This issue of Minerva Rising moves us inward as we contemplate the meaning of winter. Each of story, poem essay and photograph allows us to draw into ourselves as we celebrate the reparative nature of this season. We pause to appreciate the beauty of snow in “As Snow Fall.” We celebrate the holidays with “A Christmas Outing” and “Angels.” We reflect on the parallels a blizzard and our inward struggle of determination in “Storm.” We contemplate death in “Laid to Rest.” And through it all we are reminded of the beauty that is found in the quiet of a cold winter’s night.
Since publication of my first chapbook in August 2011, I feel drawn to working in collections, challenging myself to a daily six-line poem that captures a feeling, a moment. My three poems in this issue are just that, spurred perhaps by an awareness of something changing, or harking back in time. Like the hummingbird who has taught me to see deep into the heart of things, I seek to awaken the soul to presence.
Jeannine Bergers Everett
Jeannine Bergers Everett is a musician, mother, writer and baseball fan (not necessarily in that order). Although primarily a humorist, she likes to dip her toe in bluer waters to remember that laughter is the greatest expression of hope in the most hopeless of circumstances.
Ann Hedreen is a writer, teacher, filmmaker and voice of the KBCS radio commentary, The Restless Nest. In her essays, she loves to weave personal, political, social and cultural strands. “Arizona” was inspired by her fascination with family history and how it shapes us. Ann recently completed a memoir about her mother’s younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease called Her Beautiful Brain. She and her husband Rustin Thompson own White Noise Productions. Together, they have made more than 100 films, many of which have been seen on PBS and other TV stations all over the world and some of which have won Emmys and other awards. They have two grown-up children and live in south Seattle.
Nikki works across genres, but is consistently drawn to the moments of crisis where a character finds the courage to change the direction of her life, or doesn’t. She loves the complexity and ambiguity of our thought processes, how we get from Point A to the point of decision or the point of no return. How our experiences shape our direction. Shadow represents one of those jumping-off points that forces past, present and future to converge.
Barbara Knott is host and editor of The Grapevine Art and Soul Salon, an online literary/art journal. She has a Ph.D. from New York University. In 2009, Nikki Giovanni chose her poem “Boxwood” as winner of first prize in the New Millennium Writings’ poetry competition. Her chapbook of poems, Soul Mining, was published by Finishing Line Press in summer 2011. Other publications include pieces in The Distillery, Pilgrimage, Now and Then, and Permafrost. She says of her work:
My goal as a writer of fiction and poetry is to get the reader to feel part of an ongoing conversation I am having with myself about themes and images that appeal to my imagination, and to become as excited about them as I am. The style of “A Christmas Outing” comes from my happy discovery of David Kirby’s long, conversational “seriously funny” poems.
My writing is an act of cheerleading and connection as I seek to dispel the myth that we are alone in this world. I want readers to gain compassion for the challenges we all face on a path to a more authentic, rewarding life. In putting words to often difficult emotions and situations, I seek to be a voice for those who have lost theirs, creating understanding that will allow for personal and global change.
I particularly love writing about the natural world and how we are changed by our experiences in it. “Storm” captures nature’s unique ability to shift our perspective, allowing us to truly see. All healing begins with imagining what it possible, instead of getting lost in the challenges.
Amy W. Raina is an educator, writer and performer based in Portland, Maine. Currently, she works as the Education Program Manager for Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine. She has been developing and implementing art and anti-violence curriculum since 2001. She has taught a spectrum of students ranging from kindergarten to college; including homeless youth, incarcerated youth, LGBTQ youth, and students with developmental disabilities. In 2009, she directed the Community Engagement Initiative at The Network/La Red in Boston, MA; one of the nation’s top victim-centered, social justice organizations working to end violence in LGBTQ communities. She now supervises a staff of four who deliver school-based programming on sexual assault prevention and sexuality education to over 40 schools and 8,000 students in Southern Maine.