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

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24 Responses to “Celebrating an evening of poetry & art in small town Minnesota”

  1. hotlyspiced Says:

    I’m pleased to see the snow has melted! What a terrific evening and how lovely to have your poem on the wall for all to see. I love the painting of the lilacs – gorgeous! Congratulations on a great event xx

  2. Marilyn Says:

    It sounds like the evening was an absolutely delightful time. Did you read your own poetry? I like to read my own and think I do a better job at reading it aloud than anyone else, but I know that isn’t true for all poets/readers. I think of Robert Frost’s attempted reading at JFK’s presidential inauguration as an example. [I just googled ‘kennedy inauguration’ and read, but didn’t realise at the time, the reason for Frost’s poor reading was because of the glare of the sun. Richard Nixon even got up and shaded his paper with his top hat, but it didn’t help on the day.]

  3. Jackie Says:

    Sounds like a great evening, You look wonderful!

  4. treadlemusic Says:

    Takes me back to that evening!!!! Fun!!!!!

  5. […] Many things were special about the evening but this one will have a very special spot in my memory. Her DH came along as well (great to meet you, also, Randy!!!), so the guys had opportunity to visit over a glass of wine! Well done, dear “bloggy friend”!!!!!! And hugs……………………….         FYI: To read Audrey’s “take” on the evening, please, go here. […]

  6. Beth Ann Says:

    What a lovely post and I am so glad you were able to meet the artist and have such a lovely evening. You deserve it. Of anyone that I know–you are the one who works so hard at writing wonderful poetry that touches the hearts of many. So happy that you got recognized for this achievement. Also happy for the other reason the night was memorable for you. 🙂

  7. Jeanne Says:

    It was so nice to meet you and your husband at the reception for the Poet Artist Collaboration! I feel that it is such an honor to be accepted into the show. For both poets and artists alike, the show is a validation for many unseen hours of work involved in creating a piece of art. I was going to read what I wrote as my artist statement in the published book, but, as public speaking isn’t my forte, I forgot to do it when we were up in front!

    • You may have noticed that I didn’t say much either, besides reading my poem. I wanted to publicly thank you when I got up in front of everyone. But, of course, because public speaking is also not my forte, I failed to do so. So thank you for creating a beautiful work of art from my poem.

      I agree that being selected for this show is an honor. We are in the company of mighty fine artists and writers.

      • Jeanne Says:

        Glad to hear that someone else is shy in front of a crowd! Here is my artist response:
        “The first line of the poem got me! I grew up in the country with lilacs in our back yard, and we had many bouquets on our Formica table. This poem speaks to different facets of love, the hard work of farming, and the ability of flowers to transcend it all, becoming a gift for the senses and a memory forever. Even though there were many other images and feelings in the poem I could have focused on, I chose to go right to what triggered my memories: the fragrant purple blooms.”

        Thank you for a beautiful poem, Audrey!
        Jeanne Licari

      • Oh, there are more than a few of us. I’ve actually gotten a lot better at reading before a crowd as I’ve done this a few times now, at Crossings and elsewhere. The more I do it, the easier it becomes. Yet, public speaking/reading will never be something with which I am totally comfortable.

        Thanks for sharing your artist response here, Jeanne.

  8. DeLores Says:

    How exciting for you, Audrey! You must feel a great sense of accomplishment for the
    work you have done. Keep writing!!

    DeLores

  9. Your poem is wonderful. As I read it, I could picture the lilacs and see them held in someone’s arms. You are a gifted poet, Audrey.

  10. Sue Ready Says:

    What a honor to have your poem selected to be an inspiration for a piece of art. Can you follow up in another posting to tell readers after May 15th are the works of art for sale or put on a permanent display?.
    Congratulations Audrey!!!,

    • Thanks, Sue. And this poem started with winning a “Work of Merit” award at the Northwoods Art and Book Festival that you coordinate.

      Yes, the works of art are for sale. I’ll check on the permanent display part.


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