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Poems of place sought for Alaska's State Parks

Posted: January 31, 2013 - 1:00am
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"What Whales and Infants Know," by Kim Cornwall.  Courtesy of Wendy Erd
Courtesy of Wendy Erd
"What Whales and Infants Know," by Kim Cornwall.

Alaskan poets have been invited to submit poems for a new project, Poems in Place, that will place permanent signs containing original Alaskan poetry in seven regions of the Alaska State Park system.

The first phase of Poems in Place is now underway; submissions are being gathered through March 15 for poetry to be placed at Totem Bight State Historical Park in Ketchikan and Chena River State Recreation Area in Fairbanks. 

Two poems a year are scheduled to be placed in state parks every year through 2015.

The project’s organizers seek up to three original poems by Alaskan writers, as well as poems written by Alaskan poets that have been nominated by readers. Poets are encouraged to interpret place broadly, as natural, cultural or spiritual space.

Poems in Place is a collaboration between Alaska Center for the Book, Alaska State Parks, a committee of poets and writers and other residents of Alaska. Director and coordinator Wendy Erd said the project was inspired by an existing poetry installation at Beluga Point in Chugach State Park. That poem, “What Whales and Infants Know” by Kim Cornwall, was installed in May 2011, and since then has generated a great deal of public interest, from visitors and locals alike.

The project is supported by Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Usibelli Foundation, the Alaska Poetry League, Alaska Center for the Book, and numerous individuals.

An honorarium of $150 will be paid to the winning poet for each selected poem. The winning poems will be announced May 31, and installation of the sign is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 15.

For more information, contest rules and entry forms, visit www.alaskacenterforthebook.org/id112.html.

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