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A report from the Poem Forest

November 07, 2011

This weekend, as part of the New York Botanical Garden's Thain Family Forest Festival Weekend, poet-walker Jon Cotner designed a self-guided meditative walk titled Poem Forest.

At 15 spots along Sweetgum Trail, visitors were encouraged to "speak, sing or variously engage with" 15 corresponding lines of poetry. The lines were selected from 2,500 years of nature poetry (many from the poet Jeffery Yang's anthology Birds, Beasts, and Seas, New Directions, 2011) and included such gems as Denise Levertov's "One stone is not like another," and Heraclitus' "People have talked about the world without paying attention/ to the world." Below are some photos of the spectacular autumnal forest, and guests (including a hawk!) "paying attention" as they participated in Poem Forest.

This weekend, as part of the New York Botanical Garden's Thain Family Forest Festival Weekend, poet-walker Jon Cotner designed a self-guided meditative walk titled Poem Forest.

At 15 spots along Sweetgum Trail, visitors were encouraged to "speak, sing or variously engage with" 15 corresponding lines of poetry. The lines were selected from 2,500 years of nature poetry (many from the poet Jeffery Yang's anthology Birds, Beasts, and Seas, New Directions, 2011) and included such gems as Denise Levertov's "One stone is not like another," and Heraclitus' "People have talked about the world without paying attention/ to the world." Below are some photos of the spectacular autumnal forest, and guests (including a hawk!) "paying attention" as they participated in Poem Forest.

Cotner's walk will also be taking place November 12 and 13th at the New York Botanical Garden.


A walker contemplating the final line of the walk, "Waterfalls, with a sound, like rain."


The hawk lands to listen.


A group of friends take the walk together.

Jon Cotner in the woods.



Birds, Beasts, and Seas: Nature Poems
from New Directions.