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Northfield Poet Laureate: Northfield Poetry Groups

The Northfield Poet Laureate is sponsored by the City of Northfield and funded by the Northfield Public Library and the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC), in partnership with the Northfield Arts and Culture Commission.

Northfield Poetry Groups

This page lists writing groups for poets in the Northfield area. If you have a poetry group you would like listed here, if you would like assistance in starting a poetry group, or if you would like to join one of the open groups, please contact the Northfield Poet Laureate (poet.laureate@ci.northfield.mn.us).

Northfield Public Library Poets

This group is not currently accepting new members. 

D. E. (Doug) Green just retired from decades in the English Department at Augsburg University. He has published articles on Shakespeare, general-interest essays, and poetry. His poem "Gratitude" won the 2018 Martin Lake Journal Bookend Prize; other work has appeared in the 2021 and 2022 iterations of Bright Light: Stories in the Night, collections of poems and artwork from Southeast Minnesota; in the 2021 and 2022 Red Wing Arts Poet Artist Collaboration; and in several recent issues of Willows Wept Review and Third Wednesday.  New work is forthcoming in Lost Lake Folk Opera. You can also find his poems on the sidewalks of his hometown, Northfield, MN.  His first collection, Jumping the Median, was published in October 2019 by Encircle Publications.  Doug likes to say he has been an occasional poet for over 35 years. 

Becky Boling, a Pushcart Prize Nominee, has published prose and poetry (The Ekphrastic Review, Lost Lake Folk OperaWillows Wept Review, Martin Lake Journal, Persimmon Tree, 3rdWednesday Magazine and Moss Puppy Magazine), written dramatic monologues for Northfield’s SOLOS: Monologue Writing and Performance Festival, won competitions—Northfield Sidewalk Poetry & Red Wing Arts’ 19th and 21st Poet-Artist Collaboration (2020, 2022). A video series, Pandemic Poetry, narrated by Cathy Wurzer for MPR (2021) featured two of her poems. She is published in the Ramsey County Library’s anthology, This Was 2020: Minnesotans Write About Pandemics and Social Justice in a Historic Year. Transplanted from southern Indiana, she flourishes, like dandelions, in Minnesota soil. She attributes a good deal of her success to her live-in editor, D. E. Green, as well as the many supportive voices in her writing groups, including the Northfield Public Library Poets and her Neighbor Writers.

Heather Candels, a Minnesota native, taught middle school English in Connecticut for 30 years before returning to the land of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.  Her work has appeared in The Prairie Home Companion Newsletter, The Widows Handbook: Poetic Reflections on Grief and Survival, HeartLodge, Third Wednesday, Xanadu, Roux, The Lowdown, Willows Wept Review, The Rockhurst Review and Dash.  Her poetry was also featured in No Small Measure, a broadside project pairing artists and poets funded by the University of North Georgia Art Galleries. While in Connecticut, she collaborated with the Wilton town library for 12 years to produce the annual Poetry in Motion show, which featured student poetry, art, music and dance. 

Steve McCown, a Pushcart nominee, has published poems in Willows Wept Review, End in Mind Project, Colorado Crossing, Arizona Western Voice, Bright Light Stories in the Night, and Lost Lake Folk Opera Magazine. Two of his poems are printed on display boards in Mankato’s Rasmussen Park, and five of them are stamped in the sidewalks of Northfield, MN. A graduate of Winona State University, he earned a Master’s Degree in English from Northern Arizona University. He taught high school English for 30 years in Winterhaven, CA, and part time English for 15 years at Arizona Western College. In 2020, his collection of poems Ghosting was published by Shripwreckt Publishing Company in Rushford, MN. He resides in Northfield with Barbara and one semi-content cat.

Julie A. Ryan is a poet, essayist, novelist, and visual artist who views everything through a satirical lens. Due to enjoying engaging both sides of her brain, she has a BA in studio art and a minor in business from Bethel College. This facilitated her desire to be a creative director overseeing both visual art and writing aspects of many marketing projects over the years.

Poetry has been Julie’s preferred form of expression since she was eight years old and recognized the potential power in arranging words so that they cause readers to feel and think in a certain way. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of publications, including VisualVerse.org.; Writers’ NightNorthfield Sidewalk Poetry; and End in Mind Pandemic Poetry Project. Julie’s collection of concrete poems called Relative Space ~ a concrete bed of poetry was published in 2021. Despite being a natural rambler, she is a fan of Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory and loves the challenge of achieving brevity with her work. In an attempt to make poetry accessible to a broader audience, she also likes turning her poetry into recognizable images for people with a visual learning style.

As an avid writer, Julie always has a pen and notebook within reach so she can turn the thoughts that bounce around her head into something tangible to be enjoyed by others. Her essays have been published in Lost Lake Folk Opera, Minnesota newspapers, and various blogs. The Clothesline Review has featured her prose. And her socially relevant When Life Was Still fictional trilogy was released in 2020. Since childhood, Julie has been interested in humor, wordplay, design, science, math, and humanitarian issues—all of which somehow successfully co-exist in her writing projects today.

Open Poetry Groups

Contact the Northfield Poet Laureate (poet.laureate@ci.northfield.mn.us) if you are interested in joining this group. 

Current members: Jane Sarles Larson, Susan Jaret McKinstry, Sharon Nau