The tour kicked off with an NPR Wyoming interview and an incredible visit to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons.

Along the way, Morton and Birkelbach are speaking at libraries, universities, National Parks, arts venues and bookstores, doing poetry readings + Q&A sessions about the creative process, poetry and their tour.Like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and John Muir, Morton and Birkelbach hope to contribute to the exploration, preservation and protection of our country’s most natural, beautiful spaces.

Morton writes: “In this digital age, there is no replacement for the grandeur of Mother Nature. Wonder cannot be imported or exported, but it can be captured with words, and we can think of no better treasure to explore, champion and share through our work than our National Parks.”

So far, media coverage of the tour has included a radio interview with NPR Wyoming, an interview on the NPR Blue Dot program, a feature story in Western Writers of America's Roundup Magazine, a front page story in the Carlsbad Current-Argus (part of the USA Today network), the front page of Lone Star Literary Life and the Alamosa Valley-Courier. Pendleton Woolen Mills also did a feature Q&A storyon their blog.

To book the TX Poets Laureate for a media interview or a poetry reading during their tour, click here.

Follow along on the blog at and on Facebook,Instagram and/or Twitter for updates and photos of her latest adventures and upcoming speaking and travel schedule.



Throughout their Words of Preservation Tour, Karla and Alan have often been asked about their stance on protecting the parks. In short, it is: "Go Around." And they have written a song with the same title -- Go Around -- that was in conjunction with National Park Service National Parks Week and Earth Day. The song’s lyrics were written Karla and Alan, with music and vocals by singer-songwriter Lisa Carver. The song is available digitally on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, Tidal, Deezer

Texas Poet Laureate, speaker, author and photographer.

Thank you to Patrick and Andrea Marshall, Words of Preservation patrons. We are honored by and appreciate your support of our project!

If you are interesting in supporting Karla and Alan’s Words of Preservation project, please contact Karla.

"What do you think of when you hear the words 'poet laureate?' Esoteric, brilliant, and maybe even 'inaccessible and unapproachable?' Well, Durango Public Library learned otherwise when Karla Morton and Alan Birkelbach visited us as part of their National Parks Tour. They were funny, down-to-earth, and just plain entertaining! Each read from their poetry and talked about the creative process and their roles as Texas Poets Laureate. Then – they donated signed copies of a couple of their books to us – a librarian’s dream come true! We hope they will swing back through Durango in the future, and we wish them well on their innovative and interesting National Parks Tour." 

~ Megan Kinney, Durango Public Library

A special thank you to in-kind tour sponsor Pendleton, the maker of the beautiful Badlands National Park blanket on the right. They make a blanket for many of the National Parks!

Words of Preservation National Parks Poetry Tour: 2019 Schedule

(as of 3/25/2019; subject to change)

March 13-30 -- Pinnacles, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Death Valley National Parks in CA (#s 41-44)
April 28-May 11 -- Grand Canyon, Bryce and Capitol Reef National Parks in AZ and UT (#s 45-47)
June 2-18 -- Isle Royale and Voyageurs National Parks in MI and MN (#s 48-49)
July 17-27 -- Theodore Roosevelt National Park in ND (#50)
August (full month) - Katmai, Kenai Fjords, Gates of the Arctic, Kobuk Valley and Lake Clark National Parks in Alaska (#s 51-55)
Sept 5-22 -- Olympic, North Cascades and Mount Rainier National Parks in WA (#s 56-58)
Oct 7-19 -- Shenandoah National Park in VA (#59)
Nov 10-24 -- St. Louis Arch and Indiana Dunes National Parks in MO and IN (#s 60-61)

Words of Preservation: A Poets Laureate National Parks Tour

Texas Poets Laureate Karla K. Morton and Alan Birkelbach launched a joint 3-year project -- Words of Preservation: A Poets Laureate National Parks Tour --  in 2016 to celebrate the National Park System’s 100 year anniversary ... and to help preserve the parks for the next 100 years.

As part of the project, Morton and Birkelbach will visit ALL 61 of the U.S. National Parks, documenting their journey through poetry and photography, ultimately creating one or more books. Their plan is to donate a percentage of sales to the National Park Service.