Walking the pup down pathway of poetry

Canine-themed writing contest aims to enhance future dog park.

Creating a beautiful community lies in helping hands and creative minds — at least that’s the premise of a poetry contest hosted this year by the city of Kenai.

The Pathway of Poetry Contest aims to both spruce up the natural beauty of Alaska while also giving the upcoming Kenai Dog Park an added boost of momentum.

The poetry contest is themed “Man’s Best Friend” and winners of the contest will have their work displayed at Daubenspeck Family Park in midtown Kenai, which is being revamped as a future dog park.

City of Kenai Parks and Recreation Director Bob Frates said the idea originally came from the Alaska State Parks organization, and the city ran with it.

“For me, it’s a way we can integrate art into the public realm, or a public space,” Frates said. “This makes the trail a little more interactive, because trails are pretty passive by nature.

“We’ve been generating a lot of interest and momentum with the Kenai dog park, so we thought, ‘Wow what a perfect match’.”

The deadline to submit entries is Monday, Sept. 30. Winning entries will be announced Oct. 12 at the Kenai Pumpkin Festival, and winning poems will be displayed on a trail surrounding Daubenspeck.

Frates said three years ago, the city of Kenai put on a poetry contest for elementary school children, tapping into the various schools around the central peninsula. With a winner picked from each grade level, 12 poems were ultimately chosen to be presented on a plaque in the park.

“That was wildly popular,” Frates said. “We thought for the next one, we’d do the same with adults. It’s really a matter of finding a suitable place.”

This year’s canine-themed contest will reward 10 winners, Frates said, which will be mounted on posts along the trail that winds its way through the park.

One of the more intriguing features will be audio recordings from the poets themselves reciting their material. Frates said each post will feature a small barcode below the poem that can be scanned with a smart phone, which will subsequently play a recording.

Frates thanked the Kenai Community Library, the Friends of the Kenai Community Library organization and the Kenai Senior Center for helping the project along.

Adults 18 years or older are invited to participate. Deadline is Monday, Sept. 30 Notifications will be Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Kenai Pumpkin Festival. Registration forms are available at: Kenai Senior Center and Kenai Community Library or online at www.kenai.city/parksrec/page/parks-and-recreation-forms. For additional information call 907-283-8262.

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