) and a deeper cultural practice (tracing its roots back millennia), spoken word creates space for all of us to tell our stories, make our values concrete, and speak up about the issues and ideas that matter to us. In this session, we’ll explore some spoken word fundamentals, share some tools and techniques, and do some writing.

May 29, 5-7 p.m.: Open Mic Celebration 

Participants from any and all of the workshops will share their creations during an evening filled with joy and community connection! Food and refreshments will be provided, and performers will receive a small token of our appreciation for sharing their work. 

Out Loud at the Library events are supported by funding from The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.

Call 641-266-7000 or visit for more information.