Mark is a life-long resident of Minnesota; born in St. Paul, and raised in Duluth, an inland seaport of Lake Superior. After practicing trial law for nearly twenty years, Mark became a District Court Judge in 1998 and serves a four county region of Northeastern Minnesota. Mark, his wife Rene’, and their four sons live along the banks of the wild and scenic Cloquet River north of Duluth. His work has been published in Writer’s Journal and his essay “Leaving Mayo” was a finalist for the 2000 Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Writing Award.

  • Ann Toumi:

    Hello Mark,

    How exciting to find Cloquet River Press and to see that you are working on a new novel,Sukulaiset. I am now reading Suomalaiset for the 2nd time, and would like to tell you how impressed I am with the depth and accuracy of your historical research. Thanks for a great read — I am as facinated the 2nd time through as I was on the 1ast!

    I looked for your name on the internet with the idea of asking you a question or two if that would be possible. I am currently an instructor of English at the University of Eastern Finland, in Joensuu, but as usual I am in the Brainerd area for most of the summer break. For decades, no kidding, I’ve been working on a novel that is partially set in Duluth. Related to this work is an article that I am researching at the moment, but I have come to some road blocks. The idea of contacting you came to me while reading Suomalaiset once again.

    I am not into twitter, blogs or face book and, as many writers, I am keeping my topic basically to myself. So if it is possible to ask you a question or two, I hope that our conversation could be kept confidential. My topic is related to the Railroads in the Duluth area in the early 1900’s.

    May I contact you with a question or two sometime at your convenience?

    Thank you,

    • Mark:

      Ann: Absolutely! In fact, you will be in a position to assist me as well. “Sukulaiset” (the sequel) is, at present, in very rough form but once I get it hammered together, given that part of the “action” takes place in and around Joensuu, you’d be a great resource as a pre-reader for me. So, I propose a trade. I’ll answer any questions you have if you are willing, once the manuscript is in better shape, to take a look at giving me your thoughts. The story is much different in scope than “Suomalaiset” in that it takes place almost entirely in Karelia, Finland, Russia, and Estonia from 1934-present day. Very daunting to research and write. So far, I’ve had Gerry Henkel of the “New World Finn” newspaper reading it along with Dr. Alexis Pogorelskin of UMD (expert on the area and timeframe) and Irina Haller, a scientist here in Duluth with Essentia Health who was born and raised in Karelia in the very area where much of the action takes place. I am seriously looking into writing retreats in Finland once I am in the home stretch to allow me to come and visit some of the places depicted in the book, including Joensuu. Your university is mentioned!

      So if that sounds like a possibility, I’m open to a “trade”. (And yes, I’d help you even if you say “No”!) You can call me at (218) 721-3213, which is my home number.

  • jack green:

    Hi Mark – Just finished your book of essays “Black Water” and all the stories were great. The essays serve as a reminder as to why we have chosen to live in the north country as well as our family values..Sometimes the achieving of money and assets doesn’t compete with living a full life enjoying the amenities that our area has to offer..Talked to your Dad recently and he seems heathly and “happy”..Great…I enjoyed this book more than any of the others, with the exception of the one you did on Willard…Jack Green

    • Mark:

      Thanks, Jack. Most of those stories first appeared years ago in the Hermantown Star. Have a great day!

  • Nick Patronas:

    Mark, great article in the Tribune,5-20 issue. I hopefully will be read, and people will realize how important these dedicated teachers, and great programs, which push our young people are so important! Keep up the good work, Nick

    • Mark:

      Thanks, Nick! I think you were one of the Trojans who likely ran across my face on PSS when I was a scrub for Marv’s Marvels…Good to hear from you.

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