Chicana Poet, Educator, and Activist is Gettysburg’s new Artist-in-Residence

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Date: September 11, 2017
Contact: Katie Lawhon, 717-338-4402

Gettysburg National Military Park’s first “Poets in the Parks,” Artist-in-Residence will be Los Angeles Poet Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo. Bermejo has published poetry in the American Poetry Review, crazyhorse, Calyx, and Acentos Review, among others. Bermejo’s latest collection of poems is “Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge.”

Her Gettysburg residency begins on September 15. On October 6, during Gettysburg’s First Friday, she will showcase her work at the David Wills House, in downtown Gettysburg, from 5 to 8 p.m. During this event, the exhibits at David Wills House will be open free to the public. 

With a national debate currently raging about the sensitive issues regarding the representation and memorial of Civil War trauma and history, the National Park Service’s role in recognizing and fostering a democratic and participatory dialogue through the arts has never been more important. The tensions between commemoration, memory and history are issues that Gettysburg National Military Park’s rangers address year-round. They are no strangers to these questions.

Neither is Ms. Bermejo, who combines an ability to channel both the spirit of a place, and its voices, as well as articulate questions of memory, trauma and history in the most intimate way. She works as close to the bone as possible, often by going to what she, with a matter of fact lucidity, calls war-zones. Says Bermejo: “I believe I'm a location poet. I believe I gain inspiration from being in a location and walking in the setting of a place.”

“Gettysburg National Military Park has offered inspiration to artists for more than 150 years,” said Bill Justice, acting superintendent at Gettysburg National Military Park. “The Artist-in-Residence program continues the tradition begun by artists like Alexander Gardner, Alfred Waud, and Gutzon Borglum, while simultaneously engaging our visitors and telling this story in new and compelling ways." 

This is the first Artist-in-Residence that is expressly designed and curated in coordination with the Poetry Foundation of Chicago to raise the profile of Poetry as a vibrant and modern way to do public art. The program is offered thanks to the input and support of the National Park Service and the Gettysburg Foundation and the partnership with the Poetry Foundation, whose joint efforts make the park the foremost visitor destination for those interested in the epic history of the American Civil War.

Gettysburg National Military Park preserves, protects and interprets for this and future generations the resources associated with the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, during the American Civil War, the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and their commemorations. Learn more at www.nps.gov/gett.

The National Parks Arts Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the promotion of the National Parks of the U.S. by creating dynamic opportunities for artworks that are based in our natural and historic heritage. This project is supported by the Gettysburg Foundation and other generous benefactors. All NPAF programs are made possible through the philanthropic support of donors ranging from corporate sponsors and small businesses, to art patrons and citizens- lovers of the parks. For more information go to www.nationalparksartsfoundation.org.

For more information about Bermejo’s First Friday presentation call 717-334-1124.



Last updated: September 18, 2017

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