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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 texts of the Poems in Place poems click here.
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.
To leave a comment about Poems in Place, 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 Book
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.        

Alaska Center for the Book
3600 Denali Street
Anchorage, AK 99503