League of Minnesota Poets presents:

Frolicking with Laureates
2023 Spring Conference – April 21 – 23rd

with special guest

Gwen Westerman

Best Western Plus – New Ulm, MN

The 2023 League Spring Conference will be a celebration of laureateship this year as we welcome the Minnesota Poet Laureate Gwen Westerman as our speaker. We’ll also be celebrating the appointment of a new League of Minnesota Poets Laureate as well. Friday night we will also hear a reading from the inaugural winner of our John Calvin Rezmerski Manuscript Competition, Charles Gillispie. In addition to these celebrations, we’ll have writing workshops from Southern Minnesota Poet chapter members Jana Bauma and Derek Liebertz, a poetry critique session with Sue Chambers and Christina Flaugher, and a Poetry Tasting by Peter Stein at Schell’s brewing. Join us in celebration and a taste of the poetic flavors of Southern Minnesota has to offer!

Registration includes Friday dinner, Saturday lunch, and Saturday dinner.

The Schell’s Brewery tour may be added on to registration with payment and must be paid separately.

Scholarship funds may be available if the cost of the conference is cost-prohibitive. If dues are a financial barrier, contact us to apply for a scholarship. If you would like to contribute to the fund, please donate here.

Rooms are available at the Best Western at a discounted rate if reserved by March 22nd. Any reservations made after this date are subject to availability. Contact them with the info below, or book a room online HERE

Best Western Plus New Ulm
2101 S Broadway St.
New Ulm, MN 56073


Add to your calendar:

Friday April 21:

1:00 p.m. Registration table open

2:00 p.m. Schell’s Brewery tour and Poetry Tasting with Peter Stein
(Flight of beer included with tour. $15.00 additional registration)

6:00 p.m. Cash Bar and Welcome dinner
7:30 p.m. John Rezmerski Memorial Manuscript Winner reading
Charles Gillispie

8:00 p.m. Read Around/Open Mic

Saturday April 22:

9:00 a.m. Poetry Critique – Sue Chambers & Christina Flaugher

11:00 a.m. League General Membership Meeting

noon LUNCH

1:30 p.m. Pecha Kucha – Jana Bouma

2:45 p.m. Break

3:00 p.m. Writing Workshop with Gwen Westerman

4:30 p.m. free time

6:00 p.m. Cash Bar/ DINNER Gwen Westerman Keynote address

8:00 p.m. Special League Poet Laureate Induction

Sunday April 23:
9:00 a.m. Open Mic

10:30 a.m. The Audacity of Your Own Writing: A Workshop with Derek Liebertz

11:30 a.m. President Amanda Bailey announcements/reports and adjournment


Gwen Westerman’s roots are deep in the landscape of the tall grass prairie, and reveal themselves in her art and writing through the languages and traditions of her family. She is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate, her father’s people, and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, her mother’s people. She is the co-author of Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota which won a 2013 Minnesota Book Award, and a 2014 Hognander Minnesota History Award.

Gwen’s poems, essays, and short stories appear in numerous publications, including the Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry (2020); the Minnesota issue of Quiltfolk (January 2020); and New Poets of Native Nations (Graywolf Press, 2018). Her poetry collection Follow the Blackbirds (2013) was published by Michigan State University Press.

Jana Bouma’s poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including Natural BridgeThe 2River ViewSow’s Ear Poetry Review, and San Pedro River Review, as a text in David Kassler’s Choral Song Cycle on Texts of Minnesota Poets, and on signposts as part of the Mankato Poetry Walk and Ride project. She lives in southern Minnesota and works as an academic advisor for first-generation community college students. Previously, she taught English at the University of Nebraska.

The Audacity of Your Own Writing
    “nothing is quite as easy as using words like somebody else” — e. e. cummings

Derek Liebertz is a 20-year member and past president of the Southern Minnesota Poets Society. He has also served on as a board member for Twin Rivers Council for the Arts, a non-profit in Mankato championing and supporting artists. He began writing poetry during a long-distance relationship to woo his wife; that bravery has served him well.


Christina M Flaugher works as an audiology assistant in the hearing aid program at a famous clinic to keep the lights on and the pantry stocked when the poetry isn’t paying. Christina is a third-generation poet and past president of the League of Minnesota Poets and the Southern Minnesota Poets Society. Christina is a current member of Southeastern MN Poets. She is a former recipient of NFSPS’s Edna Meudt Scholarship Competition for her poetry collection “Intervals in Life.”. Her work has been featured in the Mankato Poetry Bike and Ride, the Rochester Public Library, Bright Lights in the Night and in several state and national anthologies. Christina is a Mankato native now living in Rochester with her husband Matthew. She is a doating mom to four cats: Zorya the wonder tabby, the infamous Puck Puck, Gallowglass the handsome and Morgana the mysterious. When not writing poetry or catifying the house, Christina can be found outside enjoying all nature has to offer.