Writers help transform old Burlington trail into new poetry path

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 3:07 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Taking a stroll on a Burlington trail? The city has added a fun feature to one of the paths.

“It’s what you can call a hidden gem,” said Mary Chaffee of the Burlington Writers Workshop.

And hidden it is. Tucked into the woods behind the Rock Point School in Burlington is an old trail with some new poems.

“Earlier in the spring the Burlington Writers group reached out to us at Parks and Rec and they had this wonderful idea of putting public art out that would inspire natural curiosity about this trail and about this forest,” said Christopher Humphrey of Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront.

The idea for the BWW Poetry Path was inspired by a similar walking trail in Tadoussac, Quebec, where poems were strung along the trail. Chaffee thought the Burlington Writers could do the same, incorporating some of their poems into Burlington’s forests. And with the help of parks and recs, and many volunteers, the group decided to give it a try.

“We received some very favorable comments and people that use that trail regularly were really surprised and delighted to see the poetry added to their experience,” Chaffee said.

Out of the 100 who applied to be a part of the project, only 16 writers were picked.

Candelin Wahl is an active visitor to the trail and she is also one of the poets. She says the inspiration behind her poem came from two trees that were intertwined and reminded her of her marriage.

“You know we have kids and families and we have a lot of branches, and we’ve had some storms, but anyway those two trees kind of struck me as how I was feeling,” Wahl said.

They wanted to put poems higher on the trees to make them appear like they were floating. And keeping the poems to a couple of sentences is supposed to spark curiosity in readers to encourage them to want to read more.

If the poetry path is a success, the Burlington Writers plan to put more poems on more trees for next summer.

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