Walking the Walk

by Scott Gregory


When we walk–whenever we really walk, in an unhurried, unhassled way–we clear our heads, we get exercise, we breathe, we see new things, we travel, we reflect, we ponder, we saunter, we stroll, we mull over, we move at our leisure (and pleasure). In a way, we’re almost writing a poem with our legs, or a poem in our heads. Or maybe both.

Poetry and walking are closely related and always have been. It’s probably a matter of both having so much to do with rhythm, perception and solitary experience. And there’s that whole mind-wandering aspect (always a plus). John Keats, Frank O’Hara, Wallace Stevens, William Wordsworth, Gary Snyder, Charles Baudelaire–just about any great poet you can name, if you read enough of that poet’s work, you’ll find a devoted walker. This truth is obvious to anyone who enjoys poetry, and it’s also the thesis (more or less) of a nice essay by the contemporary American poet Edward Hirsch, which ran in The Washington Post in 2008.

All to the good, then, that Tulsa will soon witness its first-ever Poetry Walk, which happens on Saturday, April 30th. It’s being presented by Nimrod International Journal and the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden. It’s offered as a celebration of National Poetry Month, and it’s taking place at the Botanical Garden from 2pm till 4:30pm. Also, it’s free to the public.

The 1.5-mile walk will cover forest terrain, prairie grounds and persimmon groves. Poems will be performed, recited, written and shared by all who wish to participate. The event will conclude with music, food and drink, as well as a reception for Nimrod’s new issue (for Spring 2011): “Growing Season.”

For directions, visit www.ocbg.org/MapDirection.html. For more information, email nimrod@utulsa.edu.