Kristine Hartvigsen is truly an artist.
An Associate Editor at Jasper, Hartvigsen is releasing her first book of poems, To the Wren Nesting, published by Muddy Ford Press. This a dream come true for Hartvigsen, and she feels now is the right time to share her collection of poetry, which spans several years of creative work, to the arts community in Columbia. “It’s all about opportunity, really. When the people at Muddy Ford Press approached me about publishing a poetry chapbook, I was in. I was thrilled that they thought my poems would make for a good read.”
Poetry, and the arts in general, have been flowing through the veins of Kristine since she was a child. As an “Army Brat,” Kristine grew up in several places around the country and world. Her father, a former Army officer, physician, and hospital commander, unfortunately had a drinking problem and rage control issues. “My formative years were split between San Francisco and Frankfurt, Germany. My dad was brilliant, but he was abusive to the whole family for years. As a child, my self-worth was virtually non-existent.”
These years of relentless pain, however, did expose Kristine to the arts for the first time, and her passion began. “I believe my love for the arts originated with my very complicated father, who was an avid collector of paintings and he was also a gifted artist himself. It was difficult for him to be truly happy, but he found great pleasure in the arts.”
As did Kristine.
Although it took Kristine several years of school, she eventually focused her broad love for the arts into one specific form: poetry. A former newspaper journalist, Kristine sought to write fiction, but never poetry. However, a 1990 experience changed her life. “I was invited to participate in an informal writers’ group. It turned out that the majority of people in the group were poets. I initially wanted to write fiction, so I was disappointed. However, I stuck it out in the group and within a year I fell in love with poetry.”
A budding poet was born after this workshop. With this new passion, she found herself running a poetry series at the Art Bar in Columbia from 1997 to 1999. “[The experience] was so much fun. It was a wonderful escape one night a week to sort of let loose and be creative. I made a lot of new friends and got to overcome my basic fear of public speaking.”
Throughout all of this time, Kristine was writing poetry. Her years of writing garnered many eclectic poems, yet at the same time she has a distinctive artistic process. “I ‘follow [my] nose.’ I will get a little crumb of an idea, or an image, or a phrase that brings all sorts of thoughts to mind. I will explore that by jotting down words that articulate that. Usually the first, most instinctive thoughts are the strongest. Sometimes these thoughts can be linked. If not, they may find a home in another poem. As I compose, a tiny story starts to form.”
Thirteen years later, when Muddy Ford Press asked her to compile a book, the task was daunting. “I was a little worried that I wouldn’t have enough for a book, but eventually I decided on 46 titles. The title is actually a poem in the book about the environment and how humans and civilization continue to ignore the consequences of our actions and displace and push out innocent species that have been here so much longer than we have.”
Kristine’s incredible book certainly describes many sensory images and addresses important societal issues. Still, she cannot believe her book is published. “It is a little bit surreal and I still question whether I deserve it, whether the work is really good enough. I’ll always do that. It’s just the way I’m wired. I like to tell stories, particularly if they can inform and inspire. In the end, my brightest hope is that people will relate to something they read in my book and enjoy it. ”
Kristine will be signing and reading from her book, To The Wren Nesting on Saturday June, 30th from 6 – 8 at Wine Down on Main at 1520 Main Street.
To The Wren Nesting is available online at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and at
Muddy Ford Press is a family-owned publishing company located in Chapin, SC and dedicated to providing boutique publishing opportunities for South Carolina writers and poets. For more information find us at www.MuddyFordPress.com, 803.760.4455 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org