"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

23 August 2016


Nature poetry has a rich heritage in the United States and is always being written anew as our relationship with nature evolves. Our national parks have also long partnered with artists through residencies, exhibitions, and public programs to take the subjects of nature, culture, and self and portray and investigate them together in unique ways for the broad public. The 2016 centennial anniversary of the National Park Service is an especially fitting moment to expand both of these traditions. The concept behind this project draws inspiration from poetry as a powerful yet intimate art form that can capture how we perceive the world around us always through language. It is also rooted in installation and performance art, which bring surprising encounters in the everyday world. Where park visitors expect signs to be informational, authoritarian, scientific, or historical, here, poetry reverses that and offers a subjective version of the same content. The poetic signs also explore what it means to commune with nature in places like national parks with other people and with wildlife, how officialdom and administrators also "see and feel" nature with us, and how contemporary poetry and art continue to experiment with addressing the natural world in our time.


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