Heid E. Erdrich writes from the present into the future where human anxiety lives. Many of her poems engage ekphrasis around the visual work of contemporary artists who, like Erdrich, are Anishinaabe. Poems in this collection also curate unmountable exhibits in not-yet-existent museums devoted to the ephemera of communication and technology. A central trope is the mixtape, an ephemeral form that Erdrich explores in its role of carrying the romantic angst of American couples. These poems recognize how our love of technology and how the extraction industries on indigenous lands that technology requires threaten our future and obscure the realities of indigenous peoples who know what it is to survive apocalypse. Deeply eco-poetic poems extend beyond the page in poemeos, collaboratively made poem films accessible in the text through the new but already archaic use of QR codes. Collaborative poems highlighting lessons in Anishinaabemowin also broaden the context of Erdrich’s work. Despite how little communications technology has helped to bring people toward understanding one another, these poems speak to the keen human yearning to connect as they urge engagement of the image, the moment, the sensual, and the real.
About the Author
Collaborative artist, filmmaker, and independent curator Heid E. Erdrich teaches in the low-residency MFA Creative Writing program of Augsburg College. She is the author of five collections of poetry, including National Monuments, which won the 2009 Minnesota Book Award. Erdrich grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota, and is Ojibwe enrolled at Turtle Mountain.
“In this collection we see the spiral of interstellar clouds, the whirl of stuff engendered by cultural collision, and a response to the art of it all. Cultures rub up against each other to make a new kind of song. The whole collection is a dynamic mixtape: Poetry for the end of the world, which is the beginning. Yes.” —Joy Harjo, author of Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, and winner of the Wallace Stevens Award