Poetry Trails: 28 Photos

Finding Poetry Under the Open Sky

Editorial note: Inside the January 2013 print edition, five poets pay tribute to poetry trails throughout the United States: 

“Lift This New Glimpse That You Found”

The William Stafford Path | Lake Oswego, Oregon
Kim Stafford


“Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do”

Poetry Trail in Greenway Meadows | Princeton, New Jersey
Scott & Hella McVay


Words from the Earth’s Wild Bounty

The Milwaukee County Zoo | Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Pattiann Rogers


The Life of Water

Herman Hill Park Water Center | Wichita, Kansas
Albert Goldbarth


A Literary Add-a-Pearl Necklace

Oaken Transformations | Brighton, Michigan
Susan Blackwell Ramsey


Scroll through the gallery and links above to take a virtual tour of each trail. Pattiann Rogers introduces the theme below.

Poetry read alone from a book indoors is one kind of experience. Hearing poetry recited aloud in a classroom or an auditorium is another kind of experience. And encountering poetry outside under the open sky, surrounded by the sensations of the living earth, birds calling, the buzzing of insects, perhaps a leaf blown across the words or shadows moved by the wind over the lines, grasses rustling in the sun, the sound of a creek nearby—this is another way of meeting and experiencing poetry. Collected here are the descriptions of five trails along which poetry appears at locations specifically designed for their enjoyment. Each trail is unique. Each came into being in a different way in a different region of the United States. Along these trails, people, poetry, and the earth meet, reflect, and enhance one another. This concert is an art unlike any other.

Pattiann Rogers