Coastal Poems

Honoring WORLD OCEANS DAY–Alaskan Action

On June 6th, in anticipation of World Oceans Day 2010, Anne Coray and her family gathered to honor the living waters of Qizhjeh Venain (Lake Clark) in Alaska. Below are pictures and sound files of their action. Please click on the poems’s titles to hear the recitation.

Anne Coray

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Craig Coray

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Gail Coray

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Camille Coray and Gabe

“Drink” by Molly Lou Freeman, read by Camille Coray

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Steve Kahn

“Rivers” by Czeslaw Milosz, read by Steve Kahn

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“Sea by Dusk” by Joanna Klink, read by Willow Mason

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Michael Mason

“Portrait of the Artist with Li Po” by Charles Wright, read by Michael Mason

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Lake Clark, whose Denai’na Athabascan name is Qizhjeh Vena, is a 45-mile long glacial-fed lake in the heart of 4-million acre Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. The area is sparsely populated but is home to a rich ecosystem that includes brown and black bears, wolves, moose, Dall sheep, lynx, land otters, wolverines, swans, ducks, spruce grouse, and ptarmigan, as well as seals, sea otters, puffins, cormorants, halibut, and king salmon on the coast. Lake Clark itself hosts numerous species of fish as well as red (sockeye) salmon, arguably the region’s most important subsistence and commercial asset. With the proposed nearby development of Northern Dynasty and Anglo-American’s staggeringly large Pebble Mine (15 times the size of all existing mines in Alaska), the continued health of the red salmon is cause for great concern. The mine is hugely controversial and could disrupt the sockeye’s life cycles or pollute the waters on which they depend for sustenance. Eighty percent of Bristol Bay residents, many of whom are fishermen or thrive on the fishing industry, oppose development of this mine.

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ANNE CORAY, author of Bone Strings, lives at her birthplace on remote Qizhjeh Vena (Lake Clark) in southwest Alaska. Her poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Poetry, Seneca Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Rattapallax, among others. She has been a finalist with Carnegie Mellon, Water Press & Media, and Bright Hill Press, as well as for the Frances Locke Memorial Award and the Rita Dove Poetry Award. For several years she worked for the bilingual program in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, north of Anchorage. She lives with her husband, Steve, and her dog, Zipper.
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