Heather Barnes is a writer, spoken word artist, and photographer. A native of southwest Michigan, she was born in Holland, MI in 1981 and spent most of her childhood years growing up not far from there. Although Michigan has always held a special place in her heart, she has spent time in her adult years travelling the country and pursuing her interests in creative endeavors.

Heather lived in San Francisco, CA for a while where she attended Academy of Art University. It was there she studied Fine Art Photography and fell in love with street portraits. This, combined with her love of words, inspired the beginning of her One Word Project. In addition to taking photos of others, Heather also did a collection of self portraits that were submitted and selected to be part of a larger art showcase.

Heather also lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she graduated from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, majoring in English and Film Studies. A two time recipient of the UCARE grant, her interests of study ranged from Romanian Cinema to Female Representation in comic books. Her love of comic books made her time spent as Editor-at-Large for a site focused on superheroes a blast.

Writing has always been a passion of Heather’s and, as a self-described hopeless romantic, poetry has always held a certain appeal. She wrote and published a collection of haiku called Boys I Used to Know... This collection tells the tale of some of her dating experiences (mostly humorous, although some are dark and some slightly tragic) in the form of haiku.

Lincoln is also the place that Heather first discovered and fell in love with Slam Poetry. A lover of poetry already, Heather was particularly taken with the way slam took the words off the page and brought them to life for an audience. Starting off as an audience member, and then a judge, Heather eventually worked her way into competing in slams, and even took first place in both Lincoln and Omaha slams. The importance of this medium to form connections and its ability to help artists share their stories with the world inspired Heather to start her own slam. Named SO WHAT SLAM, it ran most of the 2016 year with Heather as Slammaster. Heather was also asked to coach a Louder Than A Bomb high school slam poetry team with the Nebraska Writer’s Collective, which she was excited to be a part of.

After the slam, Heather turned her attention to writing her first novel. She participated in the 2016 NaNoWriMo. Left with many novel ideas still to be written, Heather was excited to spend more time on this part of her writing. The focus of her efforts shifted back to photography and novel writing.

While in Lincoln Heather has discovered and developed her passion for community and building authentic connections with those she shares the planet with. It is this passion that has led her to volunteer at and work closely with a local nonprofit whose primary goal is the building of inclusive free community events and the spreading of the arts.

Heather is always writing and coming up with other creative things she wants to do. Her projects are many and she can't wait to share them all with the world. A few are highlighted below.

Heather's Projects

Boys I Used to Know...
A collection of Haiku

Heather's first book, this haiku collection is available for sale on Amazon!

One Word Project

This is a collection of people photographed spontaneously with the one word they felt described them. This project is not yet complete, but you can view some of the photos in the gallery.


Heather was the Slam Master of the SO WHAT SLAM, which focused on demonstrating that poetry can be fun to write and perform as well as to watch. The SO WHAT SLAM encouraged writers of all ages and levels to come share their stories. More information about the slam can be found at www.SoWhatSlam.com

Poetry Videos & Recordings

Video and audio recordings of Heather’s poetry, some of which have been performed at poetry slams.