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Fiction

Coming Soon

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

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chew On This: Nonsense Stories from Poetry Joeys

Poetry Joeys at the Poetry Center

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. 

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Re-Appropriated Text: Kate Bernheimer and the Potential of Fairy Tales

Kate Bernheimerby Julie Swarstad

Kate Bernheimer is the author of two novels, The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold (2001) and The Complete Tales of Merry Gold (2006), as well a short story collection titled Horse, Flower, Bird (2010).  She has also edited several fairy-tale anthologies, including My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales (2010). Bernheimer is an alumna of the University of Arizona Creative Writing MFA Program.  She founded and edits the journal Fairy Tale Review and is Writer in Residence at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette each spring. She spends the rest of the year in Tucson.

A reading and discussion of "The Contemporary Fairy Tale" will take place at the UA Poetry Center on Wednesday, December 1, at 8:00 p.m.

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

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Poetry Joeys: Heroines

Two heroine stories from Poetry Joys this fall.

Poetry Joeys is a Saturday morning reading and writing activity group for children ages 4-10. Teaching artists inspire participants to develop their flexibility with language through creative movement and reading and writing poetry. Upcoming Poetry Joeys on Nov. 13 and Dec. 4 at 10 a.m.

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

Heroine
by Emberly

I Dr. Savdenarow have a story to tell you, a story that is beyond a story, to be worth telling. Some people that watch cow documentaries know about me but not many. I save cows and buffalo. Some of my favorite cows and buffalo are Gopi and Ayapahsah. Well one day I decided to take a trip to Ghana. I'd heard of a new ibex hunter named Jospeh Demelo. When I arrived I started off to a national park where many ibex were and lured about three packs with my wheat. I traveled back the next day with my ibex for soon I'd be going back.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Poetry Joeys: Kitchen Stories

Three stories from Poetry Joys this fall.

Poetry Joeys is a Saturday morning reading and writing activity group for children ages 4-10. Teaching artists inspire participants to develop their flexibility with language through creative movement and reading and writing poetry. Upcoming Poetry Joeys on Nov. 13 and Dec. 4 at 10 a.m.

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

Bag of Flour
by Liam M.

Once upon a time there was a bag of flour named Bob. His friends are Joe the Blender and Peter the Spoon. All of them live with a cranky grandma and a weird grandpa. They come alive at midnight. The cranky grandma and the weird grandpa don't know their utensils come alive! Bob really wants to go to China.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Mood and Tone at Halloween

by Elizabeth MariaThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman Falcón

I taught a Halloween lesson at Apollo Middle School last fall that centered around mood and tone.  I began by reading the opening of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book:

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade

finer and sharper than any razor.  If it sliced you, you might

not even know you had been cut, not immediately.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Knife and Spoon Best Friends

A story from this fall's first Poetry Joeys.

Photo Credit: Cybele KnowlesThere once was two magical best friends who were a knife and a spoon.  The knife was green and the spoon was pink.  They were the bestest friends in the kitchen.  The spoon was a girl and the knife was a boy. 

They loved each other so much that one day the spoon decided to go to Antarctica.  They took the flying pan to go there.  When they got there, they got off and wandered around.  Then suddenly, the knife said, "This looks like a pile of white icing!  Let's eat!"  The knife dumped himself in the snow and gobbled up a hole all the way to China.  The spoon followed him.  When they reached there, they saw that the flying pan was waiting.  "Let's go!" said the spoon.  The knife and the spoon got on the flying pan and they flew back to the kitchen.  "We had one awesome adventure!" they said together, "I hope we have another!"

Carmina is a 3rd Grader at Khalsa Montessori School.  She is a three-time Poetry Joeys veteran.

Photo Credit: Cybele Knowles

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Monday, October 18, 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

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

Discovering "Worlds of Words" at UA's College of Education

When I set out to find the Worlds of Words collection, I knew little beyond that it was located in the basement of the Education Building.  After a few unsuccessful attempts in various stairwells, I opened a door and knew I had found the right place.  The walls of the stairwell were covered in posters promoting literacy with bright, colorful illustrations all pulling me forward into an incredible collection of children's books.

The most immediately striking thing about WOW is the sheer number of books they house.  There are books everywhere, filling shelves in four rooms, covering tables, sometimes even stacked on top of each other on the shelves in sections where there wasn't quite enough space.  This impressive collection is housed in a series of interconnected classrooms which have been converted into a library space with tables and chairs scattered throughout.  The lighting is slightly dim and the atmosphere cool and quiet, a perfect respite from the world above.

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Friday, August 27, 2010
Arizona Board of Regents