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Photography

Visual poems from the Granite State

Nicola Muirhead’s poetic documentary narrative “Grace Notes” explores the landscapes and communities of New Hampshire as framed by the words of American poet Robert Frost and his Pulitzer-Prize-winning book “New Hampshire: a Poem with Notes and Grace Notes.”

Over the span of a few years, Muirhead traveled between the coast of Portsmouth and the White Mountains near the border of Canada. Her photography celebrates the isolated countryside of New Hampshire and captures its mysticism and the timelessness. Each image stands independently, connected by time and place — just like the poems of Frost.

Some sympathy was wasted on the house,

A good old-timer dating back along;

But a house isn’t sentient; the house

Didn’t feel anything. And if it did,

Why not regard it as a sacrifice,

Robert Frost, The Star Splitter, New Hampshire

Just specimens is all New Hampshire has,

One each of everything as in a show-case

Which naturally she doesn’t care to sell.

She had one President (pronounce him Purse,

And make the most of it for better or worse.

He’s your one chance to score against the state).

— Robert Frost, New Hampshire

Two had seen two, whichever side you spoke from.

‘This must be all.’ It was all. Still they stood,

A great wave from it going over them,

As if the earth in one unlooked-for favor

Had made them certain earth returned their love.

— Robert Frost, Two Look At Two

She has been having a long look at you.

She put her finger in your cheek so hard

It must have made your dimple there, and said,

‘Maple.’ I said too: ‘Yes, for her name.’

She nodded. So we’re sure there’s no mistake.

I don’t know what she wanted it to mean,

But it seems like some word she left to bid you

Be a good girl — be like a maple tree.

Robert Frost, Maple

New Hampshire raises the Connecticut

In a trout hatchery near Canada,

But soon divides the river with Vermont.

Both are delightful states for their absurdly

Small towns — Lost Nation, Bungey, Muddy Boo,

Poplin, Still Corners (so called not because

The place is silent all day long, nor yet

Because it boasts a whisky still — because

It set out once to be a city and still

Is only corners, cross-roads in a wood).

Robert Frost, New Hampshire

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

— Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Correction: A previous version of the introduction misstated that Muirhead traveled between the coast of Plymouth and the White Mountains. She traveled between the coast of Portsmouth and the White Mountains.