Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Celebrating National Poetry Month with a give-away April 15, 2015

WHAT IS POETRY if not a connection to a person, place, thing, emotion, event or time?

Poetry is rhythm and music, a poet’s voice versing words.

It’s love of language. It’s thoughts flowing from brain through fingers to keyboard onto screen. It’s words rolling off the tongue, pleasing the ear.

Strong verbs. Cohesiveness. Tight writing.

Poetry pushes the writer to write with conciseness. Sparse. Choose each word with care. Delete those words that don’t belong. Banish the cliché. Write. Set aside. Edit. Edit some more until you finally call it done.

Then dare to put your poetry out there.


In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, I am giving away an autographed copy of 2015 Poetic Strokes & Word Flow, A Regional Anthology of Poetry from Southeastern Minnesota. This collection includes 55 poems by poets from 10 southeastern Minnesota counties. Two are mine: “Wednesday Night Bingo at the Legion” and “Class Reunion.”

Southeastern Libraries Cooperating sponsors this annual competition and publication of this two-part anthology. The first section, Poetic Strokes, features winning poems from adult writers in the SELCO region, this year 30 poems by 27 poets. Word Flow is a competition for writers ages 14-18, with 25 poems from 25 young poets published in the 2015 anthology.

Poetic Strokes 2015 Publication Cover


Submit a comment on this post naming your favorite poet and why you chose this poet. I will then randomly select one winner from all qualifying entries. The winner’s name will be posted here next week with instructions on how to claim the prize.

Entry deadline is Sunday, April 19. Only individuals living in the U.S. are eligible to enter.


EVEN IF YOU DON’T WIN, you can still get your hands on this anthology. Copies of Poetic Strokes & Word Flow are available for check-out from all 37 public libraries in the SELCO system. Minnesotans who live outside this library region can borrow a copy through the statewide interlibrary loan system, MnLINK. 

Click here to read my poem, “Wednesday Night Bingo at the Legion.”

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


24 Responses to “Celebrating National Poetry Month with a give-away”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    My favorite poet of all time has to be Robert Frost. Growing up we memorized many of his poems for recitation but of course my favorite was Stopping By Woods on Snowy Evening. Kind of appropriate for Iowa life, don’t you think? What a great giveaway—you are very generous.

    • Robert Frost is a favorite of mine, too, although Emily Dickinson is a poet whose writing I’ve always liked.

      As for the give-away, I received some complimentary copies of Poetic Strokes from SELCO and thought one should go to a Minnesota Prairie Roots reader. Thank you for entering.

    • When my parents graduated from college (Syracuse) Robert Frost was their commencement speaker! For once a memorable speaker!

      • Oh, my goodness, how exciting that would be. Sure beats the politician who spoke at my daughter’s graduation from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse, a few years back. I felt like I was at a get-out-the-vote rally. It was horrible and I nearly walked out of that auditorium.

  2. Kevin K. Says:

    ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.
    -Lewis Carroll

    It pretty much says it all.

  3. Phil Lundin Says:

    My favorite poet is Donald Justice, simply because he wrote “Poem to be read at 3am”.

  4. treadlemusic Says:

    Remembering back to high school lit. days and teachers who didn’t seem to “connect” with me when trying to impart some minimal level of poetic appreciation, brings me to your desired request. Until I began reading your post I had bypassed most all poetry (do greeting cards count??? Ugh!) so I will state, most adamantly, that your poetry (and that of others you have shared) has come to mean the most to me. Has “age”/maturity had its impact???? Probably. I’ll leave it at that!
    Are you involved in the upcoming “Crossings” event????? Just curious. Hugs….

    • You surprise me. I would have thought you would be a poetry reader given your artistic bend. But, I understand. It’s not for everyone. And I only like poetry that I can understand.

      Thank you for naming me as your favorite poet. I am humbled.

      No, my poetry didn’t make it into the collab at Crossings this year. I will, however, be reading “Wednesday Night Bingo at the Legion” at a SELCO Poetry Bash in Rochester on April 28. It’s an “invitation only” event. But if you want to attend, I may be able to sneak you in yet as a guest. I would need to check as I already RSVPed.

  5. A hypothetical question: If I say that YOU are my favorite poet does that give me an edge? Just wondering. But a very close second to you is Longfellow, or H.W., to me and his nearest and dearest friends. I loved the flow and descriptiveness of his poems. .. “Under the spreading chestnut tree…” etc.

  6. I think my favorite poet is is William Carlos Williams, because I like short and to the point and I love his images and purity of words. I’m a fan of certain of Sylvia Plath’s poems, too…but I have to be in a dark mood to read them! (Either that or she PUTS me in s dark mood!)

  7. Miranda Says:

    I’m not sure I qualify to enter the drawing, but, without a doubt, Pablo Neruda (from Chile) is one of the best poets. I especially like his “Odes to Common Things” bc he takes something ordinary and turns it into something extraordinary. I suggest checking out “Ode to the Atom” and “Ode to My Suit”.

  8. Sheila K. Says:

    This is by our Portland daughter, Laura Kreger. Although not published, “Hiccups” is on this youtube link:

    She wrote and read it as a Call to Worship for a lenten service at her church, Imago Dei, Portland, OR. She didn’t do the pictures part; that was done by others at her church.

  9. Sue Ready Says:

    My favorite poet is Billy Collins.
    His poems appeal to a wide range of literary tastes. He is a master at capturing the nuances of everyday life and inspiring readers to wonder and think about the simple things in their lives. Often Collins’ wry sense of humor comes across in the poems. He does not take himself too seriously. Collins is a master at engaging his reader in the first stanza by starting small not making too many demands and setting up the scene. Then he makes the poem more complicated and a little more demanding as he moves it along to completion. Each line is simply stated but layered in meaning.

  10. Thread crazy Says:

    Aww, yes, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost…always a favorite. There’s lots of great poets but do remember Frost’s poems so vividly.

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