Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Hear Minnesota voices (including mine) in The Talking Stick anthology April 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:06 AM
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The Talking Stick, Volume Eighteen, Common Threads, published in 2009

“YOUR POEM WAS CONSIDERED to be one of the best in the poetry category,” the letter reads.

The words are sweet music to my writer’s soul.

“Your poem, along with several others, was sent to Poetry Judge Heid Erdrich,” the paragraph continues.

I am so excited I can hardly stand it. My poem has placed among the top seven in a state-wide contest that attracts a wide range of Minnesota poets, established and emerging.

Hit-and-Run, will publish in the Minnesota literary anthology, The Talking Stick, Volume Nineteen, produced by the Park Rapids-based Jackpine Writers’ Bloc, and tentatively subtitled Forgotten Roads.

No, I didn’t win the $500 first place prize or even the $100 second place prize. But I’ve received honorable mention, and that’s good enough for me.

“We had over 300 entries (in the categories of poetry, creative nonfiction and fiction) of exceptional quality and our decisions were difficult.”

The words resonate—a symphony chorus of praise.

To compete with so many other writers, and then to have my poem selected for prize consideration by award-winning, professional poet Erdrich, pleases me. A lot.

“A terrifying imagery/memory,” Erdrich evaluates. “Some of the lines do not strengthen the poem because they are so long.” Even though her brief comments are not entirely positive, I take them constructively. She, after all, has published three poetry collections.

Me? I’ve had five, soon-to-be eight, poems printed in publications. Read my April 21 blog post, I’m a poet and now I know it, for information about my other recent literary success.

Hit-and-Run, which will print in The Talking Stick, Volume Nineteen, is by far my most emotional, my most heart-wrenching, poem. I write about my initial reaction to the most terrifying day of my life, when my then-12-year-old son was struck by a hit-and-run driver on May 12, 2006.

Apparently the deep-felt emotions in that poem resonated with the Jackpine Writers’ Bloc editorial team. Those writers selected the poems to be published and chose the top several to pass along to celebrity poetry judge Erdrich for prize consideration.

I am grateful to editors Sharon Harris and Tarah L. Wolff for their dedication to The Talking Stick. Without their passion and commitment to this project, fledging poets like me—yes, I believe I can now officially call myself a “poet”—would not have such opportunities.

Readers, please support home-grown literary endeavors by purchasing books like The Talking Stick. The newest volume should be completed in August, just in time for a book release party tentatively slated for September 18 in Park Rapids.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling