Chicana Poet, Educator, and Activist Arrives at Gettysburg for First-Ever Poetry Residency at the National Park
CHICAGO- In a unique partnership with the National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF), the National Park Service at Gettysburg National Military Park, and the Gettysburg Foundation, the Poetry Foundation is proud to be part of the pilot “Poets in the Park” residency at Gettysburg National Military Park. The Park’s first “Poets in the Park” artist-in-residence will be Los Angeles poet Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo. Ms. Bermejo has published her work in The American Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, CALYX Journal, and The Acentos Review, among other publications. She holds a BA in theatre arts from California State University Long Beach and an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her latest collection is Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (2016).
“The Poetry Foundation is proud to help bring poetry to the place that inspired President Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address, which is poetry itself,” said Henry Bienen, president of the Poetry Foundation. “Together with the National Parks Arts Foundation, the National Park Service at Gettysburg National Military Park, and the Gettysburg Foundation, we congratulate Ms. Bermejo on being the first ‘Poets in the Park’ artist-in-residence.”
Bermejo will work and hold workshops at Gettysburg from mid-September to mid-October. The dates of these public engagements are forthcoming. After her residency, she will go on a sponsored tour of public readings to showcase her new work, visiting Chicago and Washington, DC.
The National Park Service’s cultural mandate to recognize and foster a democratic and participatory dialogue through the arts has never been more important. The current national debate about the representation and memorial of Civil War history provides an opportunity for education and discussion. The interpretation rangers at Gettysburg National Military Park address the tensions between commemoration, civic memory, and critique year-round in their work with the public. The poems that Ms. Bermejo plans to publish after her residency are very much a response to the United States in 2017. As she says: “In my new collection, I want to capture the deep sense of melancholia that has taken over our collective American psyche since the last presidential election. Many of us want to regain a passion for what we know is right and good. I believe the Gettysburg National Military Park is the perfect location for this project, and I’m excited to see how its history is steeped in political unrest, the malaise of war, and the continued fight for good. This will inspire my social justice poetry.”
This is the first artist residency that is expressly designed and curated to raise the profile of poetry as a vibrant and modern way to do public art. The National Parks Arts Foundation hopes to bring the program to additional parks in the coming years. The Poetry Foundation is able to offer this pilot program thanks to the input and support of the National Park Service and the Gettysburg Foundation, whose joint efforts make the Park the foremost visitor destination for those interested in the history of the American Civil War.
About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit poetryfoundation.org.
About the Gettysburg Foundation
The Gettysburg Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic, educational organization operating in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) to preserve Gettysburg National Military Park and the Eisenhower National Historic Site, and to educate the public about their significance.
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