Utah’s Ancient Seas: Poetry Workshop and Reading brings together community and college

The Frontier Homestead State Park and Southern Utah University collaborated to host Utah’s Ancient Seas: Poetry Workshop and Reading as part of the Smithsonian’s H20 Today exhibit on April 6. 

H20 Today is part of a traveling exhibition that touches on the essential beauty of water. The exhibition will be on display until May 31 at Frontier Homestead State Park. 

The event began with words from Danielle Beazer Dubrasky, author of “Drift Migration” and professor of English and creative writing at SUU. She introduced the event, its importance and then SUU professor of biology, Samuel Wells.

Wells spoke on the great ocean that resided atop of Utah 15 million years ago and the water that remains and its importance to human life.

“The ocean is inside of you,” Wells said. “It supports you, it is you.”

After Wells’ talk, the poetry reading began. Dubrasky and Natalie Young, founding editor of poetry magazine Sugar House Review, took turns reading from their works focusing on water. 

Dubrasky read poems directly from her book that explored both a personable and scientific outlook on water both in Utah and Virginia. Young read something more narrative, focusing on the fictional monster of the Great Salt Lake and the fictional woman searching to understand him. 

Her manuscript is not yet published, but her work can be found online and in the Open Journal of Art and Letters. Some of these works include “The Great Salt Lake Has Been Shrinking Since the Rounding of the Last Ice Age” and “The Shore.”

When the reading was complete, those in attendance were given the opportunity to explore the exhibit and participate in a poetry workshop. The workshop allowed participants to arrange single word magnets into stanzas to create poems about their own commentary on the natural water and how it is being utilized by society.

Future events include a presentation on the effects of groundwater pollution on April 16 from 1-2 p.m. and a collaboration with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts for a Drop-In Family Activity on May 14 from 1-4 p.m. Each of these events a part of Think Water Utah are free to the public thanks to the Smithsonian Institution, Utah Humanities and Frontier Homestead State Park. 

More information can be found here

Article and photo by: Audrey Gee