UA Program Merges Poetry and the Outdoors

The UA Poetry Center invites the Tucson community for a hike focused on poetry and ecology to be held Saturday, Nov. 13.
Nov. 10, 2010
Extra Info: 

Registration is required to participate in Poetry Goes for a Hike. Visit the Poetry Center's site, or call 520-626-3765. The program costs $75 and the transportation fee is $8.

 

What: 
Poetry Goes For a Hike
When: 
Saturday, Nov. 13
Where: 
Meet at the Poetry Center at 7:30 a.m. (RSVP required)
Wendy Burk and Eric Magrane share an affinity for poetry and hiking and worked together to introduce a program at the UA Poetry Center to involve others in writing about the outdoors.
Wendy Burk and Eric Magrane share an affinity for poetry and hiking and worked together to introduce a program at the UA Poetry Center to involve others in writing about the outdoors.

Wendy Burk and Eric Magrane, University of Arizona alumni, shared a strong interest in poetry and hiking and have written about the outdoors, so they worked together to create a program that merges the two.  

The result is Poetry Goes for a Hike, a program that allows writers to take a new lead in poetry with the fresh air around them.

Open to poets of all levels, the program offers a little bit of exercise and a little bit of instruction, stressing an appreciation of both ecology and poetry.

"It's an excellent way to pay attention to the world around us and see things in a different perception," said Burk, a library specialist with the UA Poetry Center who earned her graduate degree from the UA creative writing program. 

The Poetry Center program, now in its second year, is open to the campus community and general public and begins Saturday, Nov. 13.

The cost is $75 with an $8 transportation fee and, when registered, participants will receive a list of materials to bring such as water bottles, hiking shoes, snacks and appropriate clothing to wear.

Burk and Magrane, a senior hiking guide at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, will lead the hike, where participants will be encouraged to write about the outdoors. Both will guide participants through each trail, teaching them the importance of the ecology of the desert and how to write about it. 

The group will meet at the Poetry Center, located at 1508 E. Helen St., at 7:30 a.m., carpool to a site to hike for for three to five miles, completing the program by 1 p.m. A location will be announced prior to the event and is contingent upon weather conditions.

The day will consist of making way through numerous trails, followed by different writing exercises. Exercises may include collaborating with one another by comparing and contrasting notes, sharing different views of the outside desert or walking in silence while trying to generate ideas to write about.

"Those who join us can expect to finish the hike both physically and mentally invigorated and refreshed, with a renewed vision of both poetry and the desert," said Magrane, who has taught a class on ways to use poetry to explore ecological issues at the UA Poetry Center. 

After the hike, participants will have a follow-up workshop Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 6-8 p.m. at the UA Poetry Center to discuss their writings generated along the hike.

The purpose is to get people out into the desert and into poetry, Magrane said.

"Poetry is often thought of as a solitary inside pursuit," he said, "however, we'll turn that on its heels and show people how the trails are an inspirational place for poetry."