CAMBRIA - Minnesota's poetry scene was on full display Sunday at Morgan Creek Vineyards near Cambria during the 7th Annual Cambria Eisteddfod poetry festival.
The outdoor event drew approximately 50 people, who sipped Morgan Creek wines while sitting on the grass or in chairs under the shadow of the massive oak tree located behind the stage. The Welsh and Celtic-themed fundraiser for the Blue Earth Historical Society (BECHS) showcased the top five finalist poets from around the state. Three judges with poetry experience, including the 2011 Cambria Eisteddfod winner Margaret Hasse, judged the contestants and determined a winning poem. This year's theme was the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862.
Morgan Creek Vineyards co-owner Paula Marti said the focus of this year's poems brought a somber tone to the event.
Staff photo by Josh?Moniz
League of Minnesota Poets Poet Laureate Emeritus John Rezmerski holds a sword over poetry contest winner Teresa Whitman at the Cambria Eisteddfod event held Sunday at Morgan Creek Vineyards and Winery. The sword is part of the ‘chairing’ ceremony held for the winner of the contest.
"We don't really have any poems about [the conflict]," said Marti, "There was some very powerful imagery in the poems this year."
This year's winner was Teresa Whitman, a St. Paul resident and former Mankato resident. She said she was overwhelmed by being selected, noting it was one of the most unique poetry events she had ever participated in.
Her trophy was a hand-carved oak Bardic Chair. Her award ceremony consisted of the Celtic tradition of "chairing," which involved the audience shouting they were at peace with the decision and League of Minnesota Poets Poet Laureate Emeritus John Rezmerski holding a sword over Whitman's head like a knighting ceremony.
Because Whitman was the winning poet, she will be reading her poetry at the Cambria Fourth of July celebration.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at email@example.com)