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How Still the Riddle


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About the Author

Francine Marie Tolf's poems and essays have been published widely in journals such as Southern Humanities Review, Poetry East, Contrary Magazine, Rattle, and Water Stone Review. She has received two Minnesota State Arts Board Grants as well as grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation and the Barbara Deming Foundation. Francine lives and works in Minneapolis, where she loves taking long walks around the city's beautiful lakes and the Mississippi River. She shares an apartment with her golden cat, Lilly. Gale Tolf was an award winning artist, writer, and teacher with a Masters in Gifted Education. Gale's illustrations have been published widely in literary journals. For inspiration and subject matter, Gale drew deeply from myths, fairytales, poetry, and the Bible. She was a voracious reader whose favorite authors included Carl Jung, Walt Whitman, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Shakespeare. She once noted that The Bard was one of her best friends: "He knew more about psychology than Freud and had a sense of humor to boot!" Gale suffered from bipolar disorder. She felt great compassion for anyone dealing with mental illness. These words are from one of the many poetry collections she self-published: "The next time you see someone suffering from mental illness-perhaps a bag lady muttering to herself and looking godawful-don't avert your eyes. Look her in the eye and talk to her. Inside is a person who wants everything out of life-just like you do. And that person is a warrior. Maybe a wounded warrior, but a warrior just the same. Because inside that human being is an intricate, exquisite mind and a loving benevolent heart-in camouflage-but there."

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