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Raki Kopernik

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HomeArtistsRaki Kopernik

Raki is a first generation American, queer, Jewish writer. She is the author of The Things You Left and The Memory House, both Minnesota Book Award finalists. Her longform poetry chapbook, The Other Body, was published in 2017, and her stories and poems have appeared in numerous publications and have been shortlisted and nominated for several other awards, including the Pushcart Prize for Fiction, the Pen Faulkner Award in Fiction, the Glimmer Train Short Story Award, and the Red Hen Press Nonfiction Award. Her queer travel novel, No One’s Leaving, is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press in 2025.

Raki lives in Minneapolis and teaches creative writing at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design. As a queer and first generation American with another language and culture, Raki finds joy in working with students across identities and life experiences. In her classes and workshops, she tailors lessons according to students, making sure everything is accessible, stimulating, and challenging. Raki believes everyone has an interesting story, and that with curiosity and vulnerability, we can find deep connections to the world around us through writing.

More About the Artist

In 2022, her immigrant memoir, The Memory House, was taught in classrooms at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, where she was the Two Rivers Reading Series Author. She has been a panelist for Metropolitan Regional Arts Council and was the lead fiction editor at MAYDAY Magazine from 2020-2023. She also spent many years teaching yoga and meditation, both to kids and adults, has taught yoga and Hebrew language in grade schools, and has led individual workshops through residencies for teen and college classes. 

Program Offerings

Creative Writing

Each class starts with a go-around (always optional to pass) sharing thoughts about anything on the student’s minds that day, considering things they find inspiring or challenging, to get warmed up and create a connection among the group. This leads into themes, readings, and a collective brainstorming to spark discussion. Brainstorming helps facilitate a starting point so that no one feels like they’re doing the prompt “wrong.”  

The next step is to have students write a story or poem based on the brainstorm, considering sensory details, what kind of story, characters, situations, and emotions the art might activate.  

The idea is to be inspired by the sensations that arrive when we are engaged in something, then dig into and follow our imagination, always staying curious. 

Depending on the time constraint of any class, students will have anywhere from ten to thirty minutes to write. From there, we share work (again, optional) and discuss things like point of view, tense, rhythm, layout, emotionality, sensory details etc., then re-work stories in a new way. If the class is big, students will break out into small groups of three or four, read their work out loud to each other, and give feedback, considering what kind of feedback is helpful and supportive.  

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“Raki is one of the kindest professors here at MCAD and continues to be a joy to have as a professor.”

MCAD student
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“One of my favorite classes this semester, one of the best experiences I have had in an academic setting, and this is the most my writing has developed in such a short time.”

MCAD student
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“Love Raki so so much. She puts in a lot of hours and personal dedication to each student, making sure they’re well respected and dedicated to the class.”

MCAD student

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COMPAS is an arts education nonprofit that puts creativity in the hands of Minnesotans, regardless of their age, background, or skills. Based in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area, COMPAS teaching artists deliver creative experiences and arts programming across Minnesota.

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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.