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Words of Preservation: A Poets Laureate National Park Tour with Karla K. Morton and Alan Birkelbach

October 18, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Texas Poets Laureate Karla K. Morton and Alan Birkelbach, both award-winning writers with twelve (Morton) and eleven (Birkelbach) published books, kicked off a joint 3-year project titled Words of Preservation: A Poets Laureate National Parks Tour last year during the National Park System’s 100-year anniversary. They will visit 50 or more of the 59 U.S. National Parks during the tour, documenting their journey through poetry and photography, ultimately creating one or more books, to help celebrate the NEXT 100 years. Their plan is to donate a percentage of sales to the National Park Service.

The poets kicked off the tour with an NPR Wyoming interview and an inspirational visit to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons National Park. Next, they visited Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Mesa Verde National Park, Channel Islands National Park and Joshua Tree National Park. In February, they traveled to Dry Tortugas in Florida, followed by spring trips to Guadalupe Mountains in Texas and Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. In the summer of 2017, they visited the Badlands National Park and Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota, then Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado and three National Parks in Alaska (Denali, Wrangell and Glacier Bay). In October, they will travel to Acadia National Park in Maine plus Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, followed by the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in November. Follow Karla on Facebook for updates and photos of their latest adventures and their 2018 travel and speaking schedule. On each leg of the journey, the poets are conducting media interviews and speaking at the parks, universities, public libraries, bookstores and/or coffee shops, sharing their poetry and talking about the creative process, their roles as Texas Poets Laureate, their National Parks Tour and answering questions about poetry, writing and, of course, Texas.

The initial spark to do something like this hit Karla when she was at a national conference and learned that 2016 would be 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. A year later, while she was working on her book Accidental Origami in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the idea took formation. Like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and John Muir, Morton and Birkelbach hope to contribute to the exploration, preservation and protection of our country’s National Parks for the next 100 years.


October 18, 2017
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Jesup Memorial Library
34 Mt. Desert Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609 United States
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(207) 288-4245


Jesup Memorial Library
(207) 288-4245