In my role as community catalyst and coordinator I rarely have the time and distance to reflect on the many threads that the human and natural history tapestries woven during a Poetry of the Wild community project have. At the beginning of this new year, a fine and expansive article on Poetry of the Wild written by Professor Suzanne MacAulay appeared in the Journal of Literature and Art Studies. The article is titled Communities and the Poetic Imaginary: A Folklore Essay on the Poetry of the Wild Project. Dr MacAulay who knows the project well from being one of the patrons when it was installed in Colorado Springs in 2006, to studying it as an art historian and folklorist, has identified many cultural parameters addressed by Poetry of the Wild. Some of the parameters she highlights include environmental aesthetics, cultural identity, poetic sensibilities, communal creative actions, and sense of place. Reading Dr MacAulay’s analysis confirms the value of orchestrating creative platforms for communities to connect with their places in a reflective, affirming, and tactile manner. At the core of Poetry of the Wild’s philosophy is making an excuse to walk and reflect by having to go out and find the poetry boxes. Too often in our contemporary culture our engagement with the natural landscape is replaced by the virtual landscape. This project reminds communities of the simple and transformative powers of walking.
This month I also began the book project for Poetry of the Wild. Its time to bring together the many voices of place that I’ve been so fortunate to work with and learn from. Curating the history, poems, and artwork from this project will generate its own new challenges, long walks will undoubtedly help me in unraveling the thoughts and shaping the book.