Photopoetry: Photography and Poetry as a Single Canvas

Program Description

Books of photopoetry are more than just pretty images and words set next to each other. When done well and with intent, each informs and enhances the other, creating a unique third art form that places the reader-viewer at the center of interpretation. In this program Photopoetry: Photography and Poetry as a Single Canvas, Havre-based poet Charles Finn and Missoula photographer Barbara Michelman will lead a lecture, discussion, reading, and slideshow focusing on the history of photography and poetry as seen through the increasingly popular genre combining the two—photopoetry, including its importance and place in Montana and the west. Leaning heavily on historical and current examples, including from their 2022 Montana Book Award winning collaboration, On a Benediction of Wind: Poems and Photographs from the American West, as well as other Montana authors and photographer teams, Finn and Michelman will discuss the art of combining words and images that when skillfully done are greater than the sum of their parts.

Presenter Bio

Charles Finn is the former editor of the literary and fine art magazine High Desert Journal and author of the nonfiction collection, Wild Delicate Seconds: 29 Wildlife Encounters (OSU Press) and photopoetry collection (with photographer Barbara Michelman) On a Benediction of Wind: Poems and Photographs from the American West (Chatwin Press) which won the 2022 Montana Book Award and was a finalist in the 2023 High Plains Book Award. He is the co-editor of the poetry textbook/anthology, The Art of Revision: 21 U.S. Poets on their Drafts, Craft, and Process (Bloomsbury), and co-editor of the forthcoming anthology, We Are All God’s Poems (Unsolicited Press). His second book of poetry The Folding Chair of Now will be published by Chatwin Books in 2025. Charles lives in Havre, MT with his wife Joyce Mphande-Finn and their two cats, Tija and Rilke.

Barbara Michelman taught graduate level film studies at San Francisco State, photography at Sierra Community College and has given public presentations at various camera clubs and exhibitions of my work across the United States. Her work is in museum collections regionally, national and internationally, including at the University of Montana. Barbara was also one of the first women in Hollywood to work in film lighting and learned the craft of film from some of the best cinematographers in the film industry. Barbara is also a published poet and has been experimenting with combining words and images for nearly two decades


Charles Finn

Barbara Michelman