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December 2015
Utah's Art Magazine: Published by Artists of Utah
Page 2   

Photo Essay
2015 Gift Giving Ideas

Every year at this time, gallereis and art venues across the state celebrate the holidays with special exhibitions featuring works by tons of Utah artists, most of them appropriately sized and priced to make for affordable gift giving. Here's a glance at some of the gift-giving options available for the art-conscious shopper. Most of these exhbitions open the first weekend of December and continue through the month of December.

Literary Arts: Book Review
Stratigraphic Layers
Kirsten Jorgenson's Sediment & Veil

The ”Sediment” in the title of this book of poems is radioactive dust blown downwind from nuclear explosions at the Nevada Test Site; the “Veil” is a Mormon symbol that represents the separation between God and man, but also, according to the LDS.org website, “a God-given forgetfulness that blocks people’s memories of the premortal existence.” The juxtaposition of these two themes occurs about the middle of the book in a short, not-quite-haiku superimposed over a topographic map of a nuclear bomb crater: written into darkness/a curtain/ veil/ to be pulled through or not. These poems are full of ghosts.

Jorgenson earned an MA in British and American Literature from the University of Utah and many of her poems are loaded with Utah iconography: honeybees; seagulls; Sharp shinned Zion; old Christmas trees/planted in the salt flats; This is the Place; a promised land… The language is minimalist, extra verbiage stripped away so that in some poems little is left but a language map of some particular scene: haze of brine flies/ breaking along the shore/ chemical weapons incinerator/ where the water evaporates. If you are from Utah and inclined to visit the bleakly beautiful landscapes of the Great Basin those few words are enough—you know exactly where that place is. But perhaps there is a bit too much blank space? I know how I feel about brine files — childhood memories of running along the shore watching a black carpet of flies part under my feet — but how does the poet feel about brine flies? What does it mean to place them in the same landscape as a chemical weapons incinerator?

Sediment & Veil

Many of these poems first appeared in various literary journals and also in two chapbooks, Deseret (2011) and Accidents of Distance (2012) (which was issued with a cover showing a downwinder map of radioactive fallout from the Nevada Test Site). However, they have been reworked, tightened up from the originally published versions and they are presented here without titles which gives the impression of one long continuous poem, as if the previous works were always meant to be part of a larger vision. For the most part this tactic works since the poems are stylistically similar with train-of-thought imagery and lots of contemplative blank space. However, the lack of guideposts is occasionally jarring. For instance, the poet writes, There were too many mosquitoes in Yellow Knife, and wait a minute, how did we get to the Northwest Territories? Weren’t we just in Utah?

Nonetheless, I kept reading and re-reading these poems with their stratigraphic layers of natural history, history, and culture, riddled here and there with bomb-crater maps and overlain with a skiff of radioactive fallout. In part I liked trying to follow the clues and fill in the blank spaces to reconstruct a familiar Utah landscape, like working a crossword puzzle. But on a deeper level the poems keep searching for places where the veil is thin, and that’s an intriguing place to go.

Kirsten Jorgenson
Sediment & Veil: Poems
Horse Less Press
63 pp.


15 Bytes: About Us
Our editorial contributors

Amy BrunvandAmy Brunvand is an award-winning poet and an associate librarian at the Marriott Library at the University of Utah.

Ruth ChristensenRuth Christensen writes full time for Imagine Learning, an education-based software company in Provo. She also works as a freelance writer, musician, and teacher after having taught vocal music for many years at BYU, UVU, and SUU.

David HabbenDavid "HABBENINK" Habben is a Salt Lake City based illustrator and artist. He is currently working on an MFA at the University of Utah.

Scotti HillScotti Hill is an art historian based in Salt Lake City Utah. She teaches art history courses at the University of Utah and is gallery manager at Howe Fine Art.

Sue MartinSue Martin holds an M.A. in Theatre and has worked in public relations. As an artist, she works in watercolor, oil, and acrylic to capture Utah landscapes or the beauty of everyday objects in still life.

Ann PooreAnn Poore is a freelance writer and editor who spent most of her career at The Salt Lake Tribune. She also worked for Salt Lake City Weekly and has written for such publications as Utah Business Magazine and Salt Lake Magazine.

Shawn RossiterShawn Rossiter, a native of Boston, was raised on the East Coast. He has degrees in English, French and Italian Literature. A professional artist and writer, he founded Artists of Utah in 2001 and is editor of its magazine, 15 Bytes.

Eric SamuelsenEric Samuelsen is a playwright and emeritus professor of theatre at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. His plays are regularly produced by Plan B Theatre in Salt Lake City.

Geoff WichertGeoff Wichert has degrees in critical writing and creative nonfiction. He writes about art to settle the arguments going on in his head.

15 Bytes

is published monthly by Artists of Utah, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization located in Salt Lake City Utah. The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 15 Bytes or Artists of Utah. Our editions are published monthly on the first Wednesday of the month. Our deadline for submissions is the last Wednesday of the preceding month.

Writers and photographers who contribute material to 15 Bytes are members of the arts community who volunteer their time. Please contact the editor if you have an idea for an article or feature, or if you would like to volunteer your time to the organization.

Editor: Shawn Rossiter
Contributing Editor: Ann Poore
Contributing Editor: Geoff Wichert
Music Editor: Laura Durham
Literary Editor: David G. Pace
Dance Editor: Ashley Anderson

Mixed Media: Terrece Beesley
You can contact 15 Bytes at editor@artistsofutah.org

Artists of Utah
P.O. Box 526292
SLC, UT 84152
Financial contributions are tax-deductible:


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