Poetry in Parks

Seven photos in a row of national park sites featuring waterfalls, redwood trees, cacti, lakes, meadows, and seashore.

Poetry in Parks is an initiative to install poetry on picnic tables in seven national parks. As public works of art, the picnic tables will each feature a historic American poem selected by the 24th U.S. National Poet Laureate, Ada Limón. Limón selected the poems to encourage visitors to pay deeper attention to their surroundings. Limón will travel to each of the parks in the summer and fall of 2024 to unveil the new installations.

I want to champion the ways reading and writing poetry can situate us in the natural world. Never has it been more urgent to feel a sense of reciprocity with our environment, and poetry’s alchemical mix of attention, silence, and rhythm gives us a reciprocal way of experiencing nature—of communing with the natural world through breath and presence.”
-U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón

Unveiling Events

U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón will travel to seven national parks in the summer and fall of 2024 to unveil each new installation for the Poetry in Parks project.

Information for each unveiling event will be added here as available. The location of each picnic table will be shared on NPS.gov around the time of each unveiling event.

  • Cape Cod National Seashore, MA - June 14, 2024 | "Can You Imagine" by Mary Oliver
  • Mount Rainier National Park, WA - June 21, 2024 | "Uppermost" by A. R. Ammons
  • Redwood National and State Parks, CA - June 23, 2024 | "Never Alone" by Francisco X. Alarcón
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH - July 12, 2024 | "The valley" by Jean Valentine
  • Everglades National Park, FL - October 8, 2024 | "Ecology" by June Jordan
A woman in a blue dress with yellow flowers stands in a garden area next to a stone building.

"You Are Here" Poet Laurete Project

Poetry in Parks is the first partnership between the National Park Service, Library of Congress, U.S. National Poet Laureate, and Poetry Society of America. The initiative is one half of Ada Limón’s signature project titled, “You Are Here.” The project also includes an anthology of original poems by 50 contemporary American poets. Learn more about Ada Limón’s “You Are Here” project.

Ada Limón is the 24th U.S. Poet Laureate. Her two-term appointment began July 2022 and will conclude in April 2025. Limón addressed the honor on her appointment, “I am humbled by this opportunity to work in the service of poetry and to amplify poetry's ability to restore our humanity and our relationship to the world around us.”

Limón was born in Sonoma, California, in 1976 and is of Mexican ancestry. She is the author of six poetry collections, including “The Carrying,” which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in 2018. Read more about Ada Limón from the Library of Congress.

A woman, man, and child read a poem on a sign next to a trail.
A family reads a poem on a trail in Olympic National Park.

North Olympic Library System

Connecting to Nature through Art

Awe-inspiring artworks have and continue to inspire Americans to visit and experience their national parks. Similarly, art within national parks invites us to consider the meanings and values of nature through our experiences, resulting in a deepened connection to nature.

“Ada Limón’s signature project will help us connect more personally to America’s greatest parks as well as show how the poets of our time capture the natural world in their own lives.” -Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden

National parks offer an inclusive space for artists to create works that reflect their individual experience of the landscape. Poetry has a particular ability to traverse time and space and lead us deeper into an awareness of the rich and diverse lands that are our national parks.

Learn more about the historic and present-day role of arts in national parks.

Last updated: March 6, 2024