The program called for a monument to poetry in the United States, to be located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river in Galena Illinois.
This design reflects on what it means to be a poet, specifically to the life journey it entails. This journey begins taking a wandering path thru a dense forest (this represents the life experience/wild nature of the world we live in), at some point the young poet emerges and starts to find their voice. The monument is experiential consisting of many symbols. The first is a colonnade, partially in ruins, which represents history. The poet next encounters an incline, which is made of charred wood, representing the fire that burns in our hearts. To the right are three cubes, which represents what aspects of life the poet holds dear, and which deeply influence their work. To the left, there is a large rock with a small slightly hidden sitting area, where the poet can look back at the world and contemplate the essence of existence. When the poet is ready, they walk out into a reflecting pool, cantilevered over the river, and from this point their word flow forth in ribbons of stainless steel, out into the world. While this drama unfolds, should the poet, still curious about the mysteries of life, wander out towards the river, exploring the bank, they might encounter a space of true solitude ….. a Poet’s Cave, built into the base of the monument….. a place that will protect your heart, at its most tender moments.
Type Civic, monument
Location Galena Illinois, CA
Client The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies