Culverts first called to Brenda Schmidt’s imagination when she was a child. In and around their steel dark openings she played and took risks. In the daring poetry and prose of Culverts beneath the Narrow Road, the risk-taking continues through her play with forms and use of source material from interviews. In her journeys, she asked people from all walks of life — construction workers, farmers, biologists, writers, musicians — about their culvert stories. Their recollections, both dark and light, gave voice to her own, giving another sense of the connections we share and the way stories emerge and flow.
By using various poetic forms as well as essay, Schmidt is able to examine these stories and make connections through images, and to stretch and bend the quotes from her research into new visual representations of the source phrases. She uses rural settings, flora and fauna, and water imagery to accomplish these visual feats.