That Place Where Ghosts of Salmon Jump, Spokane Falls

At the Spokane Public Library's Overlook Park there is a platform overlooking Spokane Falls. It was here that artist and former Spokane resident Sherman Alexie was inspired to write his poem, "That Place Where Ghosts of Salmon Jump." It is "an environmentally sensitive poem that celebrates the creation of the falls and the river - and laments what has become of this former river of nurture and the people who inhabited its banks."

The poem is written in its entirety on a polished granite spiral set in concrete, right at the spot where Alexie was inspired to write it. When Alexie was asked to write this poem he walked to the falls and tried to see the river from his ancestor's point of view. "The river was the center of our lives, the center of our religion, so that location, there overlooking the river, is just where I wanted the poem to be. I looked down at the river and its beauty and also wondered how many inches of mercury lay under the water. The river makes me think of the ghosts of us and the ghosts of the salmon." At first Alexie did not care for the spiral design, but a few years later he changed his mind. He came back to see it, and saw a couple reading the poem. "Their movement was a dance. The design forces people to dance. The true power of it is in watching people reading the poem in that way."

This poem was the final installation of public art for the Spokane Public Library, and was installed in 1995. Sherman Alexie is a Spokane/Coeur D'Alene Indian author, poet, playwright, comedian, and lecturer.


That Place Where Ghosts of Salmon Jump
A reading of the Poem "The Place Where Ghosts of Salmon Jump" By Sherman Alexie. Preformed by Allie Todd.
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