Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

You’re invited to hear two Faribault poets read & talk about poetry November 29, 2012

WITH ONLY A WEEK until the presentation, I figured I better buckle down and finish my prep work. After all, wasn’t I the annoying mom sometimes harping on my once high school-aged kids to finish their homework?

“Don’t leave it until the last minute,” I would urge, not that they heeded my advice.

Peter C. Allen and I will present in the Great Hall, a lovely room with Greek murals on the second floor of the library.

I decided to listen to myself and have been preparing for a poetry presentation Faribault poet Peter C. Allen and I will give at 6 p.m. next Thursday, December 6, in the second floor Great Hall of Buckham Memorial Library, 11 East Division Street, Faribault.

I expect Peter is not really stressing at all about this event as he enjoys reading his poetry to an audience.

Me? Not so much.

Connie Ludwig, right, and I pose with her watercolor, “Pantry Jewels” (above my head), inspired by my poem, “Her Treasure.” We were participants in Poet-Artist Collaboration XI at Crossings at Carnegie in Zumbrota in April.

I’m counting on Peter, whom I first met last spring at a poet-artist collaboration in Zumbrota, to help me ease into our joint poetry reading and poetry educating. He’s the kind of guy who makes you feel comfortable and who reads with the confidence of a seasoned poet.

And that he is. Several weeks ago Peter invited my husband and me to dinner in his home with wife, Maria, and their adult son, Peter Allen (the sixth). After our savory meal, I asked the elder Peter to read some of his poetry. When my friend pulled out a thick binder of his poetry, I spouted, “You’ve written way more poetry than me.”

That matters not to Peter. Nor, I suppose, should it matter to me. After all, we each write poetry when the muse calls—or in my case when a contest deadline approaches.

The 2012 volume of Poetic Strokes in which Peter Allen and I are both published.

Peter and I were both winners in the Southeastern Libraries Cooperating 2012 Poetic Strokes competition, which is why we were invited to speak at the library next week. Of the 202 submissions from regional poets, only 30 poems were selected for publication in Poetic Strokes: A Regional Anthology of Poetry from Southeastern Minnesota, Volume 6.

I’ve also been published in volumes 2, 3 and 4 of Poetic Strokes.

Lake Region Review 2, right, in which I was recently published, and LRR 1, to the left, in which I was published in 2011. I will read from both volumes during the poetry presentation next Thursday evening. This weekend you can listen to writers read their works from LRR 2 on selected western Minnesota radio stations. Go to lakeregionwriters.net and click on “Upcoming Events” for details. LRR 2 writers will also read and discuss the craft of writing at  Zandbroz Vareity, 420 Broadway Ave., Fargo, North Dakota, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 9, where I shot this photo.

I’ll read six of my poems from those four volumes plus an additional 11 published elsewhere. Even I did not realize, until I began gathering my work, that I’d been published this often. Do I have enough published work to possibly think about compiling a book of my poems?

Additionally, I’ll share tips on poetry writing and a sampling of places Minnesota poets can submit their poetry right here in Minnesota.

The most unusual place my poetry has been published, on billboards as part of the Roadside Poetry Project in Fergus Falls.

You can also expect me to use visuals in presenting several of my poems. Initially I’d considered using PowerPoint, but worried that I couldn’t pull that off given I have no idea how to prepare or technically present a PowerPoint. Lack of equipment at the library for that type of presentation caused me to drop that thought and rely instead on my ingenuity. (No, I’m not even going to hint at what I have planned.)

Besides listening to Peter and me read our poetry and talk about poetry and our other writing experiences (including blogging), you will leave with a gift—a free copy of the 2012 Poetic Strokes, compliments of SELCO.

Peter and I will also treat you to snacks and beverages.

So…if you’re up for an hour of poetry followed by a question-and-answer period, or simply want to meet me, the real person behind this blog, join Peter and me at 6 p.m. next Thursday, December 6, at the Faribault library. Peter and I promise a casual and relaxed (hopefully for me) atmosphere with down-to-earth poetry you will (hopefully) understand and enjoy.

Full disclosure: I am being paid a small stipend to present on poetry at the library. However, I was not asked to write this post and did so because I often promote such cultural events in my community and elsewhere.

The Poetic Strokes project is funded in part or whole by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


19 Responses to “You’re invited to hear two Faribault poets read & talk about poetry”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    I have no doubt that you will rock this!!! I know you will! What a great thing you are able to share your love of writing with others!!! Yay for you!

  2. Clyde in Mankato Says:

    I would never be able to read my poetry in public or publish it because a) I never think it is done and b) it isn’t. Good for you.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, the curse of the poet (writer), to think his/her poem (writing) is never done. You must overcome that and submit. I admit, it’s not easy the first time to put yourself and your poetry out there. But once you are successful and then successful again, you gain confidence. Onward. Now, I must get cracking on prepping for that presentation.

  3. Congrats! I wish I could be there. And I LOVE that sign you’re standing beside. You’re famous.

  4. treadlemusic Says:

    So exciting!! You will do well! What is it that “they” say……a little(?) nervousness is helpful cuz it keeps you ‘sharp’?? Hmmmm, don’t know…not been there!!!!

  5. Exciting! and love the roadside photo! Can’t wait to read about it!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Getting my poem onto billboards was fun. Great idea, and I hope funding can be found to revive the project.

  6. How cool is that? Have a wonderful time at the event, Audrey! I love that billboard poetry idea and the photo. Congratulations on 1. getting published so many times and 2. realizing just how many times you’ve been published and 3. celebrating that fact. I hope you’ll share photos from the event on your blog for those who won’t be able to make it to Faribault. 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks, Kathleen. Perhaps I’ll have to hand the camera over to my husband. He’s pinched hit a few times and, in fact, took that pic of me with artist Connie Ludwig.

      I love that whole Roadside Poetry project too and do hope funding can be found to restart it. The Lake Region Writers Network is considering taking on the project.

      What I’d like to see are those 22 poems already in the Roadside Poetry Project archives circulated throughout the state, perhaps hung at art centers, libraries, bookstores, county fairs, etc. The venues are endless. The bottom part of the billboard signs, with the poem printed upon it, is separate from the actual billboard. Brilliant. Oh, the possibilities.

  7. artsynina Says:

    I want to find a way to attend!! Sounds like fun! *Nina puts her thinking cap on…

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You would be more than welcome and I’d love to meet you. But it is quite a drive from Glencoe to Faribault on a weekday evening. I’ve been practicing my poetry reading, because, well, I need to try and put myself at ease and practice helps. I’m counting on my co-presenter, Peter, to put me at ease. He’s much more comfortable with public speaking than me.

  8. Allyn McColley Says:

    Am currently at this presentation. You’re missing out if you’re not here!
    –Allyn M. McColley, Public Services Librarian, Buckham Memorial Library

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Allyn, thanks so much for inviting Peter and me to present this evening. I am humbled by the large turn-out and an audience genuinely interested in poetry. Peter and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

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