Poems in Place – New Poems
in the Parks
Last September brought to fruition the first year of a three-year
statewide project to place poems outside in Alaska’s state parks. After a public call went out last winter, we received
over 120 Alaskan-written poetry submissions intended specifically for Chena River State Recreational Area north of Fairbanks
or Totem Bight State Historical Park in Ketchikan. From these submissions, our volunteer committee of writers, poets and State
Parks representatives choose two poems for each park.
This September, Emily Wall’s This Forest, This
Beach, You and Ernestine Hayes’ The Spoken Forest were dedicated and installed in Totem Bight State Historical
Park. Frank Soos’ poem The Blue Fish and John Haines’ Poem of the Forgotten, were placed on
permanent signs at Rose Hip Campground and outside a public use log cabin in Chena River State Recreation Area.
Emily Wall and Ernestine Hayes hosted a public poems workshop, Writing on the Wind, A Celebration of Place, at Totem Bight
State Historical Park and Peggy Shumaker and Frank Soos taught, Writing Our Places, a creative workshop held at Twin Bears
Camp in Chena River State Recreation Area.
Poems in Place encourages Alaskans to see our place with new eyes.
From January 15- April 30, 2014 we will be seeking poems previously written or written in response to the call as well as
nominations of poems written by Alaskan poets, that resonate with Independence Mine State Historical Park in Hatcher Pass
and/ or Lake Alegnagik State Recreation Site in Wood-Tikchik State Park near Dillingham.
Information about the
next round of poetry submissions will be posted later this year at this web site.
The current project grew naturally
from a poem, What Whales and Infants Know by Kim Cornwall, which was installed and dedicated at Beluga Point in Chugach
State Park in May 2011. The experience of reading this poem has been so powerful that several people have contacted us. One
visitor from Florida even wrote and asked us to please send her a copy of the poem.
For a gallery of images of the Poetry in Place installations click here
For an article about the project in the Juneau Empire click here
For an article in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, click here
For an article about the project from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, click here
Please consider becoming a part of this project, we welcome your contribution. Please make
donations by clicking the donate button below or by mailing a check to:
Poems in Place
Alaska Center for the
2104 Lincoln Avenue,
Anchorage, AK 99517
The Poems in Place project is supported
by the Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Usibelli Foundation, the Alaska
Poetry League, Alaska Center for the Book, and numerous generous individuals.