In her debut poetry collection, Terrain, self-taught poet and educator Gina Hietpas offers readers a way to return to the land with care and dignity. Drawing from a deep well of personal observation, connection and participation with the natural world, Hietpas’ poems explore themes of allyship, care, and ultimately, healing.
On each page, Hietpas invites readers to experience the highs and lows of health and illness, bravery and anxiety, and aging and timelessness as she has throughout her life in the Pacific Northwest. These poems are meant to be a respite, a pause in our busy lives to appreciate who and what surrounds us.
PRAISE FOR TERRAIN
– Kim Stafford, author of Wild Honey, Tough Salt (Red Hen, 2019)
“Hietpas has crafted a remarkable collection – a life-narrative contained in 28 succinct, inventive, and moving poems. With language and perceptions that shift deftly between directness and delight, between foreboding and resolution, these poems pay homage to Hietpas’ home terrain on the Olympic Peninsula, to her family, and to the coyotes, ancient orchards, wrens, and eagles that share that land – and their lessons – with her.”
– Bill Yake, author of This Old Riddle
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gina Hietpas is a self-taught poet, born and raised in Tacoma, Washington state. Nowadays, she lives outside Sequim, WA, on a small farm with her husband, a few cows and a passel of chickens. Her land is a habitat for elk, deer, coyotes and an occasional bear. It is, for the most part, a peaceful coexistence.
The opportunity to be a back-country ranger for several seasons shaped her connection to wilderness. Professionally she was a middle school teacher for twenty five years. Now that she has retired, she focuses her efforts on writing. She has studied with Kelli Russell Agodon, Alice Derry, Holly Hughes, Susan Rich and Kim Stafford. Hietpas’ work has appeared in Minerva Rising, Tidepools, Spindrift and New Plains Review.
ABOUT THE COVER ART
“Terrain” by Heather Romano (2020). About the artwork, Romano says,
“Terrain” was my endeavor to create a work of art that not only recalls specific images from the text but also visually represents the underlying themes of the poems as well. The painting plays specifically off of the theme of the body as terrain, and how our experiences create and inform who we are. Each tattoo is a visual way of etching the landscape of the poetry into the skin of the figure. The open chest is meant to evoke the idea of caregiving, which is a unique experience that forces all involved to face fears and difficult truths.
Perhaps one of the ultimate gestures of love, caring for a loved one with a life-threatening condition leaves a mark on those who bear witness in addition to those who are unwell; the woman in the painting also wears her “heart” tattooed on the outside of her body to represent this. It was my hope to capture the beauty and fear of such an experience in a way that reinforces and complements the written work of the poet.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST: Born in Arizona and raised in New Mexico, Heather Romano is a teaching artist currently residing in North Carolina. Her personal work explores myth, spirituality, and femininity, often through the lens of southwestern culture. Although she works with a variety of traditional and digital mediums, she is a painter at heart.