Poetry on the Rocks in Tucson

Poetry on Rocks
Ofelia Zepeda's poetry appears on boulders as a part of Tucson's drainage project. Photo Credit: Sam Lowe (click to enlarge)

TUCSON — The poetry of Ofelia Zepeda is literally cast in stone.

As part of a Tucson drainage project, several of her poems were etched into large boulders along North Mountain Avenue. They include odes to the desert, tributes to Native Americans, and rhymes about flora and fauna.

Zepeda is University of Arizona Regents professor of linguistics, a published poet and writer, and the author of the first book of grammar in the language of the Tohono O’odham tribe.

The word-bearing rocks stretch for nearly one mile on both sides of Mountain Avenue between Fort Lowell and Rodgers roads. Most are in English, but some are printed in the language of the O’odham. The project was designed by local artist Simon Donovan, who also masterminded the Rattlesnake Bridge elsewhere in the city.

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