GALVESTON — Joshua Edwards was a campground ranger when his path to poetry became clear to him.
“I had lots of time to read in the toll booth during the quiet season, and on my days off I’d hike and write,” said Edwards, a Galveston native.
“I came across some things … that made it seem like it’d be crazy for me to do anything with my life besides write poetry.”
Now, after two published poetry collections, numerous creative projects, teaching and living in four countries in the span of six years, he is coming home to hike and write some more.
Edwards will begin a 700-mile trek from Galveston to his new home in Marfa in West Texas, writing poetry and taking pictures all along the way.
In Marfa, he and his wife, poet Lynn Xu, will team with family and friends to build a house based on philosophical architectural theories. Then they plan to build a cottage next door to provide residences for visiting writers, architects and artists.
“Lynn and I wanted to make an interdisciplinary project that has the energy of a conversation,” said Edwards, in an interview from his current post as a fellow at an interdisciplinary residency in Stuttgart, Germany, called the Akademie Schloss Solitude.
The project will include a book, “Architecture for Travelers,” a collection of prose, verse and photography created during the 700-mile walk. The book will explore travel, collaboration and architecture.
“The project began simply as the idea to build our own home with the expertise of my dad a few years ago, because we need a stable place. Both of us have been moving around a lot since forever,” Edwards said.
His father, photographer Van Edwards, ran the gallery at the Galveston Arts Center for several years and did freelance work for the University of Texas Medical Branch and the Moody Foundation.
Van Edwards built the current family home in Clear Lake Shores.
“The ‘project’ impulse of photography and building is most indebted to (his dad),” Edwards said.
His mother, Deborah Edwards, is a librarian at Stewart Elementary School in Kemah.
Edwards grew up in the Clear Lake area, and headed to the northwest for college and a stint as a campground ranger at Mount Rainier National Park. From there, he studied, wrote and taught in locations ranging from Mexico to China.
He and his wife are in Germany, where he runs a poetry press, Canarium Books, and does freelance editing and design.
“A couple of years ago, we decided it was time to find a place to call home, somewhere to consolidate the things our parents have kindly stored for us in their garages for the past 10 years and locate the main office of the small press we edit,” Edwards wrote on his website, www.architecturefortravel
ers.org. “We fell in love with West Texas.”
Edwards plans to end his trek to Marfa by the close of the holidays. Construction is set to begin in the spring 2014.
The details of the house are still on the drawing board, all part of an experiment in collaboration that Edwards hopes will include The Daily News readers.
“If anyone has any thoughts, ideas or comments, please send us a message,” he said.
At a glance
WHAT: A 700-mile walk from Galveston to Marfa in West Texas this fall to provide fodder for “Architecture for Travelers,” a collection of prose, verse and photography. The book is to be published in November 2014.
WHO: Galveston native Joshua Edwards is a poet, translator, and editor. His collections of poetry include “Campeche” (2011), which includes photographs taken by his father, Van Edwards (who lives in Clear Lake Shores in Galveston County), and “Imperial Nostalgias” (2013). Edwards also directs Canarium Books. With his wife, the poet Lynn Xu, he divides his time between Marfa and Stuttgart, Germany.
WHEN: The walk will begin around Nov. 10 or 11, depending on the weather.
WHERE: Edwards will start from the University of Texas Medical Branch (his birthplace), then will walk along the seashore (40 miles), over to Austin (190 miles), then Kerrville (100 miles), and across to 404 West Galveston St. in Marfa (350 miles). His wife will join him for the leg from Austin to Kerrville.
DETAILS: “Architecture for Travelers” also will include poems written during Edwards’ time at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany. Pre-orders of the book and/or limited edition prints of photographs taken during the walk will help fund the project.