Poets in the Park

The Poets in the Parks Residency, inaugurated in spring 2013, offers the opportunity to pursue writing in the natural settings of Missouri’s state parks. Missouri writers have described and celebrated the state's natural and cultural landscapes for nearly two centuries, drawing on the rivers, forests, prairies, hills and mountains for inspiration. Their poems, essays, and books have helped focus the world’s attention on Missouri and her rich natural and cultural heritage, creating an appreciation of the outdoors through the art of the written world. It is the purpose of the residency to continue this partnership of words and landscapes and to share the written outcome with the public as a way to deepen the understanding and appreciation of Missouri’s state parks, history and environment. The program also helps to broaden the connections between writing and the land, support the humanities and their place in our daily lives, and increase the public’s awareness of and support for the stewardship of Missouri’s natural landscapes, historic sites, and state parks.

Each year, writers may apply for a residency of two to five days in a Missouri state park. They will be provided with housing which may be a cabin or motel room along with a modest stipend to defray the cost of food and travel to the park. They will have use of park facilities as available. Residencies may be scheduled between April 1 and October 31. A reception for the poets will be held the following spring at Ellis Library at the University of Missouri or another appropriate location, where they will introduce their work to the public; poets will be asked to allow publication of two poems inspired by Missouri state parks.

The residency is a cooperative effort of Missouri State Parks, the Missouri Humanities Council, MU Libraries, and the Missouri Parks Association.

Click here to read Patrick Overton's report and poem from his residency in Arrow Rock.

Click here to read a new poem by Jo Schaper about Arrow Rock.