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"Let all birds feast upon the poets' bones, then sing!" - 1981 inscription by William Pitt Root on the Poets Cottage at the original UA Poetry Center
Born in Maine the daughter of a mill worker, Louise Bogan was the fourth Poet Laureate of the United States and one of the most notable female American poets of the twentieth century. She was poetry editor for The New Yorker from 1931-1969,and she published six collections of poetry during her lifetime. After her first marriage, Bogan began her career as a writer in New York City where she would remain for the rest of her life. Bogan is noted for her formal style and opposition to the confessional poetry that was popular during her lifetime. While few details of Bogan's personal life are public knowledge, her work continues to speak for itself today. Bogan read at the UA Poetry Center on February 15, 1967.
by Daniela Ugaz
Daniela moved to Tucson about a year and a half ago to start her MFA. Since then she's been spending some of her time writing, some of it teaching, some of it reading, organizing, scrounging up money and, without which none of the other things would be possible, napping! Life is good.
I started working with kids when I was twenty. That was four years ago. Now that I think about it, actually, I babysat a couple times when I was in my early teens. It was a little boy. I don't remember his name anymore. I didn't like babysitting very much, I remember that. And the boy's mother stopped calling after I lied a few times, saying I couldn't, saying I had a swim meet or play practice. The next time I worked with kids I was a teaching assistant for a summer journalism workshop for "at risk" middle schoolers. Those kids were hard on me, or maybe I took it that way mistakenly. I'll never be president, one of the boys once said to me. The teacher had just said something like you can be anything you want to be, as long as you set your mind to it. I didn't know what to say to him. I liked the idea of that job more than the job itself.
by Julie Swarstad
Rusty Morrison is a poet and co-founder of Omnidawn Publishing. She is the author of two volumes of poetry: Whethering (2005) which won the Colorado Prize for Poetry and the true keeps calm biding its story (2008) which won the 2008 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her poetry, essays, and reviews have been published in Boston Review, Chicago Review, and New American Writing, among others. She is a contributing editor for Poetry Flash.
Fred Moten lives in Durham, North Carolina, where he teaches in the Duke University Department of English. He is author of Arkansas (2000), In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (2003), I ran from it but was still in it. (2007), Hughson's Tavern (2008) and B Jenkins (2010).
The Next Word in Poetry program was initiated in 2003 to present emerging poets whose work heralds a dynamic new era in contemporary poetry. In February 2011 the Poetry Center presents two pairs of New Word poets to read and engage in conversation with one another concerning their literary interests and influences. Rusty Morrison and Fred Moten will read at the UA Poetry Center on Thursday, February 10 at 8 p.m.
"I see your spider legs and raise you an octopus tentacle."
The only legible phrase on our recently-decorated banner is also - though it does loosely correspond with the crayoned-in contents of the bubble letters - nonsensical. This doesn't matter.
The English and Creative Writing Club is among hundreds of recognized organizations on the University of Arizona campus and at least a handful of special interest - that is, non-exclusive - clubs. When I was became vice president my sophomore year, I wasn't worried; I knew the drill. Mostly due to low membership, the activities had dwindled to the bare bones of annual projects - chapbook, outreach, outreach - and the weekly meetings revolved around these bones.
by Logan Phillips
Logan Phillips is a bilingual writer, performer and transdisciplinary artist from the Arizona / Mexico borderlands. Born in Tombstone, AZ in 1983 to a family of Irish-Slavic decent, he holds a B.A. in Spanish from Northern Arizona University. Phillips was a professor of Hispanic American Literature and translation at Universidad Internacional in Cuernavaca, Mexico before dedicating himself full-time to artistic endeavors. As a performer and poet, Phillips has toured throughout the US, Mexico and as far afield as Vancouver, Paris, Bogota, and Penzance, England. He also works as a freelance journalist and is author of five poetry chapbooks including Arroyo Ink, published in 2009.
In 2007 Phillips co-founded the binational multimedia performance group Verbo•bala Spoken Video, which was described by national Mexican newspaper La Reforma as "going for a poetry written without letters." When not touring, Phillips splits his time between Arizona and Mexico City. More can be found at dirtyverbs.com. Author Photo by Elena Zinchenko.
A Moment Out of Time
It was a Friday afternoon in 2008 when my fellow performance poets Jasmine Cuffee, Carlos Contreras and I were performing for a crowd of over 700 students at Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
With Yellowcake, Ann Cummins walks a dangerously thin line. Her story is one of disease, radiation, and cultural struggle, all issues that many of us might find difficult to write about without ending up on a figurative soapbox. Cummins, however, never makes that error; she approaches her story from an angle that is utterly human in perspective. Cummins walks the line between political activism and the minutiae of daily life with such grace that the reader doesn't notice the balancing act and can simply engage with her fully realized, realistically flawed characters.
Yellowcake reads like a collection of several distinct stories woven together with the common threads of family, old friendships, and long exposure to radiation through yellowcake in the uranium mills of Colorado and New Mexico. Ryland Mahoney, Sam Behan, and Woody Atcitty are the three men whose history as workers in a uranium mill near Shiprock, New Mexico drive the story forward; Ryland, an Anglo, and Woody, a Navajo, are slowly dying from radiation-caused illnesses, and their families and friends must struggle with the guilt, fear, and loss tangled up in their sickness.
by Julie Swarstad
David Wojahn is the author of eight books of poetry, among them World Tree (2011), Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982-2006 (2006), The Falling Hour (1997) and Icehouse Lights (1982). He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and The National Endowment for the Arts. Interrogation Palace was a named finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the O.B. Hardison Award. An alumnus of the University of Arizona Creative Writing MFA Progra m, Wojahn is a professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University.
While David Wojahn is often noted as being "a poet of witness" to political injustice and other violence, in the poems collected into Interrogation Palace, he also acts as a witness to the struggles within individual lives. His writing is filled with moments of personal struggle and pain: the loss of his wife Lynda, of unborn children, of friends, along with all the simple, small losses we go through each day. Wojahn writes from a place of trouble and pain, but while his topics are weighty, he charges us to look them full in the face. "How can you turn away?" he asks in one poem.
We are pleased to announce the 2010-2011 Corrido Contest results. The University of Arizona Poetry Center received entries from across the state representing three counties, eleven schools, and over 250 individual entries by high school students sponsored by sixteen teachers. Congratulations to all who participated! It is heartening to see such motivated, curious, and thoughtful young people contributing to the cultural vibrancy of our community.
This year's selections were made by Dean of the College of Science at the University of Arizona, Joaquin Ruiz. Fifty semi-finalists from nine schools were selected by Poetry Center staff and will be acknowledged by a special semi-finalist ribbon and certificate to be sent directly to teachers. All participants, semi-finalists, and winners are invited to attend the 2010-2011 Corrido Awards Concert on April 16th, 2011 at 4 p.m. at the Poetry Center. The event is free and open to the public and this year's winning corridos will be performed. For more information about the Corrido Contest, including how you and your students can become involved, please visit: http://poetry.arizona.edu/k-12/corrido-poetry-center
1st place, Sylvana Acuña from Cholla High School sponsored by Russ Healy for "El corrido de Heriberto Acuña."
2nd place, Jesus Hurtado from Sunnyside High School sponsored by Zelika Araiza for her corrido "Padre Querido."
3rd place, Valerie Leon from Marana High School sponsored by Yvonne Segawa Gonzales for "El corrido del Colimocho."
The WordPlay blog is on winter holiday. Please check back in January 2011 for more great interviews and articles about bringing creative writing into your classroom, home, and community. In the meantime, here's what's upcoming for youth at the UA Poetry Center in the Spring. Mark your calendars.
Poetry Joeys: January 29, February 26, March 19.
Poetry Out Loud Regional Finals: March 3 at 8 p.m.
Bilingual Corrido Contest Concert featuring 2011 winners: April 16
Young at Art Fest: April 30
A few collaborative stories written by Poetry Joeys participants ages 4-6 on December 4th. Children were encouraged to make up their own words and create movements for them. Our next Poetry Joeys will be January 29th at 10 a.m. Hope to see you there!
Once upon a time there was a snoofjay. He had curly horns and a zebra face, feathers on his head, a lizard chameleon body, and yellow beak. The snoofjay nacks and snoofs. At night he dumbers to his snookie. In the morning he goes to bed. He has to watch out for the Rhino and the maneless lion. When the Snoofjay sees people, he says "Zucker. Zacky." Then he blows bees and grooks out of his nose.
A long time ago in Neek, eufs and geeks were having a battle. The eufs wanted freedom, and the geeks wanted juice. All day long the eufs snooked and all night the geeks fracked. One day Fweak, the prince of mashed potatoes came riding on his Queaky. When Fweak arrived he shlushed and he slooped. The eufs gacked and gracked while the geeks boofed and ookied. Fweak jumped off his Queaky, raised up his snond, and said, "Quackakeeky!" The eufs choofed to the city. The geeks went to San Diego. And the Prince of Mashed Potatoes wackanacked home.