Here is the founder of Blue Begonia Press, Jim Bodeen, on the original planting of the Poetry Pole in 1995:
The Poetry Pole has been planted in the Garden at the press. The Pole, intersecting the Path of Butterflies and Hummingbirds with the Path of the Mailman, validates and confirms the actions of poetry in the world.
It is an egalitarian pole. It is not regional. Placed on Bell Avenue, it can be accessed by anyone from the street, and anyone by mail. The word POETRY is carved on both the East and West sides. Pins have been left on the Pole for poets to leave their work. An unseen sculpture, placed at its base by Marty Lovins, commemorates it.
I am the Keeper of the Pole. The Pole arrived as a vision. The title was given to me by Kevin Miller. It is a position I honor. I build the Pole with poems on a weekly basis, putting up poems that arrive in the mail or placed there by passersby. Some Yakima poets put poems on the Pole on a regular basis. Some of the adventures on the Pole are known. After time in the weather, poems are put in a place of safe keeping.
The Pole is energy, She Who Shines For All, from nine kinds of flower, the single poetic theme of life and death, the question of what survives after the beloved.
The Poetry Pole explains itself. Children understand it.
For ten years, hundreds of people have pinned thousands of poems to the Poetry Pole at Blue Begonia Press. Weathered Pages is a sampling of the work of those who have used the Poetry Pole as a source of inspiration.
This book includes over 200 poems by poets from all corners of the country and from around the world, who have joined poets from Yakima in posting their work. Some contributors are being published here for the first time; others are internationally known. These writers–male and female, young and old, gay and straight, free and incarcerated, Native, Asian, Latino, Anglo and African-American–gather around belief in one of the most democratic, and perhaps most necessary, art forms.
After time in the weather, the pages have been taken down and saved–until now. Poems collected here represent a decade of testimony pinned and flying from a cedar post planted in a garden.