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Alaska poems chosen for Totem Bight and Chena River state park installations

(Anchorage, AK) – Four poems by Alaska writers have been selected for installation on permanent signs in Ketchikan and Fairbanks state parks, as part of Poems in Place, a collaborative project to install poetry in state parks throughout Alaska.

Later this summer or early fall, Emily Wall’s poem, “This Forest, This Beach, You,” and Ernestine Hayes’ poem, “The Spoken Forest,” will be installed in Totem Bight State Historical Park in Ketchikan. Frank Soos’ poem, “The Blue Fish,” and the late John Haines’ “Poem of the Forgotten,” will be installed in the Chena River State Recreational Area near Fairbanks. Wall and Hayes are poets who live in Juneau. Soos is from the Fairbanks area. Haines, a former state poet laureate, homesteaded southeast of Fairbanks.

Alaska State Parks, the Alaska Center for the Book, and a steering committee of Alaskan writers, poets, and other Alaskans, 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 in the Totem Bight State Historical Park in Ketchikan and the Chena River State Recreation Area in Fairbanks. The Poems in Place steering committee recently 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 next 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.   

  

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