Dear Body of Water

Press Release

A poetic water-harvesting project invites anyone from anywhere 

to address the bodies of water that have shaped their lives.

Share your voice at 

KENT, OHIO – February 1, 2024 

DEAR BODY OF WATER invites everyone, everywhere to write letters and poems to beloved rivers, oceans, aquifers, creeks, ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water as part of a collective poetry project. The hope of this worldwide endeavor is to recontextualize our relationship with water. Not as a resource to be exploited. But as a living entity worthy of our care, appreciation, and protection. 

With a newly relaunched website, it’s easier than ever to participate—and to see the global impact of hundreds of voices in chorus! Together, we’ll consider how water melts into our histories, memories, dreams, griefs, hopes, and presence. We’ll ask what bodies of water are overlooked or neglected. And we’ll merge our voices like tributaries as we foster a loving relationship for water worldwide. Visit the website to learn more and participate!

Why share your voice? More than ever, the water crisis is impacting people and bodies of water across the globe. From the severe water stress in the Middle East and North Africa to the western United States being in the worst megadrought in 1200 years, DEAR BODY OF WATER implores us to foster a more symbiotic relationship between people and water in order to overcome these crises together. 

With over 100 participants already, this exciting partnership between the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University, environmental poet Gretchen E. Henderson, and The University of Arizona Poetry Center, aims to grow to thousands of voices the world over. All languages are welcome; all backgrounds and ages are welcome; all bodies of water are welcome. 

Please join the chorus as we relaunch DEAR BODY OF WATER this February. No matter the length or style, whether you write a letter, a poem, share a photo or drawing, or write even a single word, every ‘drop’ counts! Learn more about how to share your voice at 

Dear Body of Water



The Wick Poetry Center brings poetry to people’s everyday lives and serves as a home for poetry on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio. Since 1984 the Center has been encouraging new voices through readings, publications, workshops, and scholarship opportunities, and promoting creative projects and interventions where practice intersects with healing, social justice, and the environment. A national leader for its range and innovation of outreach, the Wick Poetry Center’s award-winning Traveling Stanzas and Poets for Science community arts projects bring poetry to the most urgent and evolving needs of our communities through expressive writing interventions, interactive exhibits, and digital platforms.

Gretchen Ernster Henderson writes across environmental genres and poetics of place. Her fifth book, Life in the Tar Seeps: A Spiraling Ecology from a Dying Sea, was released by Trinity University Press in 2023, and her writings have been published in many journals, including Ecotone, Orion, The Kenyon Review, and Ploughshares, also translated across five languages. Currently a senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, she has taught creative writing across genres at Georgetown, University of Utah, and MIT. Recent awards include the 2023 Aldo & Estella Leopold writer in residence in New Mexico, 2022 fellow at the Women’s International Studies Center, 2020-2022 faculty fellow at UT-Austin's Humanities Institute, and 2019 writer in residence at the Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing & Literature in Switzerland. Born and raised near the Pacific Ocean, Gretchen lives seasonally in the Sonoran desert between two washes and welcomes the smell of creosote after monsoon rains.

The University of Arizona Poetry Center is a leading literary institution and a living archive of poetry. As a premier example of a thriving public/private partnership, the Poetry Center connects the University of Arizona with the greater literary community in Tucson and beyond. We have amassed one of the finest and largest print/digital collections of contemporary poetry in America, with an active schedule of acquisitions. We’ve welcomed over one thousand poets to Tucson to read. Our education programs annually serve Arizona school children, college students, and adults with poetry experiences. Our public/private partnership has invested in a permanent landmark home for poetry in the American Southwest, and this underscores our ongoing commitment to the future of poetry, poetics, literary arts, and the ever-growing diverse community that we serve and cherish.


David Hassler

Bob and Walt Wick Executive Director

Wick Poetry Center |  (330) 672-1769


Gretchen E. Henderson

Author of  Life in the Tar Seeps: A Spiraling Ecology from a Dying Sea 


Tyler Meier

Executive Director

University of Arizona Poetry Center  | (520) 626-5880


Melissa Goodrich

Digital Strategy & Marketing Coordinator

University of Arizona Poetry Center | (520) 626-0709

POSTED: Wednesday, January 31, 2024 11:45 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 1, 2024 07:59 AM