Writing workshops and poetry dedications in state parks Sept. 8, 15
Events scheduled at Chena River State Recreation Area and Totem Bight State Historical Park
(Anchorage, AK) – Signs bearing poems written by Alaskans will be installed and dedicated at Totem Bight State Historical Park at 3 p.m. on Sept. 8 and the Chena River State Recreation Area at 1 p.m. on Sept. 15, as part of the Poems in Place project. The public is invited to attend the dedications as well as writing workshops that will be held at the two parks in conjunction with the dedications.
The two poems to be installed at Totem Bight State Historical Park are “This Forest, This Beach, You,” by Emily Wall and “The Spoken Forest,” by Ernestine Hayes. Wall and Hayes, both of Juneau, will lead a creative writing workshop titled “Writing on the Wind: A Celebration of Place” at Totem Bight State Historical Park on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The workshop is free and open to all.
The two poems to be installed at the Chena River State Recreation Area are “The Blue Fish,” by Frank Soos, and “Poem of the Forgotten,” by the late John Haines, both of Fairbanks. Soos and former state poet laureate Peggy Shumaker will lead a creative writing workshop titled “Writing our Places” Saturday, September 14 from 1-3:30 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 15, from 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. The workshops are open to anyone age 14 or older and will be held at the Twin Bear Camp at Mile 30 of the Chena Hot Springs Road.
Alaska State Parks, the Alaska Center for the Book, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, and a steering committee of Alaskan writers and poets began the Poems in Place project in 2011 to celebrate the connection many Alaskans have with the natural beauty of Alaska’s state parks. Their first project was the 2011 installation of the poem “What Whales and Infants Know,” by the late Kim Cornwall, at Beluga Point in Chugach State Park.
In 2012, the Alaska Center for the Book launched a statewide contest for Alaskans to submit poems to install at Totem Bight State Historical Park and the Chena River State Recreation Area. “The Poems in Place steering committee selected four winning entries from a generous and diverse outpouring of poems received from Alaskans”, said Wendy Erd, the Poems in Place project coordinator.
The Poems in Place project will again be seeking poems by Alaskans in 2013-2014 for installation in the Southwestern and Mat-Su/ Copper River park regions. Information about the new round of poetry submissions will be posted later this year at http://www.alaskacenterforthebook.org/id112.html.
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.
DNR Division of Parks & Outdoor Rec press release