Poetry, Photo Book Aims to Make the World a Bit Better

WINDSOR, Ohio – Rebecca Nieminen uses her poems and photographs to inspire readers in her new book, “Searching for Ascension.”

One event that inspired millions of people caused a slight delay in publishing the book.

Nieminen, of Kinsman, was putting the final touches on “Searching” last month. But after a photograph she took of the April 8 solar eclipse became a viral hit, she decided to add it to the book.

The photograph shows the eclipsed sun hanging over a statue of an angel on a tombstone in a Windsor, Ohio, cemetery. Nieminen received hundreds of orders for prints of the photo from people in several states.

Rebecca Nieminen took this photo of the eclipsed sun hanging over a statue of an angel on a tombstone in a Windsor, Ohio, cemetery.

The photo has a haunting quality at first glance but is strangely uplifting. Unlike traditional eclipse photos, it puts the celestial event into a larger context and humanizes it.

“I think people are responding to it because they experienced an eclipse for the first time [on April 8] and didn’t realize how special it was going to be,” Nieminen said. “It was an unforgettable feeling, and people are attracted to that image because they want to preserve how it made them feel.”

Orders started pouring in after she posted it on her business Facebook page. “There was an immediate reaction to it, lots of shares,” she said. “Then Lake Erie Living magazine shared it, and it went crazy. I had people reaching out from California and Canada.”

She was going over the page proofs for her book at the time and decided to halt work and add the photo and a poem, which she has titled “Totality.”

In a post on her Facebook business page, Nieminen shares the story of how she selected the eclipse photo site, and an amazing series of coincidences that arose from it.

“Searching for Ascension” is Nieminen’s first book of photos. Her previous work includes a historical fiction novel, “The Dance of the White Deer” (2022).

The title of the new book refers to the act of rising to a higher level, she explained.

Rebecca Nieminen

“The poems are about the world we are living in and wanting a kinder, more enlightened world,” Nieminen said. “Some deal with damage to the planet, materialism, division, the issues we’re dealing with. It’s my way of trying to make a positive difference. I want to encourage people to think about what they can do to make the world better.”

The poems are also about relationships and age-old concerns of the human condition, such as death and the fleeting nature of life. 

The book ends with the eclipse photo and its accompanying poem.

“One reason I thought the eclipse was special is because people really felt united,” she said. “Everyone was excited for it, focused on it, and looking up at it. It was a reminder that we’re all together here on this Earth. There was a bit of a shift in how people felt about each other [during the eclipse], and I decided it was a perfect way to end the book.”

The 10-inch-by-10-inch soft cover book has 69 photos and 21 poems. It costs $45.26 and can be ordered HERE.

“It is the result of many long hours of work – years of photo-taking, years of poetry-writing,” Nieminen said. “I am hopeful it is the first of many such books. I have a lot of material to work with.”

Pictured at top: One of the photos in Rebecca Nieminen’s new book, “Searching for Ascension.”

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