Georgia Poetry in the Parks is a collaboration between the Georgia Center for the Book, the DeKalb Library Foundation, and Georgia Poet Laureate Chelsea Rathburn. This program is made possible by the Academy of American Poets with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Georgia Poetry in the Parks places poems by contemporary Georgia writers along park trails to encourage individuals and families exploring Georgia’s green spaces to stop and reflect on their environment and the power of language. Many of the stops on the poetry trails include creative prompts for people interested in writing poems or narratives of their own. At various points in the year, the poetry trails will be supplemented by readings and workshops, some to be held virtually and some outdoors, in COVID-safe spaces.
The concept of Georgia Poetry in the Parks came about in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, when many Georgian families began exploring the outdoors to relieve the frustrations of virtual schooling and working from home. Georgia Poet Laureate Chelsea Rathburn was considering opportunities for encounters with poetry in the absence of live, in-person poetry readings; meanwhile, many Georgia libraries began implementing outdoor programming, including children’s book StoryWalks®. Joe Davich, Executive Director of the Georgia Center for the Book, and Ally StoneWright, the Center for the Book’s Program Assistant, began brainstorming ways to bring poetry outdoors with Rathburn, and Georgia Poetry in the Parks was born.