The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 27, 2014

Picture this: Excerpts from the 'Image and the Word' exhibit

Excerpts from the 'Image and the Word' exhibit

By Tanner Kent
tkent@mankatofreepress.com

---- — The camera cannot lie — but it sure tells a lot of stories in the latest art exhibit hosted by the Twin Rivers Council for the Arts.

This year marks the seventh in which poets from the Southern Minnesota Poets Society and members of the Bend of the River Photography Club have collaborated on "Image and the Word," an exhibit of photography-inspired poetry. The results are unpredictable, occasionally tangential and often insightful.

Take, for instance, Ann Judkins' photo of a dilapidated structure, the door and surrounding windows shabby from neglect, yet somehow regal in their persistence.

From that image, poet Henry Panowitsch imagined the history of three Swedish immigrant brothers whose hard-won existence is now hardly mentioned in the footnotes of time and progress:

"Stop. Be Quiet.

Listen. For stone and brick walls never

repeat what they have said."

Deborah Goschy, too, couldn't help but imagine the ruins in a livelier state. She wonders to what purpose the structure was built and addresses it directly ("I can see your Bones") before arriving at a more humble and introspective conclusion:

"Silly human, searching for structure amid the chaos."

The poetry inspired by Terry Longnecker-DeGezelle's photo of a recently molted cicada is even more divergent.

Ed Brekke-Kramer recalls the insect's long association with heedlessness and rebirth by recasting the bug as a young man shedding his juvenile pursuits:

"We'll call in the girls

and we'll have a blast.

Yah, it may not last

but hey, we're seventeen!"

Meredith Cook on the other hand, employs a more realist approach before arriving at a startling, if existential, conclusion:

"Stands still above himself 'til wings are dry

for iridescent launch to breed and die."

Elsewhere, the photograph of a statue depicting a young woman sitting on a bench, snow-covered and solitary, yielded "Waiting," by Esther Hoffmann. In it, the poem's speaker and the statue are the same, and together share a secret about finding self, identity and love:

"For I, too, long for perfection, love without expectation."

For more information about Southern Minnesota Poets Society, visit www.southernmnpoets.org.

For more information about Bend of the River Photography Club, visit www.botrphotoclub.org.

If You Go What "Image and the Word" exhibit When On display through March 19 Where Emy Frentz Gallery at Twin Rivers Council for the Arts, 523 S. Second St. Reception 5-7 p.m. today at the gallery