Creative Placemaking Summit

We will be teaching a session titled, “You Are Here: A Creative Cartography” at the West Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit Feb. 7-9 in Albuquerque, NM. This 3-day event is presented jointly by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking and ArtPlace America in partnership with the City of Albuquerque to develop the field in the following ten western states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

The main theme for the event will be emerging pathways, and topics will include authenticity, placekeeping and belonging, access and the invisible. #CPLSummitWest will offer creative placemakers skills, inspiration, connections and ideas. #creativeplacemaking Register at

Our session will be Saturday, Feb 9, 9:30am-11:30am.

This workshop will combine site-specific inquiry and multidisciplinary arts using GPS-based technology to tell a story about a place using an interactive map. Artwork of a place values locales, knowing “who you are by knowing where you are” as the poet Wendell Berry once wrote. Place-based poetry and art has the ability to create timeless moments, express individual experiences in a universal way, and to craft a sense of communal identity. In this workshop, we will share methods and strategies to craft the beginning of creative cartography about your community that you can then develop further by hosting workshops within your discipline, whether that is creative writing, art, history, or oral tradition.

Who We Are

Amaris Feland Ketcham

Amaris Feland Ketcham is an honorary Kentucky Colonel who occupies her time with open space, white space, CMYK, flash nonfiction, long trails, f-stops, line breaks, and several Adobe programs running simultaneously. Her work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, the Los Angeles ReviewPrairie SchoonerRattle, and the Utne Reader.  She created Poetic Routes in 2017 and loves reading place-based poetry, particularly when it’s about Albuquerque. Visit her website at

Josh Rysanek

Josh Rysanek is a senior psychology student at the University of New Mexico and the editor in chief of Conceptions Southwest. His experience with poetry stems from editing and contributing to literary arts magazines for the past three years. Before working on Poetic Routes, he worked in a neuroscience lab where he found himself producing and analyzing neural cartographies, researching how the brain makes sense of place. Josh began teaching workshops for Poetic Routes in 2018. To see more of his work, visit


This interactive, poetic map pinpoints reflections and emotions on specific streets, buildings, and landmarks within Albuquerque.

When I introduce myself as a poet, people often act as though I am a practitioner of a coded, intimidating art. Most people have been taught something about poetry—that syllables are important, say, or meter or form, or that there is some package of preexisting analytical literature that tells you a poem is “great literature” written by a “great poet” (who is usually male, once white, now deceased). Most people are not taught to first appreciate the poem as a work of surprising beauty. Nor are they taught to connect it to their world, to the streets they walk down, the roadrunners they see, the roasting chile they smell, the cottonwoods they admire, or the Goodwill on their corner.

One way to connect people to poetry is through maps. Maps are a potent tool to tell interactive stories. A map of a city can tell us how to get from place to another. As it does so, the map outlines what we will pass along the way: a topographical map might show us the mountain that stands between our goal and us; a Doppler map details the weather we’ll encounter along the way. But can a map tell a story that isn’t linear? Do we always have to know where we are going?

“Not all who wander are lost,” countered JRR Tolkien. Even though maps are being more recognized for their ability to tell complex stories, I wanted to explore the potential of a non-narrative, inclusive story about Albuquerque.

To pin a poem to an intersection on a map is to pin a moment of time. Together, those moments start to build an understanding of Albuquerque that is larger and more complex than the map itself. It is a network of architecture and culture, language and nature, concrete details and local realities, history and lived experience—as well as the interactions that occur in the audience’s mind when two or more of these are juxtaposed.

A map shows the relationship between two objects in space, but when those objects are memories, reflections, epiphanies, and lyricisms, the audience participates in creating that relational link. “Viewers are as much a part of the landscape as the boulders they stand on,” writes Leslie Marmon Silko.

It is my hope that through this poetic cartography, both emerging and established writers layer their voices with the history and cultural vibrancy of the city. My hope is that this project, like the city itself, will show a complex and ever-changing set of relationships with our natural and built environment. This is our map of Albuquerque.

You are here.