Thanks first to the folks at the University of Minnesota Press for believing in this work. Special thanks to my amazing editor, Erik Anderson, for shepherding me and my book through the editorial process and for putting up with my whining. Thanks also to Louisa Castner for your sensitive copyediting.
To Water~Stone Review, the Minnesota Historical Society Press, Black Renaissance Noire, Stylus Press, Erlbaum Press, Seven Stories Press, and Spout Press, and to editors John Colburn, Julie Landsman, Mary F. Rockcastle, Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, Sun Yung Shin, Alexs D. Pate, Pamela Fletcher, Quincy Troupe, Sandra Tutwiler, Eugene B. Redmond, Ann Regan, and posthumously to J. Otis Powell—many thanks to all of you for publishing versions of some of the essays in this book.
Thank you to the Minnesota State Arts Board for giving me the gift of time to complete my manuscript, and to Paulette Bates Alden, Barrie Jean Borich, and Patricia Weaver Francisco for your feedback along the way. Special thanks to Scott Edelstein for your multileveled consultations.
To Karyn Sproles, who knew I was a teacher before I knew it; to Alice Moorhead, Veena Deo, everyone in Hamline University’s English department, and to Linnea Stenson at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, for your encouragement throughout my teaching journey; to friends and mentors Andrea “Andy” Gilats and Julie Landsman; and to my students, who continue to teach me so much.
Huge thanks to Neal Cuthbert, Cynthia Gehrig, Nancy Fushan, Mary Pickard, and Claire Chang, for your loving and consistent support of my work in the community through the Jerome, McKnight, Bush, St. Paul, and St. Paul Travelers Foundations; and to Diane Espaldon, Shannon Kennedy, and Leslie Wolfe for working with me through the transition and merger. Special thanks to Julie Bates-McGillis for growing SASE’s programs at Intermedia Arts and to everyone who helped make SASE happen, especially Brandon Lussier and Sandy Moore.
To the women in my writing groups: Sherrie Fernandez-Williams, Mary Moore Easter, Carla-Elaine Johnson, Kyoko Katayama, Joan Maze, Mai Neng Moua, Nora Murphy, Marcie Rendon, Sagirah Shahid, Jna Shelomith, Buffy Smith, Joan Trygg. Special thanks to my bestest writing buddy and writing doula, Diane Wilson.
And, finally, thanks and reverence to Mom, Dad, Barney—I miss you. To my amazing children—Stevie, Julian, Iris, Tania, and Ebony. To my grandchildren—Trent, Xaundra, Keenan, Tess, Marselais, Jordyn, Nia, and Najah. To my great-granddaughter, Penny, and those yet to come into the world.