Archive for the ‘Artist Spotlight, Amber Yoder’ Category

Lonely Road - Photo Taken By Amber Yoder


Old Ohio Schoolhouse - Photo Taken By Amber Yoder


Another Ohio Schoolhouse - Photo taken by Amber Yoder

All photos ©Amber Yoder



Thoughts and prayers for the good folks in Ohio and throughout the Midwest who are suffering after last week’s tornadoes.

People in Arkansas, Illinois and Tennessee suffered devastating floods. People in Haiti are still suffering.  So are the coal miners and their families in West Virginia.  People in Iran suffered just for speaking their minds.  The people in the Gulf coast.  Afghanistan.

Sometimes, the list of people who are hurting seems endless.


But with every horrible incident, there are stories of courage and survival.  We read a few of the stories in the news.  More often than not, people all over the world are quiet heroes.  They probably wouldn’t describe themselves as heroes, because they are doing what they have to do.  In my eyes, that is heroic.  They don’t give up.  They wake up every day and keep on breathing and trying to smile, despite the odds.


I wrote this poem several years ago.  It seems fitting today.  I’m posting it now to honor a region and a dear friend.  She is one of my heroes.  She is quietly beautiful and strong, like the land where she was born.


For An Ohio Friend

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder


I laugh at snobs

who call your land

flyover country.


They don’t know

the goldenrods

of an Ohio river,


or you, walking

with a cane

in each hand


to show me

where to find


in the woods.


Crippling arthritis

could not stop you


from grinning

and tying

a purple kerchief

under your chin


to go outside

and feed forty

feral cats

in a storm.


All the armies

in the world

could not stop you


from climbing

up the ladder

to the loft

of your red

Amish barn


to watch fat eggs

of baby buzzards

slowly tap open.


Living by yourself

far away from it all,

with a shotgun

propped by your door,


you are plainspoken

and will call

a stink a politician.


I shook my fist with you

when they built

that factory farm

near the black banks

of your clear river.


Bless you, dear friend.


You are the farmhouse

where your great-grandfather

was born after the roof

collapsed on his mother

in the middle of a blizzard.


It’s where you still live

with a kerosene heater

among stacks and stacks

of Farm and Hearth magazines


where the corn grows

taller than

a strong woman’s soul.


You’re not flyover country.


You’re a one-room schoolhouse

with wind whipping through it

beside a long, straight road.


You’re huge Buckeye trees

and accordion music

on humid, summer nights.


You’re volunteer

fire departments,

steam engine trains,

tractors, black swamp

mule boat canals.


Polish sausage,

green jello dishes

and five dollar

Methodist Women

spaghetti dinners.


To hell with anybody

who can’t see


the beauty

in all that.


They wouldn’t know

sweetgum from rhubarb

if it shot them

in their plastic asses.


Let them

keep on flying.


Their contrails

will fade away




by rusty tin roofs,




Ohio horizons

and quiet

shades of you.



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Amber Yoder is working with Respect! Films on a documentary about the

life of Grant Morrison.  In case I haven’t mentioned it a hundred times

already, Amber is my amazing daughter.  Grant Morrison is well known as a

comic book writer.  I am just learning about him, and he seems like an

interesting person.  No doubt he is talented.  I think there will be big interest

in this film.  In July, they will be filming at a comic book convention in San

Diego, CA.  If funding comes through, they may also go to Scotland to film

Morrison in his homeland.

Check out their trailer for the documentary.

By (Sequart Films) and Respect! Films


Amber also works for Paul Devlin Productions and is an Associate Producer

for Blast! The Movie.  The theatrical performance of Blast! will premiere in

New York City on June 11-18.  Details about the DVD and locations and times

of the screenings are HERE.   In the film, Paul Devlin takes us on the journey

of a team of scientists who launch a telescope under a NASA high altitude

balloon.  The aim is to study the origins of the universe.  I’m a science lover,

so what they learn is fascinating to me.  Their struggles with instruments and

the elements also had me on the edge of my seat.


Blast! is unique, because it also follows the personal lives of the

scientists–their questions, debates, and doubts.  We don’t usually think

about the human side of scientific research, and I like this angle a lot.  It

shows us the hardships caused by time the scientists spend away from their

families.  The film also touches on discussions among the scientists about

belief in God or not.   It shows both sides of the debate in a very even handed

manner and leaves the conclusions up to the viewer.  I think it is a very

honest and exciting look into the world of science and the people who bring

science to the world.


Blast! The Movie by Paul Devlin


Paul Devlin is an excellent filmmaker.  Here’s another one of his films that I

know many people who visit this site will love.  SlamNation is a high energy

look at the world of the U.S. national poetry slam competition.  I never

thought about the controversies or drama involved with a slam competition.

Both sides make some very valid points.  Is poetry a competition to be

judged with numbers?  On the other hand, it is the art of the spoken word and

performance.  I love slam when it’s done with a good spirit, because it’s a

great way to bring poetry to the people.  It’s also a great way to introduce

young people to poetry.  Again, I like how Paul Devlin shows us the scene and

lets us make up our own minds.




I have a copy, and it is awesome.  Check out the way cool trailer.  Any

irregularities you may see here are only due to my lack of

embedding skills.  The films are top rate.


This weekend, Amber is joining her group, the NYC Film Collective, to

participate in the 48-hour Film Project.  They will draw a genre theme out

of a hat at six o’clock this evening.   Each group will have 48-hours to write,

produce, shoot, and edit a film.  A character, prop, and line of dialogue will

be announced and must be included in the film.  I can’t wait to see the

results.  You can see some more of their short films on the NYC Film

Collective link above.


This weekend, I’ll be floating in a canoe through the woods with no shoes on.

I might see a bobcat on the riverbank.  Seriously.  That is my creative world.


In many ways, Amber and I have similarities in personality.  We both have

creative energy that never stops.  But I also love the differences.  I love

how Amber has shaped her own creativity in her own unique way.  She has

taught me a lot.


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Dear Amber.  As you fly off to begin an exciting new venture, my heart flies with you.   The title of this poem is true.  You were brought into the world with one dollar and twenty five cents.   I celebrate that now.

Yes, your birth changed my life, but the changes were in ways that are so good, I cannot even begin to describe the joy.

The God-like allusions in this poem are meant to be a contrast to the scared little girl I was in the beginning.  I’m sure you know that, because you probably understand my poetry better than anyone else does.

Mothers tend to feel like they can move mountains.  But I don’t take credit for any of your successes.  You have earned them.  You.

I am so proud to be known as the mother of Amber A. Yoder, filmmaker.

Four Quarters, Two Dimes & A Nickel


And a big eyed baby, looking up at me

like I’m God, not some snot nose girl

who just turned the dresser drawers

upside down, praying for payday,

willing to sell my soul twice

for something warm to fill

those neverending eyes.


Now the cold’s creeping through

the rattle crack glass and Good Lord, I’m

down-to-the-last-potato broke but know

blues won’t make my baby girl strong.

It’s time to get moving

what’s got to get done.


So, I leap over the chasm, swim the dead sea.

Wrestle angels, throw the bolt, stop the wind, catch the key.

Rearrange the universe, drop by drop.

Bend the nail, chew the whip, pull the hunting bow taut.

Rebuild the wall with a sword in one hand.

Swat away the locusts, hoe the worn land.


Grind the chaff, roll the stone, lick the flames, kiss the ring.

Plug up my ears when the pretty moon sings.

Sweat inside the furnace, lock the jaws, lick the sores.

Kill the four horsemen, find the scrolls.


I hold the world.


Now she’s so fine, so strong,

taller than me and looking down

a new paved road.


Someday, she’ll stop and wonder

how on earth a Mama did all that

with four quarters, two dimes,

and a sticky little nickel

in the bottom of a drawer.


Right now, this story is my song.

But I’ll sing it as I move.

There’s more to be done.

-Written by Amber’s Mama


This poem was first published in storySouth.


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Amber Yoder is an Associate Producer for Paul Devlin Productions, an independent film company in New York. She is also an artist, a screenplay writer, and a filmmaker. And…you guessed it…she is my daughter. Of course, I love Amber as a mother loves a daughter. But I also admire Amber as a person and as a professional. When I hear other women complaining about their daughters, I feel sorry for them. I was blessed with Amber. I have learned so much from her.

Last spring, Amber graduated from Denison University and moved to New York City to pursue her dreams. There’s no doubt in my mind that Amber will leave a big and positive mark on the world. In the future, I will show you some more of Amber’s pieces and also some interesting video from Paul Devlin Productions.

Amber looks at the world in very unique ways, and her pieces always reflect this unique vision. In one series of art prints, she climbed inside a hole in an old tree to photograph the world from the inside out.

The following short art film is one of my favorites from Amber’s college days. It is a very thoughtful piece and quite poetic in nature. For the filming, Amber snuck into some old houses that were scheduled for demolition in an area not too far from her school. The broken picture of the American flag was a random object in the house. On the same day that Amber was filming this, I wrote the poem you will see below. I did not know her topic, and she did not know mine, at least not on a conscious level. Our connection is sometimes eerie.



by Amber Yoder




The Window Seat


by Julie Buffaloe-Yoder


Next to rain warm windows, rusty screens,

wood makes a seat wide enough

where children disappear behind curtains,

dream, maybe find last year’s pink candy

that was hidden, forgotten.


There are spots of life on old wood

gummed with the fingerprints

of some day in summer

when tiny blue butterflies

zig zagged past and June bugs

pinged on the screen.


There is always a clay figure there

molded by hard, little fingers,

spelling bee certificates,

school pictures faded stiff and maybe

cherry drops melt on sun soft wood

because a grandfather gave them

to a girl who pretended to cough.


There are curtains, fat with wind,

that smell like bacon cracking

in a big black pan.

Rows of green tomatoes

turn yellow, then red, forever

leaving circles of small stains.


A girl carved her name there

with an old pocketknife

the night she overheard

her father sobbing, and babies

have chewed that same spot

for more than a hundred years.


There might be a fly there, sun crisp,

on its back, maybe missing a wing,

not antiseptic and pretty but

a source for neverending stories.


Pennies stuck there,

once lifted,

leave faces in the wood.


There is a life there that sings

because that is what wood will do.


But when the dark storm blows,

the window will be closed.

That breath, frozen in time,

for a moment, disappears.


Eventually, old wood will be

boarded up, broken, forgotten,

replaced by pressboard.


How quickly plowed down.

Not easily sold.

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