Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Celebrating an evening of poetry & art in small town Minnesota May 11, 2014

Crossings at Carnegie in Zumbrota.

Guests arrive at Crossings at Carnegie in Zumbrota on Saturday evening.

POETS AND ARTISTS, family and friends arrived from nearby Rochester, as far away as Fargo, and from within a few blocks of Crossings at Carnegie in Zumbrota Saturday evening.

The published collection of poems and art with cover art, "Li Bai at the South Fork," a pastel by Mike Schad, created for last year's collab. Also featured is a line from the poem (with the same name) by Justin Watkins.

The published collection of poems and art with cover art, “Li Bai at the South Fork,” a pastel by Mike Schad, created for last year’s collab. Also featured is a line from the poem (with the same name) by Justin Watkins.

They came to celebrate the pairing of art and poetry in the Poet-Artist Collaboration XIII.

My poem, "Lilacs," which was selected as a "Work of Merit" at the 2013 Northwoods Art and Book Festival in Hackensack.

My poem, “Lilacs,” which was selected as a “Work of Merit” at the 2013 Northwoods Art and Book Festival in Hackensack, and now displayed at Crossings at Carnegie as part of the Poet-Artist Collaboration XIII.

Jeanne Licari's absolutely stunning interpretation of my poem. Her "Lilacs on the Table" is oil on mounted linen.

Jeanne Licari’s absolutely stunning interpretation of my poem. Her “Lilacs on the Table” is oil on mounted linen.

Me on the left with "my" artist, Jeanne Licari.

Me on the left with “my” artist, Jeanne Licari.

I was there to read “Lilacs,” and to meet my artist, Jeanne Licari of Rochester, who created “Lilacs on the Table,” a still life oil on linen inspired by my poetry.

It was shoulder to shoulder people at the poet and artist reception.

It was shoulder to shoulder people at the poet and artist reception. Poems and paired art are featured in the alcoves along the wall. Twenty-six poems and paired art are included in the exhibit.

What a delightful evening, mingling in this privately-owned small town arts center crammed with art and art appreciators.

Inside the historic State Theatre, artists and poet presented to a nearly full house.

Inside the historic State Theatre, artists and poets presented to a sizable crowd.

After we’d wined and nibbled, chatted and admired, we gathered in the next door historic State Theatre for 90 minutes of poetry readings and artist and poet talk.

From an abstract oil and acrylic on canvas to a watercolor of a Honeysuckle, to pastels, mixed media and even an oil on canvas of a 57 Chevy framed by barbed wire and fence posts, a plethora of art flashed onto the big screen in the darkened theatre.

As I listened to my fellow poets and these artists, I sensed, more than anything, a deep passion among all of us for the art of creating. That passion flowed in carefully crafted poems—lines of words that spoke of love and of memories, of cranes and of spiders, of storms and more. That passion flowed, too, in paint stroked upon canvas, in stitching and ink and the softness of watercolors.

To be a part of this event, in the company of such talent, truly inspires.

Leaving Crossings at Carnegie, I snapped this image of the former Carnegie library.

Leaving Crossings at Carnegie, I snapped this image of the former Carnegie library.

FYI: The Poet-Artist Collaboration XIII exhibit continues through this Thursday, May 15, at Crossings at Carnegie, 320 East Avenue, Zumbrota. The artwork is available for purchase.

Click here to read how my poem inspired artist Jeanne Licari.

And click here to read how my poem, “Her Treasure,” inspired artist Connie Ludwig of Goodhue in the Poet-Artist Collaboration XI.

Check back for a follow-up post on another reason Saturday evening’s celebration was a memorable one for me.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling