Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

My poem included in collection vying for Minnesota writing award September 23, 2020


Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


WE ARE SIXTEEN STRONG, 16 area poets whose collected poetry, Legacies: Poetic Living Wills, is now a finalist in the 2020 Minnesota Authors Project: Communities Create contest.

I learned of this honor only recently via Northfield Poet Laureate Rob Hardy. A gifted poet and tireless promoter of poets and poetry, he submitted the collection to the debut contest sponsored by the Minnesota Library Foundation, Minnesota libraries and Bibliolabs.

According to the MN Reads MN Writes website, the new contest is designed “to recognize community-created writing and to highlight the central role that libraries play in providing support for local authors and the communities they serve.”

I crafted my poem, “Life at Forty Degrees,” in response to Hardy’s 2018 call for submissions to an anthology of “poetic living wills.”

The content of the poetry collections is summarized as “poems (that) deal with death and dying, with the things that make life meaningful in the face of death, and with the legacies that the poets hope to leave behind or have received from others before them.” My poem, about hanging laundry on the clothesline, focuses on the legacy passed on to me by my grandmothers.

You can read the collection by clicking here.

The winner of the first-ever Minnesota Authors Project: Communities Create contest will be announced later this month at the annual Minnesota Library Association’s annual conference. No matter the outcome, I feel honored to stand in the “finalist” category with 15 other gifted poets from Northfield and nearby (like me from Faribault).

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


16 Responses to “My poem included in collection vying for Minnesota writing award”

  1. lisasimons12 Says:

    Good luck!

  2. WISHING YOU the BEST – GOOD LUCK!!! How exciting – jumping in my seat – ha! Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  3. BERNADETTE Thomasy Says:

    Congratulations, Audrey. I definitely identify with your poem. Many of the current generations have never hung laundry outdoors, but your poem preserves the details of a task I remember growing up. The poetic connections to your ancestors and reflections on life in general are spot on.

    How great to be part of this creative group of writers!

    • As I type this reply, laundry hangs on the line. Months and months and months pass without me using my dryer. I love hanging laundry– being outdoors, continuing a tradition/way of life passed through the generations.

      I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat that Minnesota is home to many talented writers. And, since you grew up here, that includes you.

  4. valeriebollinger Says:

    How exciting…I hope you all win the writing award.
    I liked your poem, and I like the fact that you continue to hang laundry outside!

  5. As a fellow clothesline user, whose mom and grandmoms hung clothes out as well, I love love love your poem. You are so gifted in your words and photo’s. Good luck!

  6. JanBeek Says:

    Congratulations, Audrey! I think it is quite an honor to be included in the collection and to be nominated for the award. I love your poem – the rhythm, the sentiment, the analogy of the clothesline and the hands. “I write with these hands. Of life in prose and poetry.” Indeed you do, and your prose and poetry are beautiful. They will live on long after you have hung your last shirt on the line!

  7. So excited for you!! Congratulations! ❤

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