A photograph of Amaris Ketcham smiling.

Throughout my creative work, I have a question that I find myself returning to over and over again: “how does place make a person human?” Or, phrased differently: To what extent does place define us, our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors? To what extent do these places write themselves into us? When I say, “place,” I don’t just mean a location you can point to on a map. To me, a place is more akin to how we think about an ecosystem: as relationships between living or non-living components and intangible forces, such as wind, rain, histories, memories, and values. From writing to comics to collaborations with the community, I practice this deep attention to our shared place and humanity.

I have written two poetry books, A Poetic Inventory of the Sandia Mountains and Glitches in the FBI; a camping guide to New Mexico, Best Tent Camping: New Mexico; and a graphic novel, Unfiltered: A Cancer Year Diary. My work with Poetic Routes, in interactive poetic cartography of Albuquerque, was been adopted by the Albuquerque City Planning Department in 2021, as a way to use poetry as a means of understanding neighborhoods and community character throughout town.  As a practitioner of creative placemaking, I have taught poetry workshops in Albuquerque’s bosque and Place as Text institutes with the National Collegiate Honors Council. I have also painted murals throughout Albuquerque, acted in a radio drama about the Badlands National Park, and taken students on multi-week camping trips along the Lewis and Clark Trail.

You may contact me at ketchama (at) unm (dot) edu