Winona Poetry Walk to launch Oct. 30

Stroll and be inspired.

The Winona Fine Arts Commission and the City of Winona are pleased to announce the official installation of the Winona Poetry Walk. A free launching ceremony will be held Friday, October 30 at 5:30 p.m., outside of Blooming Grounds, 50 East Third Street. The Winona Poetry Walk project consists of original poetry stamped into sidewalk throughout downtown on 3rd, 4th, and 5th streets. The mission of the WINONA Poetry Walk is to celebrate local writers, make the creativity of our residents more visible, and aesthetically and intellectually enrich our city.

The FAC requested submissions of original short poems (or parts of poems) and received a variety of responses. The first nine poems were selected: Jerome Christenson, Chris Kendall, Lorraine Kilmartin, Steve Leonhardt, and the five former poet laureates of Winona were included. Works from the past three Winona Poet Laureates, James Armstrong, Ken McCullough, Emilio DeGrazia and the associate Poet Laureate, Nicholle Ramsey and as previously announced, the Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Suptern were also selected. The selections were judged by a panel of local citizens with expertise in the arts and poetry chosen by the Fine Arts Commission. 

A full map and brochure will be available at the Winona Visitor Center, key downtown businesses, City Hall in the Park and Recreation Department, and online at the City of Winona website to be used to as a map and guide as you traverse. The font for the Poetry Walk was designed by Winona State University Art and Design majors from Danilo Bojic’s typography class and is based on aesthetic inspiration taken from various landmarks in Winona. The student designers were Ellen Klismith, Morgan Sumter, Elizabeth Pierce, and Makenna Meyers.

In addition to these downtown locations, Winona residents have the opportunity to have their contractor borrow a poetry stamp and place a poem in the sidewalk outside their residence.

Poems Selected:

By Jerome Christenson
January morning
Blinding blue.
Glittering whiteness.
A black throat chickadee
in pursuit of a seed.

By Chris Kendall
When swans fly at night
Over the river town
City lights bounce back
Off their snowy down
A ghostly vee
Points downstream
Riding the north wind
A traveling team
Night swans

By Lorraine Kilmartin
Waltz. Stand on daddy’s wingtips.
Bobble in the wheelbarrow he pushes.
Surf hats, perched on his shoulders.
Fly solo: he let go of the bike.
Talk Dylan, protests, luna moths…
Cross at the light: so slow, so slow.
Nudge his wheelchair over the sill.
Kiss him goodnight, same as always

By Steve Leonhardt
Whatever burden you carry
May your steps spring light and easy
May you savor all the journey
May you feel at home
Even before you arrive

From the Poet Laureates

Minnesota Poet Laureate- Joyce Sutphen
My father chose his words the way he
plowed a field: straight ahead from
one thought to another, rhyme
falling into rhyme behind the pull
a furrow makes, steady along
the progress of sounds turned over
each other, all the way to
the ending of the line.

By James Armstrong
What’s under you?
Layers of inhuman heartache, the
butterfly strata;
the basement that understands us,
on which the world pours
the unction of its tears
until they become a fragile mirror
moving with the breath of the wind.

By Emilio DeGrazia
Girl, nine years of wonder
On her face, sits on third,
Running her fingers
Along the wrinkles
Of my old leather mitt.
It’s last of the ninth,
And everywhere
In the world
The bases are loaded.

By Ken McCullough
I love these days of white space,
empty pages waiting. For anything.
For footprints the wind heals over,
for owls, hooting po-popopourri
then sweeping up the place. Sloped
shoulders of the barn are solid white.
The ponies have long white beards.
And the shadows are empty.

By Nicholle Ramsey
we said goodbye like hello.
like kayak concerts floating
in sound and sun.
we said goodbye like thank you.
this is where we learned
to mourn, to bloom
where we learned spring will come

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