Vo l . 6 N o . 2
F E ATU R E
Cynthia Lee Sims
The final poets and poems to be placed by the Poems in Place project have just been announced.
Poems Mark Place When driving south out of Anchorage, we always stop. We get out, take a picture, upload to Facebook with the line, “Stopping by poem,” and think about how these place marking poems, gems cut to fit, will remain in their settings, long after the poets are gone. ~ Sandra Kleven
Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park, Kodiak “The Compass Rose” by Fred Stager “Tideline” by Leslie Leyland Fields Caines Head State Recreational Area, Seward “A Soldier’s Station” by Aleria Jensen “Pilgrims” by Justine Pechuzal
Poems arising from place have found permanent homes in Alaska landscapes. So far, they can be found next to roads or trails in State Parks near Ketchikan, Fairbanks, Palmer, Dillingham, and Anchorage. In September four new poems will be paired with photographs under the artful hands of the state park’s designer, then burnished into metal to stand before waterways and forests in Kodiak and Seward (see announcement above right).
What Whales and Infants Know By Kim Cornwall A beluga rising from the ocean’s muddy depths reshapes its head to make a sound or take a breath.
Beluga Point, Turnagain Arm, Alaska
I want to come
along with its epigram, “Beluga Point, Turnagain Arm” came to mind and it “became very clear that the poem needed to be there.”
at air and light like this. To make my heart a white arc above the muck of certain days, and from silence and strange air
In 2011, Cornwall’s poem became the first “poem in place” just off the Seward highway, where in 2015, it continues to connect with travelers from around the world. Arlene Cornwall, the poet’s mother says:
send a song
“Kim was such an amazing and talented person and to be able to share her love of poetry with others has been so healing for me.” ~~~ Wendy Erd, Charlotte Fox, former director of Alaska State Council for the Arts and Claire LeClair, deputy director of Alaska State Parks imagined expanding the Poem in Place project hoping to seed poems across Alaska. Working with the Alaska Center for the Book, and a volunteer
to breach the surface where what we most need lives. One morning, Wendy Erd was out running in Homer not long after her friend, poet Kim Cornwall, had passed away. Suddenly Kim’ s poem, “What Whales and Infants Know”
A Journal for the North Pacific Rim