Place Holders: Collingwood Poems By Local Poets

August 13, 2019
Parks, Recreation, & Culture
Sunset Point Park

Parks and green spaces showcased with poetry videos and interactive maps

Local Poets, in collaboration with the Poet Laureate program, and the Parks, Recreation, & Culture and Information Technology departments, highlight places in and around Collingwood with the new Place Holders initiative.

Poets Susan Wismer, Jake McArthur, Brenda Miller, Gloria Kropf Nafziger, and Day Merrill, have kicked off the Place Holders initiative by focusing their creative energy on writing poems about their deep connection with five fantastic parks in Collingwood.

The public is invited to visit on the Town Website to view the interactive Place Holders Story Map to learn about our local poets and parks, and watch or listen as the poets share their poems. These poets showcase how parks and green spaces enhance our well-being by offering places to meet people, be active, and cultivate a human-nature connection.

Our local poets and writers have the ability to fire our imaginations and invoke the essence of a place, whether it is real or imagined. They are attuned to external stimuli – music, scent, character of place - and are able to capture it with words and language.

“We have named the project Place Holders, a name selected based on the origins of the word hold, which include keep, custody, guard, watch, protect, support, and place of refuge,” says Collingwood Poet Laureate, Day Merrill. “As poets, we have the privilege, as well as duty, to use the power of language to “hold” important concepts, themes, people, and places for others.”

“I chose to write a poem about J.J. Cooper Park because it has special meaning for me and my family; the land was once owned by my Uncle (J.J.) Jim Cooper,” says Brenda Miller. “We lived one block apart on Eighth Street and we visited with him often. I just wanted to share a bit about my family history as one of the first Negro families living in Collingwood.” Watch Brenda recite her poem!

The Place Holders initiative will expand over the next year to include an array of notable and unnoticed places in Collingwood.

Photo by Doug Burlock Photography