Photos and Poems from The Poetics of Place at Plas Newydd Farm in Ridgefield, WA March 25, 2023

I am so grateful to Abby Braithwaite for collaborating with me on The Poetics of Place, a day-long experiential workshop for poets looking to connect with the earth. Abby has many exciting ideas in the works for how to use the beautiful Plas Newydd Farm as a site for other arts events and workshops. Learn more about the Plas Newydd Arts Initiative.

Here is the schedule for the day’s activities:

Poetics of Place

Mindful Exploration as Poetics Practice with Abby Braithwaite and Christopher Luna

March 25, 2023

10:00-11:00:                      Introductions

                                                Abby leads the group on a short walk during which she will share a short history of the farm.

EXERCISE: As we walk, find three objects and place them in your pocket or bag.

                                                Find a comfortable place to sit. Look out (in front of you) for five minutes.

                                                Then look down for five minutes.

                                                Finally, look up for five minutes.

                                                As you complete these three steps, notice what you notice.

                                                When you have completed all three steps, begin to write.

                                                Return to the house.

11:00-11:15:                       Free write.

11:15-12:00:                       Lunch.

12:00-12:45:                      Jack Collom’s “Things to Save” Exercise.

12:45-3:00pm:                  Sharing and discussing our poems. 

Christopher reads the schedule for the day as we prepare to begin our walk (photo by Jennifer Pratt-Walter)
Making our way (by Jennifer Pratt-Walter)
Photo by Jennifer Pratt-Walter
The river by Abby Braithwaite
Smelt by Abby Braithwaite
Smelt plus Roxanne’s boots
Christopher explains the dharma art exercise (Photo by Abby Braithwaite)
Looking forward for five minutes
Roxanne looking
Writers at the table
Christopher speaks to the writers (Photo by Abby Braithwaite)
Wordsworth’s Daffodils in the Windowsill by Abby Braithwaite
Christopher’s objects
Jennifer’s objects
Jennifer’s writing (Photo by Jennifer)

Save These Things Forever     

Save the smallest wild things, the overlooked

ordinary things—earthworms, baby birds, moss, deep soil.

Hold safe the green-brown smell of the woods

in spring and fall.  Save all the sequoias.

Keep safe the salamanders in the tiny stream that leaks from

the hillside by my childhood home, save their eggs,

silent as pebbles.

Enfold with safety the magic lanterns of fireflies,

save the Aurora Borealis and how my feet sound

sweeping through dry leaves in autumn.

Keep forever the voices of those beloved to me—

save all the unspoken love that overflows the

bucket of my heart.

Save always the sharp awe that envelops me when

in the presence of the still and untamed beings that have been

my true saviors for all my days.

Jennifer Pratt-Walter 3/25/2023


By Gail Alexander

I hear the voices of the land today

Like a pencil sharpened in silence

Unveiled in the whispers of wind 

and the golden veined lace of your composition

Across the forest floor.

“ Where will you be Nana when you die?”

Lichen and the green of moss cling to branches.

I stand looking down into the soft clear trickle of flow.

I raise my hands and call

back to ancestors on the shoreline“ hayu masi “.

“ There in the stream is where I’ll be Owen. Can you see the bones of the boughs?

That’s where I’ll be. Someday our bones will lay

Beside each other in the clear

Water where eagles

Fly above. Waiting_”

I’m awake now

In my bed of twigs red and leaves of cottonwood and ash.

On the hillside to the north, branches

Drape like curtains and have

Opened to the light.

I want to go.

Little birds are singing 

And from a single 

cell of lichen

Lies a forest.


2 thoughts on “Photos and Poems from The Poetics of Place at Plas Newydd Farm in Ridgefield, WA March 25, 2023

  1. Jennifer Pratt Walter, such lovely sentiments!!! This must have been an incredible day…wish I’d been there!! Hugs, toni

    1. Hi Toni…it was quite an amazing experience. I hope I can catch up with you soon!

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