Poems in Place


Poems in Place is a project with the goal of placing poems, written by Alaskan writers, in each of the seven regions of the Alaska State Park’s system in the coming years. What might happen when the old knowing that lives inside poetry marries the voices of wind, river, forest, the pull of the tide, or the quiet rhythm of a lake and is available to all who pass by?

In the first year of the project, in 2013, poems were installed in two locations: one in Chena River State Recreation Area, above Fairbanks, and another at Totem Bight State Historical Park in Ketchikan. For 2014 poems were placed at Independence Mine State Historical Park at Hatcher Pass and at Lake Aleknagik State Recreation Site/Wood-Tikchik State Park near Dillingham. In 2015, poems were placed at Fort Abercrombie State Park, Kodiak and at Caines Head, near Seward.

For each placement, we invite nominated poems written by Alaskan poets and submitted by appreciative readers as well as original work by Alaskan poets in response to this invitation. Coinciding with the selected poem’s dedication, community poems-in-place creative writing workshops will be held.

Poems in Place offers residents and visitors to Alaska the chance to pause in the landscape, enter the realm of a poem and find something that speaks to them there.

The project grew naturally from a poem, What Whales and Infants Know by Kim Cornwall, that 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 list of all the poems installed through the Poems in Place project visit this page.

Poems in Place is supported by Alaska State Parks, Alaska Center for the Book, the Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska State Council on the Arts, Alaska Humanities Forum, the Usibelli Foundation, Alaska Poetry League, and numerous generous individuals.

Letter from Poems in Place Coordinator