About “Waking to the Dream”

Moonstruck luminescence, a salt-of-the-earth groundedness, and wry wit fill Heidi Hermanson’s Waking to the Dream—a peripatetic journey down forgotten Midwestern backroads, along the current of the Niobrara, and through the labyrinthine curves of more spiritual pathways. These are grit-stung, fierce and dreamy lyrics that will awaken you to the yearning, sorrow, and splendor of your life.
—Lee Ann Roripaugh, Author of Dandarians, South Dakota State Poet Laureate

Heidi Hermanson has us, “strip down in front of Time/to reveal who we really are.” Yet, “it matters not what time is/We cannot stop the stream of time.” Still. she goes back “in time to no time” visiting cemeteries, driving highways in snow storms and fair weather even as she performs “sorrowful mysteries” in “dust, corn, bittersweet, and bridal veil.” She lets us understand there is “no end, just another beginning…” where ‘the stars and moon sing bebop” and the “cranes sing Allelulia.” You are invited along into her “waking dream.”
–Barbara Schmidt, Poet of Highway 81

Waking to the Dream is like being caught in a dream cycle in which the speaker gets an invitation to prom only to have her lover stand her up again and again, as if the poet’s constant date—is it Mephistopheles? Hades?—were weirdly related to Lucy Van Pelt. Luckily for her readers, the poet’s date never shows up and she lives to write more poems to make our world a richer place, filled with her sensual joy and humor. Jam-packed with several versions of what a heart might be like, the poet repeatedly crushes hers into the sweet extract of poems. After each country road idyll or riverside mishap, Hermanson resolutely resets the table and serves up another smashed dream, another near-fatal sideswipe with death or love, another ironic sunset. Each poem cracks her experience open like a geode encrusted with longing; each poem an iteration of the annihilation and salvation of her heart.
–Greg Kosmicki, Founding Editor, The Backwaters Press

Heidi Hermanson’s A Carrier of Joy balances the quirky and the divine with her love of adventure. Writ large through this text is Hermanson’s ability to observe what others may overlook, though it’s her sharp turns and thoughtful reflections that will leave everyone grateful for the read. Running the gamut of sweet and reflective to the steal-your-breath twist of a poetic knife, Hermanson can write it all. Waking to the Dream is an extraordinary adventure.
–Monica Kerhner Fugeli, author of Watching Her Poems Melt in the Rain

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Joe Jackson, June 23, 2017, Kansas City, Missouri

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Stumbling into Grace

Our Lady Of Perpetual Help, Kansas City, Missouri.

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Religion made simple

At the Catholic Church in Nebraska City, Nebraska.

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A glassed-in exhibit of faith

Someone’s house on South 6th Street in Omaha.

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Rickie Lee Jones

Rickie Lee Jones at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska, March 24, 2017

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We come in peace (Bayliss Park, Council Bluffs, Iowa)


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Somewhere in Iowa…


…an admonishment to keep the cattle out, while those within slumber peacefully as they have since forever (Grandview Cemetery, east and north of Sidney).

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Driving home from Brownville Sunday night on the old 136/67, I passed a Mennonite church. I am not the least bit religious (and you should ask me sometime why I’m no longer attending church), but, oddly enough, I’ve never passed up a church whose doors were open. This place was lit up and had a few cars, so I U-turned and hesitantly stepped in. A woman with a delightfully plump baby of about 8 months came over to me. “Please come in,” she said. “I don’t have anything to cover my head with,” I replied. “It doesn’t matter,” she assured me, “you are welcome.” Welcome. What a lovely word!

Mennonites are the people you see at county fairs and reenactments: with bonnets and calf-length dresses, selling delicious jams, jellies, breads. The men usually in the background, bearded, with hats. This was a traditional service — women on the left side of the room, men on the right. Almost all the women had their hair pinned up, covered by the small bonnets.

The elder was talking to the kids about a man who acquired a rock for every time someone hurt him, or every time he held a grudge. Pretty soon his pockets got so full, he had to dump them all out in his front yard. People came from miles away to see his rock collection. Finally, someone asked him, “where is your other collection?” The man didn’t know what he meant. “The collection you have when people did you a good deed.” So the man began planting trees for every good deed bestowed on him.

I wanted to hear the rest of the service, but it was getting dark and I had at least two hours’ drive left. I left as quietly as I could, thinking about rocks and trees.

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Fourth Sunday of Advent, Reconciliation

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Mary Elizabeth and Dolly (lower left) did not want their faces to go on the internet, but they did want to tell you that rituals are important and  beautiful — and they also wanted to wish you the most joyous … Continue reading

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