The Migratory Moment
The Migratory Moment
The Migratory Moment
The Migratory Moment
The Migratory Moment
The Migratory Moment
The Migratory Moment

The Migratory Moment

Regular price $ 16.95

The Migratory Moment is an ambiguous pairing of childhood trauma and searing self-awareness. This is a work of sustained, raw intensity.

With a foreword by David Worth –  International Filmmaker, Cinematographer and Director, Film Professor, and Author –

The Migratory Moment is an ambiguous paring of childhood trauma and searing self-awareness. Vernacular and fractured lines sift truth from fiction, crating a moving, erratic portrait of fragility and loss that spirals into "a puzzle i cannot solve." Whether the titular moment refers to the speakers sense of time on earth, the desire for flight from a destabilized world, or an implosion that results in being remake, this is a work of sustained raw intensity. Survival becomes art.

The Migratory Moment by Marnie Holt Swenson is a hybrid book of poetry, dialogue, and paintings that examines an anguished speaker’s view of her origins through memories. Vernacular and fractured lines sift truth from fiction, creating a moving, erratic portrait of fragility and loss that spirals into “a puzzle I cannot solve.” 

The book navigates between the story of a woman who believes herself to have been an unwanted birth, “a thing of despair”; the confusion of family relationships; a father’s suicide; and questions from a therapist. As the speaker confronts her own past, spiritual ambivalence and childhood scenes weave together in a dark pastiche.  
A series of oil paintings reveals the story in an oblique way. With a muted, frequently gray palette, they depict alienation. One woman holds a revolver while gazing into the distance. A reclining figure is dominated by an incubus or beast. Another, nude, is crucified, suggesting female experience as one of extremes. The most heartbreaking, Dichotomy, departs from the others, showing a red-haired woman in a sun hat seated on white steps, seemingly at ease. It is a rare, beautiful glimpse of everydayness that hints, perhaps, at reprieve from the fury the speaker in these poems inhabits. 
When distinct, clear images arise, including a blue racer snake, the writing offers a breath of air. Lines that reveal a sharper sense of craft include “i only ever saw him in dress slacks and dress shirt / mostly brown and white and black shoes and black socks and Old Spice.” A rapid succession of monosyllabic words and repetition of “s” and “b” sounds create appealing, ominous music. The use of white space is also a well-considered feature. Lines gather and swarm, extend to the margins or diminish in thoughtful ways that echo the content, though on occasion, differing font sizes and typefaces preclude a polished design. 
Whether the titular moment refers to the speaker’s sense of time on earth, the desire for flight from a destabilized world, or an implosion that results in being remade, this is a work of sustained, raw intensity. Survival becomes art. 
Reviewed by Karen Rigby – Foreword Reviews and Clarion Review. 4 Stars.  

About the Author: 

As a painter, my work is to create literal images of virtual concepts associated with words. As an author, my work is to create literal images of virtual concepts associated with images. As an artist, I consider words to be as hues, hues to be as words__ interchangeable mediums in the telling of… Born in Illinois 1946 Ms Swenson views her artistic career much as she did her work history__ all out there to be explored, experienced. Born into a family to big and to poor to care, children weren’t raised so much as just allowed to grow__ much like weeds. Right out of high school, Marnie lit out alone. She hit the open road and literally traveled on a wing and a pray__ the wing-and-pray being her thumb. She hitchhiked to California, back to New York, and then to Washington State where she stopped. Ms. Swenson graduated Western Washington State College with a teaching degree. Taught one year in the Port Angeles School District then moved on to work for AT&T as one of the phone companies 1st female cable splicers. She has also been a farm hand, housekeeper, receptionist, cocktail waitress/bartender, door-to-door magazine sales person and paid actress (having been in 27 different stage plays, local and national commercials, and industrial films). She viewed working like a laid out banquet table__ little a’this, little a’that. She views her artistic life in the same light as her employment history, and although she’s dabbled with art since the age of three, she didn’t began her serious effort into the world of fine art until the early 80s with freestanding life-size papier mache’ and mache’ reliefs of man and beast. Some of these works are with private owners and others are in public spaces. Next, she wanted to oil paint. Her painting of the Obama First Family was accepted into the Obama Presidential Library in 2010. And now__ writing. To date she has written 7 full length screenplays, published 2, one, DIXIE earned a 3 star review, and currently Kitsap Publishing is launching her book THE MIGRATORY MOMENT (a 4 star review by Foreword/Clarion) this September 8th in their new campus at 1450 NW Finn Hill Rd. Poulsbo, Washington. All of Ms. Swenson’s creations reveal primal true-ism of the human condition__ honing in on how it is we treat one another. Ms. Swenson is a self-taught artist and author.


  • IDAHO – 2007 Coeur d'Alene, ID, Edward W. Gilmore Gallery
  • CALIFORNIA – 2006 Belmont, CA “Beaux & Eros” Exhibition, Peninsula Museum of Art
  • MASSACHUSETTS 2004 Cambridge MA – Cambridge Art Association National Prize Show
  • NEW YORK 2004 Sea Cliff, NY – International Art Exhibit
  • FLORIDA – 2003 Perry, FL – Main Street Galleries, Power Invitational Art Juried Competition
  • MONTANA – 2008 St. Louis MO 2003, St. Louis Artists’ Guild, National Juried Exhibition
  • WASHINGTON, DC – 2010 Washington DC, 2010 The White House
    • Ocean Shores, WA 2006, 37th Fine Art Exhibition
    • Bremerton, WA 2005, Amy Burnett Gallery, Bremerton Heart Land
    • Silverdale, WA 2004, Old Town Art Exhibition
    • Sequim, WA 2002, Sequim Arts Juried Exhibition


  • Obama Presidential Library
  • Harrison Hospital, Bremerton and Silverdale WA
  • Adams Media Corporation, Avon MA
  • Fire Fighters I.A.F.F. Local#437
  • City of Bremerton WA
  • Peekay Corporation, Auburn WA
  • Fraternal Order of Eagles, Bremerton WA
  • Advance Cabinets, Bremerton & Tacoma WA
  • Kitsap County Human Society, Silverdale WA
  • Terry Fessner President/Owner Marine Outfitting Catalogs
  • Peninsula Museum of Art 2006
  • The Creative Index 2006
  • Organizations
  • Portrait Society of America
  • Oil Painters of America
  • Schools and Training
  • Workshop with Geoffrey Lawrence, Seattle WA 2007
  • Self-taught Artist
  • BA Western Washington State College__ 1974 Bellingham WA/ English Literature Major
  • AA Bellevue Community College__ 1972 Bellevue WA

About David Worth

David Worth has a resume of over forty feature films as a Cinematographer and Director and has worked with talents like: Clint Eastwood, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Shelly Winters, Roy Scheider, Dennis Hopper, Sondra Locke and Bruce Campbell. He has taught filmmaking at Chapman University, USC, UCLA, and is currently at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. His textbooks include, MILESTONES IN CINEMA 50 Visionary Films & Filmmakers and are available at David’s website is

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Media Coverage:


Today's headlines -- Art edition: Manette artist's portrait of Obamas nets White House thank you; Ads coming soon to a Springfield man's urns

Kimberly A.C. Wilson | The Oregonian/OregonLive

We do indeed have two must-read Northwest Headlines today.

The first comes to us via the Kitsap Sun from Manette, a sweet area in Bremerton, where last year artist Marnie Holt Swenson painted an oil portrait of President Barack Obama and his family and sent it to the White House.


Oregon Live

Last week, the White House sent a reply:

“Dear Marnie,” the letter begins, “I would like to extend my deepest thanks for your kind gift. ...”

At one point Swenson thought the painting may have been lost, or worse, ignored, but after several calls to the White House, she heard from an apologetic staffer who assured her the painting had been received and the letter — signed simply “Barack Obama” — was in the mail.

“It’s been pretty exciting actually,” Swenson said. “I know people are having moo cows about what he wants to do, but I think he’s a visionary. I’m as confused as the next person about this country, but I believe in this president, and that’s why I did the painting.”

Swenson is not the only local artist to get a nod from the Oval Office. Bremerton gallery owner Amy Burnett, who was invited to create an ornament for the White House Christmas tree in 2008, received a warm and personal note from then-First Lady Laura Bush.

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