Hear the winners of MPR's Lake Superior poetry contest read their work

Susie Island sits off the shore of Lake Superior.
Susie Island sits off the shore of Lake Superior.
Richard Hamilton Smith, courtesy of The Nature Conservancy

Lake Superior inspires every kind of feeling, thought and memory in those who visit its shores.

This attachment to Minnesota's slice of the great lake helped it beat out hundreds of other lakes in MPR's recent Most Loved Lake Contest.

As MPR and the Water Main celebrate Lake Superior's place in our state's culture, they held a poetry contest.

The three winners were Melissa Richards, David Olson and Lorene Sill. Click the player above to hear the poems, and read them below.

And Still She Calls by Melissa Richards

Her waters are legendary, holding the unwary who spill

from their ships, unaware of her power. And yet this Superior lake,

when days are warm and sunsets, late, sends a powerful call.

Wise voices say, stay ashore; so we stop to breathe

wave freshened air and listen for hawk, and owl, and bee.

Her wisdom, drawn from sources unseen by this day's eye,

is clearly there in faint paths, rustling grass, white topped swells

as fearsome as when native men walked her shores and braved her waters.

Governments change but she does not.

Unafraid to be herself, her sad, beautiful history is known

by wild tales told around campfires to impressionable youths,

though many of her own ancient voices have been lost -

lost in the sound of wave and bird;

lost to the sounds of progress.

And still, she calls.

And still, we come.

Ashes by David Olson

The white finger waves

would not let us

get close to the water

So we sprinkled the

ashes on tumbled rocks

and didn't have to wait long

For searching stretching

hands of the unconscious

to come take you home

The Lake by Lorene Sill

glistening in the morning sun

remains quiet, taking time

I think unborn thoughts

Gulls

caught in the sun

scream their freedom

I am alive without bounds

Wilderness

exploring the unknown

arriving where I started

and knowing it for the first time

Evening comes

    finishing the sun,

       bringing

          black,

             mystery,

               and peace


Thanks for all who entered. Keep an eye on these writers, The Loft Literary Center is giving them each a writing class to congratulate them on their poetry win.

MPR and the Water Main are hosting pop-up classical performances along the North Shore on Saturday.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.