Free reading

Matt Mason will headline a performance of poetry, with writer Heidi Hermanson opening the event, at 7 p.m. Monday at the G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture, presented by Prairie Art Brothers. Admission to the reading is free.

KEARNEY — Poet Heidi Hermanson considers her writing as the start of a travel experience for her readers.

“I hope to take them on a journey of sorts, a road trip of the mind, a journey,” she wrote in an email interview. “I want them to be glad they took the time out of their life to come hear poetry and I hope that they will leave, thinking about for some time, what they heard. If that happens, I have done my job.”

Hermanson published a collection of her work, “Waking to the Dream,” in 2018. She describes the book as a love letter to the Midwest.

“Usually my travels inspire me, but I have found that the universe knows I’m a writer, and will often throw odd things in front of me that I must write about to process,” she said, “simply because they are funny or absurd. Some poems I write and then end up editing several times (up to six or more) and, other times, a poem will simply present itself, fully formed and complete (this happens much less often).”

Hermanson uses her writing as a way to understand life better.

“Another thing that prompts me to write — and I believe that this applies to many poets and writers — is that I wish to make sense of the world, clarify my thoughts. Writing is so good for that,” she said.

Hermanson, along with state poet laureate Matt Mason, will read her poetry at 7 p.m. Monday as part of the Front Porch Poetry Series presented by Prairie Art Brothers at the G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture, West Campus of the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Admission to the event is free.

Hermanson creates poetry designed for listening.

“I do write for the ear,” she said. “My master’s thesis was called, ‘Sound in Poetry: A Layer Cake of Meaning,’ so I am particularly interested in what effects different sounds have on a poem’s effect on listeners. Poets and writers will tell you some words just feel good in their mouth. So, then they write for the mouth and the ear.”

Becky Breed, educator, said of Hermanson’s work, “Heidi’s poetry takes you out on a limb — but her words won’t let you fall, instead lifting you with wit and the steel of truth.”

As for writing versus publishing, Hermanson understands the value and power of words.

“I think creative writing used to be the domain of writers (not publishers), and still is,” she said. “There is more opportunity than ever to learn to write, or to learn to write well. There’s no reason to sit in a garret, writing in solitude — there are writing classes everywhere from the local Y to a college and everyone in between — because of the internet, you can even have a writers’ group online, never seeing your writer companions’ faces, but yet getting the valuable feedback. If you want to improve your writing, the possibilities are endless.”

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