Two Sartell artists honored with awards

by Dennis Dalman

news@thenewsleaders.com

A kind of synergistic magic happens when words and images reflect and illuminate one another.

That magic was evident when a poem met a photograph. It happened with the works of two Sartell women, who will be honored in the 21st annual “Poet Artist Collaboration” in Red Wing, Minnesota.

Distinguished poet Patricia Mohr entered in the contest her poem titled “February 29: A Leap Year Poem.” Of the 200 poems submitted, Mohr’s was one of 35 to be accepted by the judges. For the same contest, award-winning Sartell photographer Carol Weiler, who knows and admires Mohr and her poetry de ella, entered three photographs and was accepted as one of the 35 artists / photographers who would pair up a visual work of art with a winning poem.

Weiler’s favorite was Mohr’s poem. She was then assigned to do a visual work inspired by that particular poem.

Here is Mohr’s poem:

Sometimes

In the bright of day

I long for night

shadows

to creep close long

to gather soft darkness

as a child gathers

up his best blanket

settling deep

into its satin-trimmed

embrace.

To create a visual equivalent of that poem, Weiler pondered long and deep and decided to do a photo-shopped visual montage. It merged two photographs – one of a snowy park scene, the other of a rumpled blanket in the foreground rippling away and blending with the snow. From under the blanket emerges the fingers of a hand.

The photo is dreamy, mysterious, somewhat haunting. It visually echoes words from Mohr’s poem: shadows, soft darkness, blanket, settling deep. . .

The snow landscape photo was taken by Weiler in Sartell’s Watab Park; the blanket photo was taken at home, with Weiler’s husband’s hand emerging.

Mohr and Weiler will be honored, along with the other 35 duo-winners, at a reception April 29 at the St. James Hotel in Red Wing. The poets will read their poems as the visual counterparts will be projected on a screen.

The works will also be on display from April 21 through May 15 at the “Red Wing Arts” gallery, 418 Levee St.

“Doing that (project) was such a different process for me,” Weiler said. “I’ve always just exhibited my photos (by themselves) in a gallery. This was different, but I’m happy with it.”

Born in a village in upstate New York, Weiler studied art at the Pratt Institute in that state. She then taught elementary-school art in St. Louis, Missouri and later lived in Fairbanks, Alaska. From her home base there, she often was flown to outlying areas of the state to teach art to children in remote schools.

Early on, Weiler developed a love for photography. In 1975, she decided to pursue the art with renewed passion. Her works by her, including many award-winners, have been exhibited widely.

Mohr said she has always liked to write about nights – that feeling of evening coming on and the quiet comforts of night. Night, in fact, inspired her by her award-winning poem for Red Wing Arts.

Many years ago, while living in Nevada, she started as a writer of short stories. Friends, who were members of a poetry group (“Ash Canyon Poets”) suggested she should try her hand at writing poems. She thought, yes, what a good idea, it would help her hone her descriptive prose for short-story writing. To her surprise and delight, she took to poetry like a fish to water. She has now been writing poems and seeing them published for 35 years.

Born in St. Paul, she earned a bachelor’s degree in business and communications from Concordia College, St. Paul. She is former fiction editor of “Bristlecone” and co-director of the Western Mountain Writers’ Conference. She co-founded two writers’ groups – Slide Mountain Writers of Carson City, Nevada; and Red Oak Writers in central Minnesota. She is one of three Minnesota poets to be included in an anthology entitled “90 Poets of the Nineties.”

Mohr is a retired grant writer for CentraCare, the first grant writer for that medical-care organization.

Founded in 1952, Red Wing Arts annually supports more than 350 artists in its gallery and festivals. The works attract more than 30,000 visitors each year to its free events and exhibits.

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