“WE HAVE A WINNER!”—last sentence in the poem “Wednesday Night Bingo at The Legion.”
Two, to be accurate.
My poem, “The Farmer’s Wife, Circa 1960,” was published in the 2014 Poetic Strokes. The “WORDFLOW” part of the anthology features selected poems by youth. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.
The two poems I submitted to the 2015 Southeastern Libraries Cooperating poetry competition have been selected for publication in Poetic Strokes. It’s always an honor to have my work chosen in a competition that solicits entries from 11 southeastern Minnesota counties. In recent years, about 200 poems were submitted annually with 23 – 32 selected for publication. I don’t have stats yet for 2015.
This year I penned the winning “Wednesday Night Bingo at The Legion” and “Class Reunion.”
Three published poets considered mechanics, tone, accessibility, content and creativity in double-blind judging the entries.
So how did I come up with these poems?
My winning photo of bingo callers at the 2013 Trinity North Morristown Fourth of July celebration. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2013.
I’ve had bingo on the brain. Last summer I earned first place in a national photo contest with an image of two bingo callers. Within the past year, my mom moved into a long-term care facility where bingo seems to be the most common activity. I hear the latest bingo updates from her during our weekly Sunday evening phone conversations. My middle brother and his wife rave about bingo at The American Legion in Lamberton. And a month ago I purchased a bingo set so we can play the game at family gatherings.
Bingo balls at a Minnesota church festival. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.
Tapping into all of those bingo-related references, I wrote “Wednesday Night Bingo at The Legion.” I focused on the setting, the bingo caller, the anticipation, the thrill of winning. It worked. I won.
Photo booth images from my class reunion.
In writing “Class Reunion,” I remembered my 40th high school class reunion held last September. That reunion proved particularly memorable given a photo booth was rented for the evening. I used that as the focal point in my poem.
My poetry is sometimes personally introspective, as in “Class Reunion.”
Sometimes, though, I write more like a creative historian or journalist. I feature a snippet of time, perhaps a glimpse of a place, a shadow of a tradition. I condense a moment, pack it with a punch of words.
Perhaps you write poetry. Perhaps you read poetry. Perhaps you would rather avoid poetry all together.
As a seasoned poet, I embrace this form of writing with a passion. To craft a poem is to dance with words. Sometimes my writing glides like a waltz. Other times I dip and twist in a tango of ideas. There are moments when I swing into a square dance rhythm, words linking together in perfect step. Occasionally I slump into a funk, unable to move, simply listening to jazzy blues.
But when it all comes together, oh, my, the dance is flawless, or as near flawless as I can perfect.
IF YOU WRITE POETRY or simply read it, share your thoughts on the genre. What ignites your creativity? How do you view poetry? Add anything you wish to share on the topic.
P.S. I hope to share my winning poems at a later date. The anthology publishes at the end of March.
For now, if you wish to read one of my published poems, click here. This post will also give you more insight into my poetry writing.
© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling