Calling all poets 

Whistler’s newest public art project encourages poets to get writing

Poets are invited to bring their prose and haiku out from the dark corners of their journals and into the public spotlight with the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s newest public art project, Poet’s Pause.

“Writers don’t often find a place in public art because it’s usually sculpture based,” said Kevin McFarland who heads the public art program. “Poet’s Pause works poetry into sculpture pieces.”

Every year, the municipality commissions a work of public art to be placed along the Valley Trail, to diversify and enrich the Whistler experience as both a place of great outdoors and great art.

Local artist Joan Baron was awarded the art grant this year to produce her vision of what she calls Poet’s Pause, an artwork mixing poetry with wood structures, including a giant Adirondack chair (similar to the smaller chairs found at Peace Park) and a timber frame with a chime component.

“The project is meant to inspire people, to have them sit in chairs and write,” McFarland said. “The timber chimes were a challenge. We didn’t want a discordant sound, so she has formed (metal) that produces a chord of clear notes. It won’t be able to blow in the wind. A person has to activate the chimes to hear them.”

The two structural components will be placed at either end of the new Alta Lake Park with one poem showcased on a basalt column at each site. The poems will be exhibited at the two sites as well as in local newspapers. Every year, the poems will change.

“Hopefully over the years we will be able to take all of these poems and compile them into a book,” McFarland said.

Poems will be selected through a competition process. The poem at the chair site must be based on the theme of togetherness and the poem at the chime site on listening. Poems are meant to encourage people to pause and reflect upon their own Whistler experience as well as that of the writer.

Anything goes: limericks, prose, haiku, iambic pentameter and epic are all welcome.

Just keep in mind poems will be displayed on a 30 by 30 inch column.

For submission guidelines, visit whistler.ca and click on business, then the tenders and RFP folder.

A project description can also be picked up at municipal hall or by contacting Kevin at kmcfarland@whistler.ca .

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 3 p.m.

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