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Images from the participating NPS parks
Photo credit: National Park Service

Here Comes Summer—and “Poetry in Parks!”

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It’s June, and our office is gearing up for the launch of U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón’s “You Are Here: Poetry in Parks” initiative, featuring visits to some of our country’s most breathtaking national parks to celebrate site-specific poetry installations. Each park will unveil a picnic table featuring a historic American poem that connects in a meaningful way to the location—and, as Ada says, deepens our connection to nature through poetry.

An image of a "Poetry in Parks" picnic table with Mary Oliver poem featured.
Photo credit: National Park Service

On the Poetry Society of America website you can see all of the historic poems featured in the initiative, as well as hear our laureate reading the poems. If you want to see Ada in person, check out the schedule of her “Poetry in Parks” visits on the National Park Service website.

On Friday, June 14, we kick off the initiative at the Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts. Join Ada at 10:00am EST at Beech Forest Trailhead for a ribbon cutting for our picnic table, featuring Mary Oliver’s poem “Can You Imagine?” followed by a ranger-led walk around the trail—a favorite of Oliver’s, who lived in the Provincetown area for over 50 years. Bring your walking shoes.

A photo of Beech Forest and Beech Forest pond in the fall.
Beech Forest. Photo credit: National Park Service/Jesse Mechling.

That evening we celebrate the “Poetry in Parks” initiative at the famed Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown—which hosted Ada as a Fellow in 2001-2002. At 5:00pm EST the laureate will read all seven poems featured at participating national parks, and there will a book signing afterwards. If you can’t make it there, no worries: the event will be livestreamed.

The John Muir stairs that lead to Paradise in front of Mount Rainier.
The John Muir stairs that lead to Paradise in front of Mount Rainier. Photo credit: National Park Service.

A week after the Cape Cod kickoff, Ada and the team will make our West Coast “Poetry in Parks” tour. Come join Ada at Paradise (really!) during the Summer Equinox and the official start to the season, at Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington State. We’re hoping the mountain is out on June 21st at 5:00pm WST for the event, at the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center and featuring the A. R. Ammons poem “Uppermost.” Two days later, we’ll be at Redwoods National and State Parks in California. Redwoods is named after the iconic tree, but for the “Poetry in Parks” public event we’ll be back to the seashore: namely, the Crescent Beach Day Use Area at 3:00pm WST. Come say hello to the Pacific with us and hear Ada read Francisco X. Alarcón’s poem “Never Alone.”

A photo of Crescent Beach.
Crescent Beach. Photo credit: National Park Service/B. Marciniec.

At the end of the month, I’ll fill you in on our trips and let you know about what’s to come. I hope to see you soon at one of the above.




Comments (2)

  1. With many thanks & loads of gratitude for putting nature & poetry at the top of the list. On behalf of our healing planet during a most challenging time, here, there & everywhere, please know of our appreciation. Words matter.

  2. What a awesome idea! I look forward to hearing about all the stops of the tour!

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