Summer Residency Program

Since 1994, the Poetry Center’s Residency Program has offered writers an opportunity to develop their work. The Poetry Center will award one residency each summer for a poet to spend two weeks in Tucson, Arizona developing his/her work. Writers at any stage of their careers may apply; emerging writers are welcome. The residency includes a $500 stipend and a two-week stay in a studio apartment located within steps of the Center’s renowned library of contemporary poetry. The residency is offered between June 1 and August 31.


2015 Contest:

We are delighted to announce Eduardo C. Corral as our 2015 Summer Residency judge! Submissions are open via Submittable as of September 15, 2014, and will close on December 15, 2014 at midnight (MST).

Eduardo C. Corral is the author of Slow Lightning, winner of the 2011 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. He’s the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. He teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University. 

This is a blind submission process. Students or family members of the judge are not eligible to apply. Current University of Arizona faculty, staff, students, and Tucson residents are not eligible to receive the residency. International applicants are welcome.

The Poetry Center will contact finalists to receive their CV/Resumes, as well as the contact information for three professional/personal references, before selecting a winner.

Submissions should include:

  • Submit a typed poetry manuscript totaling no more than ten pages. Please make sure that your name and/or contact information is not included on your manuscript or in the title of your submission.
  • We only accept DOC, DOCX, PDF, and RTF files.

To submit, please visit our Submittable page here. With questions, contact Hannah Ensor (


The Residency Experience

The guest apartment is located within the University of Arizona campus and on the premises of the Poetry Center. There are a few coffee shops and restauraunts nearby, and the guest apartment comes equipped with a bicycle. Tucson's streetcar provides convenient transportation to Fourth Avenue and downtown, where you can find restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores.

Temperatures in Tucson average in the 100's during the summer. Mornings and evenings are cool and great for hiking in the Sonoran Desert. The monsoon season hits about the end of June, and is usually at its peak in July. Some residents find the heat overwhelming at first. 

Beyond the initial welcome, for which we stock the guest house with some basic essentials, the residents are responsible for buying their own food and other supplies as well as doing their own laundry at nearby laundromats. Residents are responsible for providing their own transportation to Tucson and for the duration of their stay.

Unlike other residency programs, there are no other writers or artists staying on-site simultaneously. However, the Poetry Center library is full of fun and interesting patrons who like to talk about books. The Poetry Center staff, volunteers, and docents do provide some hosting and welcome activities for the summer residents; however, applicants should understand that they are largely on their own. We leave it to each individual to decide how much engagement with the community s/he would like, understanding that residents are here for uninterrupted writing time. There are no obligations to teach a class or hold office hours (although some residents have done this and it has been received well by the community). The only obligation, aside from maintaining residence in the guest apartment for two to four weeks, is to give a reading with other local writers sometime during the visit.

We provide residencies for one poet per summer. The guest apartment cannot accomodate spouses, significant others, or pets, (unless the pet is a certified service animal). The primary purpose of this program is to provide time for people to write. While we do have free internet access in the Poetry Center, as well as in the guest cottage, the guest cottage is not equipped with a landline. Residents are responsible for bringing their own cell phone, laptop or computer, car, and exercise equipment. Smoking in the guest house is not permitted.


What Our Residents Have To Say

"My summer residency was wonderful. A pleasure. And honor. My time in the heat and sand with the blue-tail lizards and saguaro (not to mention the cricket inhabiting the fuse box) was truly a gift. Tucson inspired my work and fed my soul. The Poetry Center library is simply gorgeous – a well from which I drew again and again."

          -- Harrison Candelaria Fletcher, 2012 Summer Resident


"This library, with its open stacks and fresh pages, with its 50 years of company, its clarity and carefulness, its brightness and cushiness-[those lovely couches!]-and the love that is so evident in every inch, is like no where I have ever been, but it is still familiar, as if I've always known it somehow."

          -- Genine Lentine, 2012 Summer Resident


"My novel was absolutely rescued by my stay in Tucson, by the days of sitting in the library watching the monsoon crackle over the mountains and long quiet nights at Casa Libre listening to the cicadas sing. Seriously, there is no doubt in my mind that my month in Tucson saved my book. I was ready to give up, throw it away and forget it had ever been. That quiet month, just sitting with my book, crossing out whole chapters and making notes and not panicking because I knew I had time, made all the difference."

          -- Naomi Alderman, 2004 Summer Resident



The Poetry Center is thrilled to announce that Stephen Willey is the winner of the 2014 Summer Residency Contest! Congratulations to Stephen! We're looking forward to having him as a resident at the Poetry Center this summer. We also want to congratulate the runner-up and finalists of the Summer Residency Contest:


Merridawn Duckler


Maureen Alsop

Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhran

Emma Torz

Here's what judge Farid Matuk had to say about the winner, runner-up, finalists, and the rest of this year's amazing applicants:

"The sheer quantity of excellent entries made choosing this year’s finalists and winner an incredibly difficult process. The runner-up and finalists were all impressive in their own ways. While Merridawn Duckler showed a formal range and technical skill, she stood out for the daring of her imagination, for showing the world not so much as new but more astonishingly lived than one thought possible. Emma Torz used her language lightly to make of it a clear window into a life and its broken moments. Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán brought a Whitmanic sweep and an Old Testament fury to his witnessing of life at multiple and intersecting margins. And Maureen Alsop matched lyric grace with a violently beautiful use of metaphor to mate the intimate with the vast. This year’s winner, Stephen Willey, offered a braiding of prose and lyric forms that cut with their attention to the strife of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict as well as the strife of a relatively privileged and removed witness. I can do no better for a citation to this work than to quote Alan Dugan who wrote that art must be 'ugly or lovely or both/ to be beautiful, but not nice, terrible/ in its pitiful humors, but not cute."

Thank you to all who applied, and we hope that you'll submit to next year's contest! Stay tuned for more details on our website for the next year's deadline.

Past Residents

2014: Stephen Willey
2013: Anne Shaw (poetry) & Polly Rosenwaike (fiction)
2012: Genine Lentine (poetry) & Harrison Candelaria Fletcher (non-fiction)
2011: Harmony Holiday (poetry) & Mary Jones (fiction)
2010: Sean Bernard
2009: James Allen Hall
2008: Shashi Baat
2007: Anna Green
2006: Cody Walker
2005: Eric Abbott
2004: Naomi Alderman
2003: Esther Lee
2002: Rebecca Davidson
2001: Joshua Poteat
2000: Jonathon Keats
1999: Beth Ann Fennelly
1998: Martha Silano
1997: Caroline Langston
1996: Lise Goett
1995: Kymberly Taylor
1994: Mark Wunderlich



Arizona Board of Regents