Northern Minnesota is the focus for these works, combining photography with prose poetry, itself a form which resists easy definition, to explore perception and the interaction of images and language.
Merry Christmas this year and the next. Keep traditions going; unwrap each bulb that sparkles and breaks. Watch the mist of the skate riled up by the cut. Even gray routines have their luminous sunshot afternoon bits; see the maple once thick with red leaves. Now its skeleton is strung with birds, its trunk a line to heaven. Merry Christmas to one flash-lit scene and the next, to this jagged break, this ice skate. To the saxophone, the voiced saxophone, to your dark sweater over a chair.
First frost on screen is a story of hot coffee in one hand and camera in other. Night loss meets glow and holds. Two dreams before waking were light-filled and red, so the lens finds the source at its middle, pans gold. Sip, click. Sun smears frost and the leaves all fall down. How the eye shapes the dream in the world.
Heidi Mae Niska is a photographer who identifies with the up-north culture and solitude found in the north woods of Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Heidi Mae finds accumulating snowfall exhilarating and wrong-turn meanderings delightful. Her images depict solitary places in nature that always speak to the authentic spirit that resides in each of us and, in contrast to this, locations where the artifacts left behind whisper the stories of previous generations and place them on the timeline of life where we will all find ourselves one day. She seeks to share her intimate understanding of the soothing, nourishing, and restorative attributes of solitude and nature through her photographic imagery. www.heidimaeniska.com
Julie Gard’s prose poetry collection Home Studies (New Rivers Press) was a finalist for the 2016 Minnesota Book Award, and her chapbooks include Obscura: The Daguerreotype Series (Finishing Line Press) and Russia in 17 Objects (Tiger’s Eye Press). Julie’s poems, stories, and essays have appeared in Gertrude, Fourth River, Clackamas Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, Ekphrasis, and Blackbox Manifold, among other journals and anthologies. A former Fulbright Graduate Fellow in Vladivostok, Russia, she lives in Duluth and is Associate Professor of Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. www.juliegard.com