Twenty nonprofit poetry organizations from across the United States, including the University of Arizona Poetry Center, have formed a historic coalition dedicated to working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and communities, and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.
With support from Lannan Foundation, the poetry organizations convened last November in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to begin discussing how they might join forces to enhance the visibility of the art form and its impact on people’s everyday lives. Contrary to the public perception that interest in poetry is waning, over the past few years, these organizations have witnessed increases in the number of students participating in poetry recitation and spoken word events, visitors to poetry websites, individuals attending poetry readings, and young poets taking to social media to share their work.
Now, more than ever, these organizations believe that poetry has a positive role to play in our country. It is through reading, writing, and discussing poems that we learn about one another on our most human level, inspiring empathy, compassion, and greater understanding of one another. Poetry Coalition members believe that by collaborating on programs, they will spotlight the art form’s unique ability to spark dialogues, create opportunities to engage in meaningful conversation, discover unexpected connections with each other, and inspire new readers.
As its first public offering, throughout the month of March 2017, Poetry Coalition members will present multiple programs on the theme: Because We Come From Everything: Poetry & Migration, which borrows a line from U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s poem, “Borderbus.”
The University of Arizona Poetry Center will present multiple programs addressing overlaps between poetry and figurative and literal migration, including issues of translation, the private and public life of poetry, and poetry’s role in addressing human migration, borders, and cultural interplay. Programs will include a featured reading with United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and a panel discussion between him and Arizona Poet Laureate and Academy of American Poets Chancellor Alberto Ríos.
Poetry Coalition members include: Academy of American Poets, Alliance for Young Artists & Writers/National Student Poets Program, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, CantoMundo, Cave Canem Foundation, Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, Kundiman, Lambda Literary Foundation, Letras Latinas at Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, Mass Poetry, O, Miami, Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives at SFSU, Poetry Foundation, The Poetry Project, Poetry Society of America, Poets House, Split This Rock, University of Arizona Poetry Center, Urban Word//National Youth Poet Laureate Program, and Wick Poetry Center.
To read the full press release, including events taking place across the country, click here.
Learn more about the Poetry Coalition by clicking here.