Fishing the Desert
Poems Brooks Robards
Photographs Siegfried Halus
Perfect bound, 67 pages , 8-1/2" x 8-1/2"
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Preview of Images from Fishing the Desert
The desert is my companion
it makes me feel complete.
When I walk along its paths
its silences and spaces feed me.
If I follow footprints
of deer and coyote
see their scat on the ground
I understand their presence
despite their absence.
In times of sadness
when I look for answers
but cannot find them
the emptiness reassures me.
Its vastness reminds me
there is more in the world
than I can understand.
It feeds my heart.
I absorb its simple beauties
in the presence of its peace
and everlasting wildness.
Sky light shifts
from moment to moment
over a grand expanse of desert
hung with clouds
calling for rain
in one swing of the eyes
bubbling with brightness in another.
Rain patter hits the house roof
while junipers wave through
a burst of new light.
So vast the space
across the desert
at one end you see
mountain rims tipped with snow
elsewhere a curtain of mists.
As whitening clouds break apart
light tosses bliss onto grasses
green and gold before slipping
to the rise of another horizon.
There junipers hide the shock
of snow in shadow patches.
About the Poet
Poet Brooks Robards first visited Santa Fe in 1995. Returning annually, she has drawn continuing inspiration for her writing from the New Mexico landscape. The poems in Fishing the Desert come from a collection she has been working on for eight years. Her friendship with Santa Fe-based photographer Siegfried Halus, which began in Connecticut in 1968, was renewed in 2008 when they reunited in Santa Fe. Inspired by his New Mexico photographs, she proposed a collaboration in 2012, and the two first presented their work together at Santa Fe’s former A Gallery in 2013.
Robards’ fourteen previous books include four volumes of poetry, A Magical Place, Off Season, Sea Bound, and On Island, available through Summerset Press. Her work also appears in Cleaveland House Poets—50 Years, Wednesday’s Poets—An Anthology, and Island Quintet: New Work by Five Vineyard Poets, as well as in numerous periodicals
A former Life magazine researcher/reporter, co-editor and co-publisher of the Newington (Connecticut) Town Crier, and a professor emerita of mass communication at Westfield State University, where she taught film, journalism, and women’s studies for twenty-one years, Robards also writes film and art reviews for the Martha’s Vineyard Times and feature articles for Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, in addition to her poetry.
When she is not visiting Santa Fe, she lives with her husband, writer Jim Kaplan, in Northampton, Massachusetts, and summers on Martha’s Vineyard.
About the Photographer
Siegfried Halus, a native of Salzburg, Austria, immigrated to the United States with his family when he was eight years old. After apprenticing with his father, a liturgical sculptor, he received his undergraduate degree in sculpture at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and University of Pennsylvania.
The Academy’s emphasis on human anatomy and its focus on drawing and life-size clay modeling ultimately translated for Halus into the carving of marble and wood with invention and passion. After graduate studies at the University of Hartford, he began redirecting his interests to photography, while still holding fast to the magic within the human form. The provocative imagery that resulted has evolved consistently for more than four decades, leading to the application of innovative lighting methods and striking narratives to his work in New Mexico’s nocturnal desert settings, as well as the exploration of gender and mythic issues and the introduction of ancient myths into a contemporary allegory.
Halus has taught photography at numerous universities and colleges, and has developed and defined photography and fine arts programs in this country and abroad. Working through the Boston Museum School and Tufts University, he brought the Museum School’s International Summer Program to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, exposing students to his love of New Mexico and challenging them to venture into new aspects of their work. He also strategized and conceptualized the design of the fine arts complex at Santa Fe Community College, playing a major role in the creation of a healthy, sustainable venue for students and faculty, as well as overseeing its construction.
Halus’s photographs have been widely exhibited and are in numerous museum collections throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. He has produced extensive documentary projects including Vodou Rituals of Haiti, Destruction of the Olivetti and Underwood Factory, and Lovers.
He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
About Fishing the Desert
New Mexico photographer Siegfried Halus and New England poet Brooks Robards, whose friendship dates to the 1970s, have joined now to produce a book celebrating the world of the Southwest and New Mexico in particular.
Robards employs her gift for lyrical language to evoke the rich life of New Mexico’s deserts as winter gives way to spring. Her poems explore the animals, vegetation, and weather that define the landscape and feed her imagination with imagery and narratives inspired by the desert.
Halus’s photographs bring to life the world of the Southwest, its people and terrain, in a fashion that only a deeply engaged artist can capture. The synergy generated by these two friends will keep the reader returning to Fishing the Desert to share an experience both spiritual and emotionally rewarding.
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