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Poets in Parks Resident Steve Bellin-Oka Reads at Gettysburg

Poet Steve Bellin-Oka Event

In these poems, I will take up the legacy of the war in contemporary America in an effort to contribute to our making sense of why it still holds such power over us.”
— Steve Bellin-Oka, Poets in Parks Resident
GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, US, October 11, 2019 / -- Continuing a unique partnership with the Poetry Foundation, the National Park Service at Gettysburg National Military Park, and the Gettysburg Foundation, the National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF), is proud to present a reading with the second Poets in Parks artist-in-residence, Steve Bellin-Oka, on October 11, 2019, 1:00–2:00 PM.

The public is invited to experience Bellin-Oka’s poetry with a reading, and a display of his work in the park’s Museum and Visitor Center. Bellin-Oka’s reads new poems directly inspired by the presences on the battlefield, which deal organically with the issues of trauma and cultural memory. For Bellin-Oka, the past never goes away, just resonates afresh; he says, “In these poems, I will take up the legacy of the war in contemporary America in an effort to contribute to our making sense of why it still holds such power over us.”

Bellin-Oka earned his MFA from the University of Virginia and his PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. He is the author of a chapbook, Dead Letter Office at North Atlantic Station. His first book of poems, Instructions for Seeing a Ghost, won the 2019 Vassar Miller Prize and will be published in 2020 by the University of North Texas Press. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, he grew up surrounded by Civil War battlefields. He currently lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he is a Tulsa Artists Fellow.

This reading is the first on the Poets in Parks tour. Bellin-Oka will travel to Washington, D.C. and the Poetry Foundation in Chicago with the first Poets in Parks resident, Los Angeles poet Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo. The poets will read the work they developed during their one-month residencies at the Klingel House in the heart of the Gettysburg Battlefield. The tour is sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, the Gettysburg Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Now in its second year at the park, Poets in Parks first artist residency expressly designed and curated to raise the profile of poetry as a vibrant and modern way to do public art. The National Parks Arts Foundation hopes to bring the program to additional parks in the coming years.

About the National Park Arts Foundation
The National Parks Arts Foundation is a nonprofit offering Artist in Residence Programs, Museum In-Loan Programs, and Workshops nationwide at a number of National Parks.
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About the Poetry Foundation 
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at on Twitter @PoetryFound.

About the Gettysburg Foundation
The Gettysburg Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic, educational organization operating in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) to preserve Gettysburg National Military Park and the Eisenhower National Historic Site, and to educate the public about their significance.

John Cargill
National Parks Arts Foundation
+1 505-715-6492
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