Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Support regional writing this Christmas via the gift of words December 6, 2012

WITH ALL THE “SHOP LOCAL” buzz this time of year, have you ever considered how that applies to the printed word?

Are you supporting local and regional authors, writers from within your state?

Allow me to show you two Minnesota publications that would make ideal Christmas gifts for anyone who appreciates regional based writing. Both feature collections of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry.

Lake Region Review, volume two, with cover art by  Charles Beck

Lake Region Review, volume two, with cover art by Charles Beck

Lake Region Review, a literary magazine centered in Battle Lake in the northwestern part of our state, showcases work by writers from Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas selected in a competitive process. This year 34 pieces were culled from some 430 submissions for publication in volume two.

In their introduction to this 160-page soft-cover book-style collection produced by the Lake Region Writers Network, co-editors Athena Kildegaard and Mark Vinz write in part:

Our aim in selecting writing for this issue is simply to look for the best writing that engages and enlightens through attention to language. In these pages you’ll find characters challenged by circumstances (and weather), poems charged with vitality (and weather), and essays that will provoke and move you.

How true. With topics like polio and Alzheimer’s, installing a satellite dish on a snowy rooftop and falling through the ice, unemployment and death, and even some stories—“Norwegian Love” and “Julebukking”—of Scandinavian influence, you are certain to find writing that entertains and evokes emotional reactions.

The writers themselves range from beginners to seasoned.

Visitors to the Kaddatz Galleries in downtown Fergus Falls peruse the art of Charles Beck.

Visitors to the Kaddatz Galleries in downtown Fergus Falls peruse the art of Charles Beck. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

A bonus to both volumes of Lake Region Review is the original regional-based cover art. This year’s cover features “Cardinals,” a wood print by well-known Minnesota artist Charles Beck of Fergus Falls.

Stephen Hennings painting on the cover of Lake Region Review, volume one.

Stephen Henning’s painting on the cover of Lake Region Review, volume one.

Last year a detail of an original landscape painting, “Christina Lake: View from Seven Sisters,” by nationally-renowned artist Stephen Henning of Evansville graced the cover of volume one.

Like Lake Region Review, The Talking Stick produced by the Jackpine Writer’s Bloc based in Menahga (near Park Rapids) offers a quality selection of works in a book-style collection.

The cover of The Talking Stick, Volume 21, Nightfall, also has a Minnesota bend with a stock photo of loons on a lake from iStockphoto.com.

The cover of The Talking Stick, Volume 21, Nightfall, also has a Minnesota bend with a stock photo of loons on a lake from iStockphoto.com.

According to the Jackpine website, “…we publish to encourage solid writing that shows promise, creativity and brilliance.”

Especially heavy in poetry (94 poems), volume 21 of this literary journal features 130 pieces (chosen from 278 submissions) by writers from Minnesota or with a Minnesota connection.

With titled works like “Bologna Sandwich,” “Memories of Duluth,” “And a Bier for Dad,” “January Snow,” “Iceout,” “Blueberry Woods Symphony,” and more, the Minnesota influence presses deep into the 192 pages of this volume, subtitled Nightfall.

Therein lies the beauty of buying local in the printed word: a strong regional imprint.

That local connection also ties into the financial support provided to these two literary collections. Otter Tail Power Company, an energy company servicing western Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas, provided “generous support” to Lake Region Review. And a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council with funding from the Minnesota Legislature financed, in part, volume 21 of The Talking Stick.

HAVE YOU PURCHASED/or will you buy local books or literary collections as Christmas gifts this year? If so, please share your recommendations.

FYI: To learn more about the two literary collections highlighted here and how to purchase them, click here for the Lake Region Review. Then click here for The Talking Stick.

Some of the writers published in Lake Region Review, volume two, will read from their works beginning at 2 p.m. this coming Sunday, December 9, at Zandbroz Variety, 420 Broadway Avenue, in downtown Fargo, N.D. (If only I was going to be in Fargo this weekend. But I will read some of my poetry beginning at 6:00 p.m. Thursday, December 6, in the Great Hall at Buckham Memorial Library, Faribault.)

Disclaimer: My work has been published in both volumes of Lake Region Review and in several volumes of The Talking Stick. However, I received no monetary compensation for that or for this review, nor was I asked to pen this post.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


18 Responses to “Support regional writing this Christmas via the gift of words”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    These look great!!! I am going to have the check them out!!! I need to do more “local flavor” shopping like this. We don’t do a lot of gift giving outside the immediate family but these would be a great addition to “my list”. Thanks for the ideas! Good luck at the reading tonight—-I am sure you will wow them!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      It really is fun to read writing from so many “regional” writers combined in these collections. I know some of the writers, but most I do not. The competition, especially in Lake Region Review, is very competitive. And even in The Talking Stick. These editors invest a vast amount of time pulling these literary publications together. Their passion for the craft of writing is incredible and I am grateful for the opportunities they present to writers like me. These collections are true treasures of regional writing.

      Thanks for the well wishes for this evening. Toss in an extra prayer for me today, will you? I plan on “rehearsing” again today.

  2. Sheryl Says:

    Thanks for the reminder to “shop local” with the printed word. I happened upon your blog at the perfect time. I’m just about ready to begin my holiday shopping, and am going to check out some of the regional writers.

  3. Clyde of Mankato Says:

    Love Talking Stick, especially since it comes from Menahga. My very earliest years were in Sebeka, just south of Menagha. An area that has Wadena, Sebeka, and Menahga in a row should produce poetry.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I am not familiar with that area, but hope to make it someday to The Talking Stick book release party.

      Am I to assume that you were a teacher or a journalist or? Something in the field of writing, surely.

      • Clyde of Mankato Says:

        If you go to this page you can read in detail about my career. It is the About page for my blog about my novel.
        Briefly, I taught high school English, Journalism, and speech; was a Lutheran licensed lay pastor for 11 years; was an educational publisher, writer, trainer, and consultant for 17 years.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        I subscribe to your blog. Why did I not read your “About” page? Who knows? You have quite an impressive resume.

      • Clyde of Mankato Says:

        I have two blogs, the older one Birchwoodhill, just a general blog. The second one is Beneathaquiltedsky, which I am just starting about my novel. The About is on the novel one. I think you subscribe to the other. See, you are not inobservant. I am just confusing.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Alright then, I’ve got it straight now. I need to subscribe to your book blog also.

  4. Jackie Says:

    I purchased “visiting the visitors” for my grandkids (thanks to your previous post) Looks like a lovely book and I cant wait for them to get it 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Wonderful to hear, Jackie. I expect Visiting the Visitors by Patrick Mader will become a Christmas reading tradition for your family.

  5. hotlyspiced Says:

    It’s so important to support local artists and writers. They toil for years living off the smell of an oily rag. Good on you for bringing great publicity to these locals. And I’m so pleased you’ve managed a family photo to send out with your Christmas cards. Isn’t it an effort to bring everyone together! xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I try to support local artists and writers as much as I can. I grew up without much exposure to the arts and I so value the access I have now to local arts.

      As for the Christmas photo, everyone was home for our son’s high school graduation in June and the oldest daughter’s boyfriend took our family photo. I wasn’t thinking Christmas cards at the time, just that, hey, we are all here, together, we need a photo.

  6. Jeanne Everhart Says:

    Audrey, you are so right that it is important to support local writers. I have a poem in this years talking stick and have been published there in the past. Both books have good reading and make nice gifts. Congratulations, I have enjoyed your published pieces, and also your articles in Minnesota Moments.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Jeanne. I just pulled out the latest volume of The Talking Stick to read your poem, “Ice Talk.” Excellent poem and so appropriate for this time of year. Congratulations to you also. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my writing. I know we’ve connected before and I can’t quite remember how or when, but something related to Minnesota Moments, I’m quite certain.

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