Weather Forecast


DL woman publishes book of her poems

Looking for a place to re-settle after the 1997 floods devastated their Grand Forks home, Mary and Walter Kulberg "literally chose Detroit Lakes off the map and said, 'this feels right,'" as Mary put it.

Full-time residents of the community since 1998, the Kulbergs "loved getting back to a small town feel once again," she added.

Still, it was several years before Mary was able to push past the trauma of that experience and work through her feelings about the flood in the way she had worked through all the other major changes in her life: she wrote a poem about it.

"It (the flood) took our whole neighborhood," she said, adding wryly, "We lived on River Street.

"Eventually, I was able to write some poetry about it, but it took awhile."

Kulberg is hoping to include some of her "flood poems" in a new collection of poems that she plans to publish "some time in the next year," but for now, she's still basking in the glow of publishing her first collection.

The self-published Encounters with the Holy in Ordinary Time contains 68 pages that Kulberg put together herself, then brought to Midwest Printing in Detroit Lakes.

The cover art was done by James Matter of Graphic Design Matters, and features a photograph of Mary's long-time home on Bear Island Lake near Babbitt, Minn. She printed just 200 copies of the book, and has already given 70 of them to friends and family.

Kulberg, a native of the Hector, Minn., area in the south central part of the state, raised her family in Babbitt before she and her husband moved to Grand Forks, where her husband was employed as a welder at the local Air Force base, and she did secretarial work at United Hospital and the local Episcopal church. They both retired in 1994.

Though she's "always been a writer," Kulberg noted, she hasn't always been a poet.

"I started writing poetry when I entered the 'empty nest' period of my life," said the mother of three, now grown with families of their own. (she and Walter have five grandchildren and five great grandchildren as well).

"I started wondering, 'What am I going to do?'" she continued. "I started looking at my faith in a new way, trying to understand what it meant to me -- and that's when the poetry came. As I was struggling with those feelings, I started writing my way through the changes in my life."

Though she has had several of her poems published in periodicals -- most frequently in "Alive Now," a contemporary devotional publication of Upper Room Press -- and once even had one of her works reprinted in a Braille publication of the John Milton Society, it was only recently that she was able to publish a book of her work.

This is how Kulberg describes her new book, Encounters: "The poems in this book are poems that come out of my faith journey, the ordinary times and the special times when I realize God is there. I write about worship, about Advent and Lent.

"There is a section of poems I wrote about our experience of being with my mother during the time she was with Hospice and dying of cancer. Our Hospice volunteering takes on special meaning because of that," Kulberg noted (both she and Walter are volunteers with Hospice of the Red River Valley).

For those who would like to read her work for themselves, Kulberg has distributed several copies of the book to Driftwood Books in Detroit Lakes. And on Monday, Oct. 16, she will be autographing copies of Encounters at Driftwood from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. She will also be reading excerpts from the book at the Lake Region Garden Club meeting on Oct. 19, and at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Ulen on Oct. 26.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454