Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How do I love thee?

Poetry pole deemed more romantic than Misc. II

Express Staff Writer

    Growing up visiting Port Townsend, Wash., Sarah Hedrick has a few fond and distinct memories.
    One includes Richard Gere performing one-arm pushups in all his swaggery best while filming “An Officer and a Gentleman.” Another is of a somewhat mystical place called Memory’s Vault in Fort Worden State Park, where people left poems tacked, much like the heart rock trees in Draper and Howard preserves here.
    It’s something that she’s held in the back of her mind to do as a contribution to the downtown public arts scene for years, but only recently started gathering the pieces and people to make it happen.
    She enlisted the help of sculptor Mark Sheehan, who has a history of making masses of ice into amazing spectacles of art at Sun Valley Resort. His forges from metal are coveted artisanal fences and fireplace covers. His take on it is surprisingly unromantic. Is that humility?
    “This was all Sarah’s brainchild,” he said. “I was just the facilitator. It’s made out of steel [irrigation pipe] and serves as a kiosk for creative musings. We’re looking for a small statue of Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ to serve as a finial on top.”
    I knew from a chat with Hedrick that she was looking to complete the piece with the Rodin, a symbol used throughout her store. I admit I had to look up finial, which either further confirms Sheehan’s self-muted expertise or my ignorance. A finial is an ornamental termination to the top of a piece of furniture, or of one part of such a piece.
    Anyhow, the massive missive holder is now in place and the public is invited to contribute or peruse.
    In Washington, Hedrick said, the poems were taken down as they weathered and were actually made into a book. Port Townsend is the home of the Copper Canyon Press, an independent, nonprofit, publisher for poets. At this point, she’s trying to establish an environmentally friendly and still artsy way to fashion the musings to the pole.
    She hopes it becomes a landmark that, with or without her bookstore, which is hosting regular open-mike and poetry nights, will bring people from all around to see and participate in.
    Paris has its Pont des Arts bridge, where lovers put padlocks representing their commitment and toss the key into the water below.
    Ketchum, hopefully, will have its Pôle des Poèmes for years to come.

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