See our poems in the sidewalks at Riverfront Park, in the sidewalks in Old Towne Mankato and on the poetry signs in the Mankato and North Mankato parks and trails.

Hear some of our poets reading their poems by calling 507-403-4038 and selecting stops 401 to 441. The stop numbers are for each of the poetry signs on the trails.

Every so often, we challenge one another for a little poetry fun.

At the Blizzard Poetry Retreat (January, 2008) we did a collaborative poetry exercise – everyone was asked to write a few lines about a place and then pass those lines to the person next to them – that person added to the poem and passed it on to be added to again.  Each poet was only given a few minutes to write.  Below are a few of the results.

Steps, more steps, large blocks

multiplying until my knees

protest the torturous climb

but ahhh!  The view over Florence amazes…

Red tiled roofs over

whitewashed walls

fit like magic tiles

receding to the horizon.

To stay here forever

surveying the roofs and walls

would be…



Sticking to the skin, the humid air

draws our minds away from langquid palms

that line the streets we only see

in visiting a southern state for conference

The sweating plams of northern poets

held hostage by the heat,

clasp together in silent prayer

for cooler air conditioned atmosphere.

Like the shirt adhered to my back,

my words grip me and shift and cling.

Why do they protest their birth?

I sit, stinky and dumb with writer’s block.


Sunset’s glow lights the Big Cobb River

turning the snow to fire and shadows to ash

The wizened trees raise their arms

black and frail against an orange sky.

and a group of friends,

relatives in spirit if not in blood,

bemoan the too soon come end of a lovely day.



I stand on a rocky cliff

15 feet above Lake Superior

listening to water

murmur with the waves,

lapping the stones below

sliding off them silently

as the loon floats with baby

contentedly on her back

in the rise and fall

rise and fall

a haunting lullaby of the North.


I have been to Austria

Saw where “sound of music” was made

patted heads of trolls

and strolled through formal gardens.

I have been to Mexico

Saw the ocean and played in waves

Patted heads of dogs

and shopped in open markets.

I have been to Oregon

Waded in waves that wafted from Japan

Walked till my feed were sore

from plane to plane

that magicked me from place to other place.


The children beside the river

caress blood-red jasper and hematite.

But the stones remain silent

as if they did not care

whether the children have

anything to tell them

or anything to say to each other.


Bells attached to a horse collar

Jingle a tunless song

as the dust barely rises

fro the road trod over for ages.

This is the way to somewhere forgotten

where once strangers were welcome


This is the sound and trust

there will be a warm bed and hay

and hot stew for you – even

if home is miles behind.


Sunlight filters

over a sold, round rock

reflecting off waves

that jig across

memory of lake

the glaciers scraped away

to set it here.

My newness sets me apart

from history both

cold and warm,

I look toward far shore,

a coastline blurred by



Mississippi headwaters

I waded across last summer

bypassing the log the weak of heart used

that spanned the birthing stream

The father of all waters in his infancy

tugging at my ankles, pulling about my knees

and I feel tempted to let go

let it take me far away

or deep down under.



Recently, Derek challenged us to, in only 90 seconds, write a little haiku about…tuna. These were the fun results:

Flashes of silver
Fled in search of cooler seas
Now what will we eat
–Jana Bouma

Craving lunchbox love
I slowly open the lid
Fish smell breaks my heart
–Yvonne Cariveau

Schools of silver fish
Flash through ocean depths,
tuna Becomes silver cans.
–Marlys Neufeld