Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In Northfield: Have a beer, hear a poem September 28, 2017

The patio outside Imminent Brewing Company in Northfield, Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo July 2017.


I’VE READ MY POETRY ALOUD in an historic theatre, a church, an art gallery, a lake cabin, a library, a civic center meeting room, a golf club and outdoors next to a history center and in a town square. But I’ve never read at a brewery. That will change on Saturday when I participate in the Beer Poetry Contest at Imminent Brewing as part of Northfield Poetry Festival 2017.


A flight at Turtle Stack Brewery in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


I’m excited to read at this new venue on a subject—beer—I’ve not covered in past poems. I wondered if I was up to the writing challenge given my limited beer knowledge. Sure, I like craft beer and enjoy checking out craft breweries. But could I craft a poem about beer?


Taps at F-Town Brewing in Faribault, Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


Once I sat down at the computer, words flowed like beer from a tap into a poem that is my signature down-to-earth style. And, no, I can’t pour my beer poem onto these pages. My poem releases Saturday at Imminent Brewing in downtown Northfield. And, yes, there are prizes on the line, including a growler of beer, for the winning poets selected by brewery patrons.



I love how Northfield embraces poetry from poems imprinted in sidewalks to the naming of Rob Hardy as the city’s Poet Laureate to this Poetry Festival. Prior to the brewery poetry readings (which include an open mic), area poets will read and sign books at 10:30 a.m. at Content Bookstore. And then at 1 p.m., the Northfield Public Library hosts a Youth Poetry Reading and Performance.

Youth between the ages of 18 – 20 can also participate in the 2017 Sidewalk Poetry Scavenger Hunt with a 1 p.m. Saturday, September 30, contest deadline. Click here for details.


Shipwreckt Books Publishing published Northfield Poet Laureate Rob Hardy’s collection this year.


Even if you think you hate poetry—and I realize plenty of people still consider poetry stuffy stuff written by intellectuals who can’t relate to the common man/woman—I’d encourage you to approach poetry with an open mind. Poetry has, in many ways, changed. Not the basics of good tight writing that emerge from a poet’s soul. But the accessibility of it. You can find a poet you like, words with which you can connect. Words that move you, make you laugh, make you think, make you cry. Even in your beer.


FYI: Join me, other poets, craft beer lovers and my husband for an open mic poetry reading from 4 – 6 p.m. Saturday, September 30, at Imminent Brewing, 519 Division Street, South Unit 2, Northfield. Cheers. Please drink responsibly.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


18 Responses to “In Northfield: Have a beer, hear a poem”

  1. Go Grandma Says:

    Best wishes to you – sounds like fun venue for sure. Do you publish your poetry somewhere else? And yes, poetry has changed. My son calls his “rhyming”. It’s a cross between a rap and a poem. His young(ish) thoughts are quite profound in this style.

    • I’m happy to hear your son is writing in a style all his own. Continue to encourage him.

      My poems have been printed in Minnesota-published anthologies, literary journals, on signs and billboards, in magazines and more. See my “About” page on my blog for more specific info, noting that I haven’t updated it recently. Also, I just typed “poetry” into my blog search engine. If you click on this link, you can see some of my poems:


      Current and past volumes of The Talking Stick anthology, in which my writing (not just poetry) has been published, are available for purchase at this link:


  2. Beth Ann Says:

    What a fun venue for sharing poetry. There was some creative thinking involved in this contest for sure. Congrats and good luck!!! Cheers!

  3. My type of place for sure Audrey. Good Luck, brewing up a “stout” poem should be a “barrel” of fun.. So HOP(S) too it!!

  4. Bernadette Says:

    Audrey, I love how you are always up for a new challenge. You’re inspirational and so is your writing.

  5. Valerie Says:

    I’m glad to hear about this from you Audrey. I live in Northfield and had no idea this was happening!
    I hope we can get down to Imminent between 4-6 to hear some poetry.

  6. Jackie Says:

    Well this sounds fun, I look forward to seeing this poem you speak if. Have fun!

  7. Patrick L. Coleman Says:

    Donna and I will be down there in the morning. Look for us.

    Patrick Coleman

  8. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Craft beer and crafted poems. Sounds like a good mix

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