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Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media
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Michigan State University Press
Pub Date: 2017
ISBN: 9781611862461
Heid E. Erdrich
Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media
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Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media

by Heid E. Erdrich

Winner of the 2018 Minnesota Book Award for poetry.

"Heid E. Erdrich is a futurist messenger who understands that time immemorial works backward and forward, and in all sorts of media, even in a book of poetry. 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

Writing from the present into the future where human anxiety lives. Many of these 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.

"Heid E. Erdrich’s poems jump off the page as this ‘curator of ephemera’ assembles the fragments of deep history and flitting moments into her Indigenous Elvis, her undead faerie, her wiindigo language lesson. In her compelling poems and poem-films Erdrich simultaneously celebrates and laments a mind at play with big art, a mind bigger than cultural separations in which, though ‘we walk on the bridge of bones,’ still words become the necessary tools to embrace the untenable sensation of grasping the moment even as it tells her that it is slipping away."
—Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of Stairway to Heaven