Visit: Poetry in the Labyrinth


Labyrinth designs span cultures, continents, and millennia. Modern labyrinth patterns appear frequently on the grounds of religious and spiritual centers, but are not bound to any single tradition; they can be drawn anywhere. As I was riding my bike on the Pantano Loop the other day, I turned my head and saw a small labyrinth pattern picked out with stones near the path. 

Forward and turn and back and turn and forward and turn and back. Traversing the labyrinth is disorienting by design. When I asked Tyler a few weeks ago if the library staff could draw a labyrinth in the Poetry Center's breezeway, I was thinking about different things than I am thinking about now. Then, I was mostly searching for a way to put poems into spaces outside the building while the building was closed to the public. I still want to do that, but the context and the urgency has changed fundamentally. 

The Poetry Center's new DIY labyrinth is drawn in chalk. The circle and the pathways are large; there's space for physical distancing, and there's also space for your poems and thoughts. There are poems on display--Cynthia Hogue's "(a mazing)" from her collection In June the Labyrinth is chalked near the entrance, and you'll see poems from our collections posted in our windows as you move through the pattern. Currently, all the window-poems are by Black American poets, including Terrance Hayes, Danez Smith, Lucille Clifton, Tracy K. Smith, Claudia Rankine, Kevin Young, and more. 

My husband and I drew the labyrinth's outlines last week, and folks have already found it, leaving traces of their thought behind as they pass by the Poetry Center. A tribute to George Floyd appeared almost immediately. Others have left snippets of poems, some in conversation with one another, all in conversation with the space and the history and the grief of this moment. We invite you to join this conversation. Please visit, travel through our labyrinth, and leave a poem, if you're in Tucson and you'd like a meditative space.