I’m so happy to be writing you as Executive Director at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. If you live in Tucson, you know firsthand the distinctive magic of this city and our celebratory and landmark home for poetry within it. If you are far away, you’ve got to come experience Tucson and the Poetry Center—and all the ways we present and share poetry—for yourself. Our collections (now 70,000+ items and growing), our programs, and our home for poetry are all reasons I’m excited to be the person to reach out to you via this letter.
But there are other reasons I’m excited, not least of which is the motivation to carry forward the work of the Poetry Center with such a tremendous staff. I have been reminded constantly through these first months at the Center that our work is necessary work—in reading feedback surveys from our Reading Series events, in analyzing website metrics, in speaking with teachers and students who participate in our matinee programs (where local students engage with visiting poets), and in seeing the regular use of our library stacks throughout a typical day. As global volatility continues to heat up—as I’m typing, unrest in Syria continues to threaten, and sovereign debt concerns continue to weigh heavily on our linked financial markets—I’m reminded of poetry’s crucial role in handling the material of our lives. Poetry can teach us ways of thinking through these charged and complicated moments, and contemporary culture has a need for the literacies that sustained experiences with poetry make possible: literacies of attention, of open-mindedness, of style, of emotional intelligence, and of curiosity and creativity.
Thanks in large part to your generosity and to gifts from others who care deeply, the Poetry Center is thriving. Thank you. We really couldn’t do the important work of the Center without you. That’s why I have to ask: please make a new gift now so that we can continue our efforts.
Every donation makes a critical difference, and we depend on gifts from supporters like you to sustain our ongoing efforts throughout our program year. In the past year alone we’ve:
brought poetry to over 8,000 Arizona students in our K-12 outreach programs;
purchased more than 1,200 new titles for our library, and maintained over 250 subscriptions to literary journals;
provided teachers with professional development opportunities, classroom book sets, and lesson plans;
revamped the children’s area of the library with a new interactive mural featuring our imaginative desert landscape;
taught community-based workshops and classes such as “Prose Poetry,” “The Poetics of Disability,” “Poetry and Landscape,” “Sound Poetry,” and “Oracular Writing;”
and presented our distinguished annual reading series, featuring a slate of diverse poets working across the aesthetic range of contemporary poetry.
Help us continue to sustain and expand our audience with a gift today. We look forward to seeing you at the Poetry Center soon!
The University of Arizona Poetry Center