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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
Poetry and Nature Meet at Ijams in Letters to the Earth
September 12, 2013 - Poets have always found metaphors, inspiration and revelation in the natural world. That includes poets in East Tennessee, who have long drawn on the local landscape, flora and fauna. You can hear some of the finest current voices in that lineage at a special event at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22nd, at Ijams Nature Center.

"Letters to the Earth: Songs and Poems of Conservation" will feature six acclaimed writers reading and performing their work: Jesse Graves, Marilyn Kallet, Jeff Daniel Marion, Linda Parsons Marion, R.B. Morris and Arthur Smith. The event is free and is sponsored by the City of Knoxville and Ijams Nature Center, as a prelude to next month's Centennial Conservation Expo at Chilhowee Park.

"Poetry has long been in love with nature, and our words and songs tenderly embrace the world around us," said Kallet, the Director of Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. "Our poems forge connections among ourselves and others, between us and the environment that we seek to conserve. Our songs are diverse -- some of us are urban, some of us were raised on farmland or near rivers. All share in caring for the natural world that is endangered. Poetry is a way of gardening, giving a chance to protect the green shoots that peek through the rubble."

"Letters to the Earth" will be held at Ijams' Visitors Center, 2915 Island Home Ave.

Related Events

The Centennial Conservation Expo will be held on Saturday, Oct. 12th, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., to mark the 100th anniversary of the National Conservation Exposition of 1913, also held at Chilhowee Park. Sponsored by the City of Knoxville, it will feature educational and historical displays and presentations for the whole family, children's games and activities, live music, circus performers, boxing exhibitions at the Golden Gloves Arena, and more. Free parking and admission.

Also coming up in the next few weeks are these conservation- and history-themed events:

  • At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19th, at the East Tennessee History Center (601 S. Gay St.) the Knox County Public Library will present "A Fair and Scruffy City: How Two Expos Shaped Who We Are." The program of talks, slideshows and videos will examine the legacy for Knoxville of two major events: the National Conservation Exposition of 1913 and the World's Fair of 1982. It will also feature excerpts from the documentary Where's the Fair?, which is screening in full on Friday, Sept. 20th, as part of the Knoxville Film Festival.

  • At 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29th, SOCM is sponsoring a Guided Bicycle Tree Tour, in partnership with Kickstand, a local bicycle collective. Kasey Krouse, the City of Knoxville's first Urban Forester, will lead this bicycle tour of notable trees in Knoxville's historic neighborhoods. Cyclists will meet at the Birdhouse, 800 N. 4th Ave. The tour will take about two hours. The tour is free, but space is limited. RSVP: Katie Greer, 865-249-7488 or katie@socm.org.

  • And from 1-5 p.m. on Oct. 12th, the day of the Expo, the Parkridge Community Organization will host the "Barber Houses of Parkridge Home Tour." This will showcase late-19th century homes designed by well-known Victorian-era architect George Barber. There will be a walking tour, including some open houses. Located between I-40 and Magnolia Avenue in East Knoxville, the Parkridge neighborhood has one of the largest concentrations of George Barber houses in Knoxville. (Barber's son, Charles Barber, helped design buildings for the 1913 National Conservation Exposition, and went on to form the Barber McMurry architecture firm in 1915.) Watch the City's website for more details.
  • For Immediate Release
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