In her fourth book, local author Heidi Barr has taken a fresh step into the world of poetry with Cold Spring Hallelujah, a collection of poems in the themes of healing, faith, and nature.
“I wrote a lot of this book when I was sick,” said Barr. “I was still trying to write, but I found that a lot of my normal essay style writings just weren’t happening. So, I thought I would write a poem a day. It was my way of processing it.”
Over the course of a year, sifting through the daily poems led to the current project Barr has set to release November 5 this year. Previous books include a cookbook, Prairie Grown: Stories and Recipes From a South Dakota Hillside; What Comes Next: Between Beauty and Destruction; and Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth.
Moving from a cookbook, to essays, to poetry was not an expected shift for Barr. “I started really writing poetry in April of 2018,” she says. “In school when we had to analyze poems I hated it. I never really grabbed on to figuring out the meaning of a poem, but this wasn’t difficult. It was just one of those things where everything started to flow. I think it worked because I didn’t over think it.”
Barr says that poetry lovers and those who don’t care for poetry can both find something that speaks to them through this book. As someone recently branching into poetic writing herself, she understands that it’s not for everyone, but feels that anyone can pick it up. “My hope is that this book is accessible enough that even if you don’t know how you feel about poetry, you can still take something away from it.”
A launch for Cold Spring Hallelujah is scheduled for Nov. 7 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Gustaf’s Up North Gallery in Lindstrom, MN. Food and drink will be served and Barr will be reading select poems from the her book with author remarks starting at 7:15 p.m.