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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

English prof wins public art contest; Jeff Knorr’s poem will grace Downtown river walk
City College English professor and former poet laureate for the City of Sacramento Jeff Knorr. Jason Pierce | Photo Editor | [email protected]

Casandra Garcia

Staff Writer  

[email protected]


City College English professor and former poet laureate for the City of Sacramento made history once again.

Jeff Knorr’s poem, “The Sacramento,” won among a field of contestants in a public contest held by the city of West Sacramento. Knorr’s poem will be inlaid into two blocks of the sidewalk on Washington Way between 5th Street and the

Sacramento River in the historic Washington Neighborhood, as part of a public art project. The city held the contest in January encouraging poets to submit poems with a river theme.

“It is exciting that the city of West Sacramento appreciates poetry as an art,” says Knorr. “Usually public art consists of sculptures and fountains.”

Knorr’s poem was chosen as a part of a renovation project occurring in the Washington District in the city of West Sacramento. The project seeks to improve infrastructure and provide maintenance to the city.

The poem chosen was inspired by one of Knorr’s previous poems.

“The American River Parkway Foundation asked me to write a poem as a tribute to the rivers of the region,” says Knorr. “I went back to look at that poem and took

some pieces but also added new parts.”

Knorr is the former poet laureate of the city and county of Sacramento. He was named poet laureate in August 2012 by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and served until 2016.

Knorr has written three poetry books and co-edited two books and an anthology. His works include “The Third Body,” “Keeper,” and “Standing Up to the Day.” He awaits the publication of his fourth poetry book, “The Color of a New Country.”

Knorr has also edited, judged and served as a visiting writer for several conferences and festivals. He teaches English and creative writing on campus and directs the River City Writers Series at City College.

Knorr, who received $5,000 prize money for the poem, says he feels honored to have a poem of his on display that will be available for generations to come.

“I appreciate that they see poetry and literary arts as an art display,” says Knorr, “and to have it be a poem inlaid on the sidewalk gives public value to the literary arts.”
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The installation is expected to be finished by summer of this year.


“The Sacramento”

By Jeff Knorr

The river is pressing itself into banks drifting against light and stones.

The wind is flittering just a little brushing grasses and shifting against

the oaks and cottonwood trees. A few swallows dive sharply for insects and a heron

hides in the reeds while the red tailed hawk circles above on a distant cyclone of air.

They search the tall grass for the secrets that hold us together.

Cyclists hum along the hot asphalt of the bike trail then out past parks

where families picnic, where children learn the mysteries of minnows and of mud.

The salmon and stripers nose up the current, fi nd the slow eddies to hold them tonight.

Geese head in from the rice fields honking; the moon begins to climb the pathways of night

only the air knows. It lights the surface of this ribbon of river.

Let us come, let us be guided by the wandering of the water.

Let us look in and see our reflections, hold them. Let this water make us do right.

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