Oregon planner Scot Siegel, AICP LEED AP, just released his latest book,‘The Constellation of Extinct Stars’, and Other Poems, from Salmon Poetry of Ireland.
Constellation was a four-year project, during which time Siegel had the privilege of serving as an artist-in-residence at Playa at Summer Lake, in the high desert of south-central Oregon. The poems in this collection reflect on that experience, traversing a century of high desert history, human geography, and mythology, among other topics and contemporary themes.
Siegel founded Siegel Planning Services LLC in 2004 to provide individualized planning for distinctive communities. Siegel Planning prepares community plans, design standards, and zoning and development codes for jurisdictions throughout the western United States. He also serves on the board of the Western Planning Resources, Inc., the publisher of the Western PlannerJournal.
On his website, Siegel says, “Poetry is an essential creative outlet from my work as a city planner. When I write as a planner, I am trying to tell the story of a community according to the vision or aspirations of its citizens. An effective plan must connect past to present, reconcile different values and points of view, and serve as a roadmap for the common good. As a poet, or artist, one is free to focus on the individual, raise questions out of order, and leave things unsettled and open to interpretation. In this way, through poetry, we can explore subjects that are forbidden in the workaday world and find greater meaning in our lives. All people have the capacity to change the world through art, as producers or consumers of it. Art bears witness and gives voice. It heals and praises, mourns and celebrates. Art conveys that which cannot be heard on the news or picked up from popular culture. Art invokes all of the senses to create a sixth sense. But art should be accessible. Poetry, for example, should clarify, not obfuscate, the truth. It should also push the envelope of literary accomplishment and challenge our notions of political correctness. The best literature blurs the line between everyday life and high art, and moves us to repair the world.”
Siegel is the author of three full-length poetry collections and two poetry chapbooks, most recently The Constellation of Extinct Stars and Other Poems (Salmon Poetry, 2016) and Thousands Flee California Wildflowers (Salmon Poetry, 2012). He has received fellowship-residencies from Playa at Summer Lake and awards and commendations from Nimrod International, Aesthetica (UK), the Oregon State Library, and the Oregon Poetry Association.