Vo l . 6 N o . 2 Emily Wall is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau and has published two poetry collections, Freshly Rooted and Liveaboard;. Ernestine Hayes, author of Blonde Indian: An Alaska Native Memoir and professor at UA Southeast, is a Native American (Tlingit) memoirist and an active supporter of Native rights and decolonization. Emily Wall and Ernestine Hayes are both past Cirque contributors. In this issue, see Wall’s interview with Fairbanks poet, John Morgan. Poems by Frank Soos and John Haines, were placed at the Chena River State Recreational Area, near Fairbanks. Soos’ poem “The Blue Fish,” appears at Rose Hip Campground. Frank, a retired UAF English professor, is Alaska’s current Poet Laureate. Soos wrote the poem, a reference to the Arctic Char, “specifically to go along the river.” “Poem of the Forgotten,” by former Alaska Laureate the late John Haines, was nominated and submitted by a friend and admirer of Haines. It was placed at the North Fork Cabin at mile 47.8 on the Chena Hot Springs Road. John Haines, a prolific writer and likely Alaska’s most wellknown poet, taught creative writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Haines died in 2011. A painting of a birch tree by Alaskan artist Kessler Woodward is paired with Haines’ poem.
The Blue Fish
by Frank Soos
In a land where every spring Makes this river new, Few things grow old. The blue fish, its body, once a Narrow gray torpedo, transformed— Indigo, calico, the many Ways blue is blue−changed by Time alone, its turquoise splashed Dorsal flag, its pectoral fins, shot through With rays of black and orange. We’d like to think it got that way Through its fishy wisdom, but, really, It got that way just by living. The first fish I ever caught Here was a blue fish. I held it in my hand, Wonder-struck, then let it go—I didn’t Know. I come here often. I come back, Hoping to catch another.
A poem by Tom Sexton, “Independence Mine, August,” was placed in 2014 above the mine buildings at Independence Mine State Historical Park, north of Palmer. Sexton was Alaska’s Poet Laureate from 1994 to 2000. “The Wisdom of the Old Ones,” by artist and writer Tim Troll, is now at the Lake Aleknagik State Recreational Site near Dillingham. Troll, who says he writes “a little,” based his poem, in part, on a local Yup’ik story about monsters that lived in underwater caves in area lakes. Wendy Erd noted that poems happened upon in a park will be read by people who might never crack a book of poetry. One park ranger was so taken by the interpretive power of Troll’s poem that he wanted to place “Wisdom of the Old Ones” at a second site. A second copy of the poem is now planned for Agulapak, an old fishing and cultural site within the more remote Wood-Tikchik State Park, a place visited by kayakers and fly-in fishermen. Tourists who come across the poems have followed up
Chena River State Recreation Area Rose Hip Campground
A Journal for the North Pacific Rim