Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

I’m a poet and now I know it April 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:16 AM

APRIL, NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, has been very kind to me. I recently entered two writing competitions, with successful results. Three of my poems have been selected for publication in two anthologies, one regional, the other state-wide.

Today I’ll tell you about the regional competition. You’ll need to check back for information on the state-wide contest.

In a congratulatory letter I received Tuesday, I learned that Saturday night baths and A school without a library will publish in the 2010 Poetic Strokes anthology.

Competition was tough with 118 poets submitting 280 poems. Forty-two of those poems, from 30 poets, will publish.

I believe I can now, officially, call myself a “poet.” In all honesty, I am humbled, and thrilled (can I be both?) that I did so well in this competition hosted by Southeastern Libraries Cooperating/Southeast Library System.

A qualified panel of judges (identity unknown to me) chose the winning entries from writers within SELCO’s 11-county service area. The winning poets come from 14 communities; I’m the only one from Faribault. Rochester and Winona produced the most publishing poets with six each from those two cities.

Poetic Strokes, volumes two and three

These are not my first poems to be printed in Poetic Strokes. In 2000 and 2001, Prairie Sisters, Abandoned Farmhouse and Walking Beans published in volumes two and three. Then, due to funding shortages, the anthology went on hiatus for nearly a decade.

I didn’t take a break from poetry, though, and have since had poems printed in The Lutheran Digest and Minnesota Moments.

And then there’s that state-wide contest I’ll tell you about in a future post.

Winning two poetry competitions extends beyond the joy of getting published. For me, as a writer, it’s confirming/validating/reaffirming that I am writing good poetry that resonates with readers, or at least with the judges.

Poetic Strokes, Volume Four, No. One, releases sometime in early May.

So where can you get this regional collection? Mollie M. Pherson, SELCO regional librarian tells me that SELCO cannot legally sell the anthology because the project was financed with Library Legacy funding. Those monies come via the Legacy Amendment approved by Minnesota voters in November 2008 to preserve our state’s arts and cultural heritage.

But, she adds, options are being explored. I certainly hope the anthology will be available for anyone who wants to add Poetic Strokes, Volume Four to their poetry collection. I bet my mom would like a copy.

If you just want to read the collection, and not permanently keep it, you can always check Poetic Strokes out from a SELCO library. Each library in the system will have the anthology. I know, I know, if you don’t live in southeastern Minnesota, you don’t have direct access to a SELCO library.

You can bet I’ll tell you when my copy of the 2010 Poetic Strokes arrives.  And if you live nearby, I’ll even let you read my poems about the once-a-week baths I took as a child (whether I needed one or not) and about my elementary school, which did not have a library. Really.

Here’s the link to the list of 2010 Poetic Strokes winners:


© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling