Poetry Night: Riki Kölbl Nelson and Karen Herseth Wee
Content is pleased to host Northfield Women Poets Karen Herseth Wee and Riki Kölbl Nelson for the April edition of our Monthly Poetry Series in collaboration with Northfield's Poet Laureate.
Here's what Riki says about her work:
In my late teens I started writing poems in German, my native language, to create a private space for myself. A string of fortunate accidents followed and I ended up in College in North Carolina and then Graduate Schools. My poetry writing switched to English and became my first language for that endeavor. Eventually I ended up in Northfield where luckily I connected with Karen Herseth Wee, who also wrote poetry. We formed a poetry writing group, The Northfield Women Poets, which later became renamed Penchant and is still going strong. Over the years I have participated in the groups’s readings. On my own, I often read my poems at the openings of my own art exhibits, here and abroad. While my writing is included in the group’s four anthologies, I had my own bi-lingual volume, Borders/Grenzen published by Black Hat Press (founded by Beverly Voldseth) in 1991, and a chap book, The Fall Heart, as part of the group’s chapbook series, in 1992. I have taught writing classes in the Northfield Elder Collegium and at the Arts Guild. Some of them combined writing and drawing. Both poetry and visual art continue to be important to me in my striving to live an intentional life.
And Karen's artist statement:
I can't help but write, as far back as I can remember that has been so. I'm most at home amid the music of words, and with others who feel similarly. A few times writing has saved me. Like any visual artist I put on paper what I observe and what I've come to know. My work reflects my experience as a woman, spouse, parent, artist, and citizen, and includes the dailiness of life, with visions of transcendence, love, loss, brokenness, and finality in a beautiful world, but in an increasingly complex, transient, and alien society. I am lucky to have found and known Riki Kölbl Nelson all these Northfield & Penchant years!
Besides inclusion in all four Penchant anthologies, I am the author of The Book of Hearts, 1993 Minnesota Book Award finalist, poetry category; and Baksheesh, A Journey, narrative and poems as Associate Supervisor, St. Olaf College Global Semester, a 5-month study/travel course, 1986-87, and Before Language, a chapbook, 1992.