Friday, April 1, 2016

Spotlight on Laura Hansen and Poetry

You will never be alone
with a poet in your pocket.
John Adams, Second U.S. President
April is Poetry Month
Every April, on Poem in Your Pocket Day, people celebrate by selecting their favorite poems and carrying copies with them, sharing it with others throughout the day at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, and on Twitter using the hashtag #pocketpoem. 
Poem in Your Pocket Day was originally initiated in 2002 by the Office of the Mayor, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education, as part of the city’s National Poetry Month celebration. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets made the initiative national, encouraging individuals across the country to join in and channel their inner bard
Poem in Your Pocket Day 2016 will be held on April 21. 
Laura Hansen, a poet from Little Falls, MN, shares her poem with you.
Strange and Beautiful Gifts
The sky howled down
and threw out its lightning fists
and struck the tree
at its crown.
Limbs were severed;
the tree was seared at its core.
Bark exploded into shards
and fell to the ground
like a maelstrom of javelins.

Weeks later she collected them;
cradled them in her arms
as if they were the last
harvest of the season.
She brought them inside
the little cabin
and tended to them.

Now as winter sets it eyes
on the ragged ground
where the tree once stood
she begins to visit neighbors
and friends, gifting them
with small bundles
of the dried and shaggy bark.

It is all she can do
to extend the life of what was taken,
trusting those who receive
to spread the ashes
as it were, to make of them
their own creation.

This photo shows a mosaic triptych made by Laura from shards of bark from a lightning-struck tree.
Laura Hansen is the winner of the 2015 Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition. Her winning book, “Midnight River”, will be published by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) in 2016. Hansen will be invited to read from her work at the 2016 convention of the NFSPS, which will be held in St. Paul, MN June 9-13.
Hansen, a member of the League of Minnesota Poets, is a regular contributor to regional magazines and literary journals and has self-published three chapbooks. Her poetry has been featured on Lakeland Public Television and Northern Community Radio. She has been published in a number of anthologies including Fog and Woodsmoke (Lost Hills Books) and The Heart of All That Is (Holy Cow Press).

Laura, a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, owned and operated Bookin' It Bookstore for 21 years in Little Falls. MN. She is the creative force behind The Great River Writers. Laura has served on the boards of Great River Arts and The Five Wings Arts Council. She has also served as poetry judge for the Brainerd Writers Alliance, The Talking Stick Literary Journal, NFSPS, and an essay contest judge for Central Lakes College.
by Sue Ready

This article was included in the April 2016 issue of Area Lakes Living Brainerd, MN

1 comment:

  1. This is so exciting for Laura. Congratulations!

    Wonderful article, Sue.