History, nature, and poetry beautifully collide this Saturday, April 29th, for “Poetry in the Park” at Empire Mine State Historic Park, near downtown Grass Valley. Presented by California State Parks, Sierra Gold Parks Foundation, and Nevada County Arts Council, this event celebrates National Poetry Month and California’s Arts, Culture and Creativity Month, and features students and local poets reading poems that were inspired by the Empire Mine.  

Poets in the Park
Last year’s Poets in the Park

Empire Mine State Historic Park is the site of one of the oldest, deepest, and richest gold mines in California. In operation for more than 100 years, the mine extracted 5.8 million ounces of gold before it closed in 1956. The park contains many of the mine’s buildings, the owner’s home and restored gardens, as well as the entrance to 367 miles of abandoned and flooded mineshafts. The park encompasses 856 acres of forested backcountry and fourteen miles of trails.

Welcome to Poetry in the Park

This is the second year that Nevada County Poet Laureate Kirsten Casey has collaborated with State Parks on the Poetry in the Park initiative.

“This year is different because we had the opportunity to visit the Empire Mine with two high school classes (11th graders) from SAEL,” said Casey. “The immersive experience of having a docent recount the history of the Mine was an enriching and informative experience. The students loved the simulation of riding down in the dark on the man skip, it helped them connect to the sensory experience of working underground.”

Casey and students

The SAEL classes Casey is working with are unique in that they have an entire semester dedicated to poetry.

“The freedom that poetry allows: less emphasis on grammar, and more emphasis on details and language energizes their fresh perspectives on the world,” shared Casey. “After so much isolation [due to the pandemic], poetry allows the students a community of expression, where they can share their reactions and insights. The public reading is a wonderful opportunity for them to share their poems with the community.”

WHO: California State Parks, Sierra Gold Parks Foundation and Nevada County Arts Council present

WHAT: Poetry in the Park feat. Nevada County Poet Laureate Kirsten Casey and the students of Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning (SAEL)

WHEN: Saturday, April 29th, 2023, 2:00-3:30pm

WHERE: Empire Mine State Historic Park, 10791 E. Empire Street, Grass Valley

INFO: $5 Admission Fee per person, www.sierragoldparksfoundation.org or www.parks.ca.gov