Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Connecting art & poetry at Crossings & I’m in February 7, 2014

CONNECTING ART AND POETRY enhances both.

Crossings at Carnegie, housed in a former Carnegie library, is a privately-owned cultural visual and performing arts center in Zumbrota. I love the rural atmosphere with the hardware story and grain elevator just down the street.

Crossings at Carnegie, housed in a former Carnegie library, is a privately-owned cultural, visual and performing arts center in Zumbrota. I love the rural atmosphere with the hardware story and grain elevator just down the street. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2012.

And I am pleased, for the second time, to have my poetry selected for inclusion in an annual poet-artist collaboration at Crossings at Carnegie in Zumbrota.

Lilacs, up close. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Lilacs, up close. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

A juried artist will create a work of art based on my poem, “Lilacs,” one of 26 poems chosen from among more than 200 submissions for inclusion in Poet Artist Collaboration XIII.

Lucky thirteen. I’ve written poetry long enough, though, to understand that winning has nothing to do with luck, but rather with skill. Writing poetry is hard work. But when you nail a poem, like I did with “Lilacs,” it’s worth every minute anguishing over a word or a line.

“It was exciting to receive the outpouring of exceptional work from so many talented poets for this collaboration,” writes Marie Garvin of Crossings in an email. “Jurists told us they (the poems) were a pleasure to read, and selecting those to be included was a difficult task.”

The poems paired with art will go on display in April, National Poetry Month, at the Zumbrota gallery and gift shop. Poets will read their poems and artists will briefly discuss their artwork during a reception set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 10.

Connie, right, and I posed for a photo after a 90-minute presentation in which poets read their poems and artists talked about how their art was inspired by the poem. Note Connie's "Pantry Jewels" painting just above my head to the left. If I could buy this $490 watercolor on aqua board, I would in a snap.

Connie Ludwig, right, and I pose for a photo after a 90-minute presentation in which poets read their poems and artists talked about how their art was inspired by the poem. Note Connie’s “Pantry Jewels” painting just above my head to the left. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2012.

Two years ago, my poem was selected for Poet Artist Collaboration XI. Goodhue artist Connie Ludwig created a watercolor, “Pantry Jewels,” inspired by my poem, “Her Treasure.” (You can read about that by clicking here.)

That earlier poem and “Lilacs” draw on childhood memories from my native southwestern Minnesota, a major influence in my writing.

Plenty of lilacs to gather in the spring.

Plenty of lilacs to gather in the spring. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

This marks the second time “Lilacs” has been recognized. This past summer, judges chose “Lilacs” as a Work of Merit in the 2013 Northwoods Art & Book Festival in Hackensack. Says Northwoods Arts Council Poetry Event Chair, poet and blogger Sue Ready “…we all see your work as creative and poetic that engages the reader.”

Sue is right. I always attempt to connect to the reader, whether through imagery, sensory words, emotions and more. Poetry should be an experience.

You can read “Lilacs” by clicking here.

I am grateful for this latest opportunity to share my poetry. And to have an artist find inspiration in my words and create a work of art pleases me even more.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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