Archive for January 2013

Richard Blanco Inauguration Poem: Grounded in American Place

Richard Blanco read his wonderful poem at Obama’s second Inauguration. Beginning with the image of sunlight spreading a “simple truth” across a morning landscape, “One Today” is grounded in American place. It’s been called “Whitmanesque“;  direct and clean, broad and sweeping. In tribute, I’ve paired my photographs with Blanco’s poem. One sun rose on us... Read more »

Chicago Photographs: The Emotional Quality of Place

We accept the places we use on a daily basis. Accept them in that way that doesn’t always ask much – either of them or of ourselves.
The emotional quality of a place can be hard to put a finger on, or can sometimes come at unexpected moments – especially in a vast urban environment like Chicago. Last week I found myself thinking about this as I went about my days.

Visiting Paradise: Reflections on a Place and its Name

The 1915 Inn at Paradise, Washington. According to a National Historic Architecture study, this Inn, like Yellowstone's Old Faithful Inn and others, were experiments in architectural design. Local natural materials were used, with the goal of blending hotel architecture with the grandiose wilderness setting. 
(Photo credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, WA-223-1)
What’s in a place name, and how frequently does it actually relate to the place? Sometimes geographers look at place names to learn something about a region’s topography. For example, in southwest Wisconsin’s driftless area, you come across names like “coulee” and “hollow” a lot more frequently than in other parts of the state. My... Read more »