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Events intern

Celebrating Dead Poets: Louise Bogan (1897-1970)

Louise Bogan"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.

Much of Bogan's poetry is available online through the Poetry Foundation website, including "A Tale" and "Medusa."

Several audio recordings of Bogan reading her poetry are also available from the Poetry Foundation and the Academy of American Poets, including  "The Dragonfly" and "Statue and Birds."

--Julie Swarstad

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Out of Breath: Dissociation in Morrison and Moten

by Julie SwarstaRusty Morrison Bookd

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.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Human Side of the Issue: Ann Cummins' Yellowcake

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.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Confronting the Darkness with David Wojahn

by Julie SwarstadInterrogation Palace by David Wohahn

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.

David Wojahn will read at the UA Poetry Center on Thursday, January 20 at 8 p.m. along with fellow UA alum Ann Cummins.

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.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Joshua Marie Wilkinson's Exploratory Imagery

by Julie SwSelenography by Joshua Marie Wilkinsonarstad

Joshua Marie Wilkinson is the author of five books of poetry, including Lug Your Careless Body out of the Careful Dusk (2005) which won the Iowa Poetry Prize, and Selenography (2010).  He has edited two anthologies for University of Iowa Press, including Poets on Teaching (2010), and his first feature-length film--a tour documentary about the band Califone--has just been completed.  Wilkinson is an alumnus of the University of Arizona Creative Writing MFA Program.  He lives in Chicago where he is an assistant professor at Loyola University.

Joshua Marie Wilkinson will read at the UA Poetry Center on Friday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. along with fellow UA alumna Kate Bernheimer.

Wilkinson will also be teaching an afternoon seminar on ancient images and threads at the Poetry Center on Saturday, Dec. 4th from 1-3 p.m.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Natalie Merchant Sets Children's Poetry to Song

Review by Julie Swarstad
Leave Your  Sleep by Natalie Merchant
Natalie Merchant is an American singer-songwriter who has been actively releasing records since 1982.  Merchant was originally a member of the alternative-rock band 10,000 Maniacs until she began a career as a solo musician in 1993.  Her most critically-acclaimed albums include Tigerlily (1995) and Ophelia (1998).  Leave Your Sleep (2010) is her first album since 2003's The House Carpenter's Daughter.  Visit her official website at: http://www.nataliemerchant.com/.

Leave Your Sleep marks Natalie Merchant's first foray into the world of poetry.  "I'm a late arrival to the party," Merchant said in an interview about the album as she discussed her connection to poetry.  Despite her late introduction to the genre, Merchant's latest album--a two disc collection of children's poetry set to music--is a testament to the power of language and story in children's lives.  The collection includes children's poetry from well-known poets Edward Lear, Jack Prelutsky, e.e. cummings, Ogden Nash, Robert Lewis Stevenson, and Gerard Manley Hopkins, along with a host of nursery rhymes and nonsense songs from more obscure writers.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gary Snyder: Writing from Personal Conviction

Review by Julie Swarstad
Danger On Peaks by Gary Snyder
Born in 1930, Gary Snyder has published sixteen collections of poetry and prose including Turtle Island (New Directions 1969), Mountains and Rivers Without End (Counterpoint 1996), and most recently Danger on Peaks (Shoemaker Hoard 2004)Snyder is the recipient of numerous awards including the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Turtle Island,  the 1997 Bolligen Prize for Poetry, the 1997 John Hay Award for Nature Writing, and the 2008 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.  Snyder is a professor of English at the University of California, Davis.

Snyder will read at the University of Arizona Poetry Center on Thursday, October 7 at 8 p.m.  There will also be a Shop Talk on his work on Monday, October 4 at 6 p.m.

Although he is often associated with specific movements or beliefs, Gary Snyder above all else is a poet who speaks for what he believes in.  Snyder's writing is often firmly labeled Beat poetry or nature writing, and while both of these things do accurately describe his work, his writing never fits as neatly within these categories as one might expect.  Rather than pigeonholing Snyder within any one of these categories then, it might be fruitful instead to teach him as a poet who speaks boldly from within his own beliefs and his own ideas.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Giving Arizona High School Students a Voice: Ten Years of Young Corridistas

by Julie SwarstadA Decade of Young Corridistas

Founded in 2000, the University of Arizona Bilingual High School Corrido Contest celebrates the corrido--a musico-poetic form unique to the U.S.-Mexico border region--by asking high school students to write their own corridos. Three winners are chosen each year by a distinguished judge, and music is written by a professional musician to accompany the corrido. The Poetry Center celebrates the first ten years of the contest by publishing Ten Years of Young Corridistas in September 2010.

The Poetry Center will hold a panel discussion by corrido experts on Saturday, September 24 at the Poetry Center. A benefit performance for the Corrido Program, featuring many of Tucson's top Mariachi musicians takes place Saturday, October 2.

The University of Arizona Poetry Center's Bilingual High School Corrido Contest is truly unique in what it celebrates.  For the past eleven years, the contest has challenged high school students to learn about the corrido form and its deep connection to the U.S.-Mexico border region while demonstrating this knowledge by writing a corrido of their own.  Edited and published by the UA Poetry Center, the winning entries presented in Ten Years of Young Corridistas cover an incredible range of topics and demonstrate remarkable emotional depth.  They speak to community concerns, personal hopes, and cultural values, presenting the voices of Arizona's high school students at their finest.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Engaging with Sherwin Bitsui's Torrent of Words

Flood Song by Sherwin BitsuiReview by Julie Swarstad

Sherwin Bitsui is a Dine poet originally from White Cone, Arizona.  He received an AFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts Creative Writing Program and has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships, including the prestigious Whiting Writers' Award, along with publications in American Poet and The Iowa Review.  Currently residing in Tucson, Arizona, Bistui is the author of two collections: Shapeshift (University of Arizona Press 2003) and Flood Song (Copper Canyon Press 2009).   Bitsui is a frequent guest in classrooms as a visiting poet through the ArtsReach program.

Bitsui will read at the UA Poetry Center on Friday, September 10th at 8 p.m. along with Ofelia Zepeda and Alberto Rios.

In Flood Song, Sherwin Bitsui explores "the dimming atlases of our lungs," atlases which are infused with his Dine background and a distinct sense of place that is both rural and urban with a hint of apocalypse.  This sense of place is rendered in a stream of surrealistic images that rush and brim with an energetic, almost wild, power.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Alberto Ríos and the Power of Story

by Julie SwarstadThe Dangerous Shirt by Alberto Rios

A two-time graduate from the University of Arizona, Alberto Ríos is a writer whose stories show us the overlooked magic of the world.   Born in 1952 in Nogales, Arizona, Ríos is the author of six full-length collections of poetry, including The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body, which was nominated for the National Book Award in 2002.  His publications also include several volumes of short stories and a memoir.  Six Pushcart Prizes, the Arizona Governor's Arts Award, and the Walt Whitman Award are just a sampling of the honors received by Ríos.  Ríos is currently a Regent's Professor of English at Arizona State University.

Alberto Ríos will be reading at the UA Poetry Center on Friday, September 10th at 8 p.m. along with Ofelia Zepeda and Sherwin Bitsui.

Alberto Ríos writes, "Science may be our best way of understanding the world, / But it may not be our best way of living in it."  The Dangerous Shirt, his latest collection of poetry, provides an answer to the question this statement makes, affirming that story is perhaps our best way of living in the world.  Ríos' poetry is story woven into verse, and his writing can be an exciting entryway into storytelling through poetry in the classroom.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Arizona Board of Regents