Nature Meets Poetry with the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park

by Noor Hindi

For David Hassler, poetry and nature go hand in hand. As the director of the Wick Poetry Center in Kent, David is excited about leading a poetry retreat at the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

As a child, David grew up at the edge of Kent, next to the Cuyahoga River. Over two miles of woods functioned as his playground. Later, it would also serve as inspiration for his poetry.

“For me, our outdoors was the richest classroom I could imagine,” says David. “As I grew older, ideas and larger concepts and intellectual thinking could take root and still be connected to that sense of childhood wonder and delight.”

The retreat, which takes place from August 25-26, is all about reawakening that sense of wonder. Attendees will have a chance to stay at the historic Stanford House, talk poetry with a community of writers and do hikes and outdoor activities. They’ll also discuss poems from Mary Oliver.

“I find that Mary Oliver’s poems can be disarmingly simple and accessible and yet deeply spiritual,” says David.

The Wick Poetry Center is happy to collaborate with the Conservancy, which David says is a “great treasure within our community.” The goal of the retreat is to immerse poets within nature and hopefully jump-start their creativity.

Although tickets are roughly $250, the money goes towards food, drink and lodging at the Stanford House for attendees. It will also help pay for the outdoor activities and hikes. A small sum goes back to the Wick Poetry Center, which continually provides the community with poetry projects and programs.

“The retreat is not meant to make published poets out of each participant, but to make creative human beings,” says David.

To attend the retreat, go to for tickets. There is only room for 25 participants, so be sure to act fast.

Supporters of the Wick Poetry Center can also look forward to an upcoming exhibit at Summit Artspace. The exhibit, which opens up on January 20, 2018, will feature poems by refugees and immigrants from the center’s Travelling Stanzas Writing Across Borders project.


(Featured photo of David Hassler reading at the River of Words poetry reading at the poetry park in Kent. Photo courtesy of the Wick Poetry Center.)


Noor Hindi is currently pursuing her MFA in poetry at The University of Akron. She is usually very nervous. Check her out at