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On April 30th the Poetry Center will host the Young at Art Festival, celebrating Tucson youth artists and local community organizations. There will be day long activities for all ages, including plays, readings, chalk artists, musicians, puppet shows, a variety of word inspired crafts and activities including bookmaking, a poetry slam, haiku improv, and food made by Blue Banjo Barbecue served all day long!
Puppets Amongus is one of many local arts organizations performing at the Young at Art Festival. Sarah and Matt Cotten of Puppets Amongus were recently featured on Arizona Illustrated. Watch their interview below!
Congratulations to the Southern Arizona Poetry Out Loud Semi-Finalists: Steffi McNerney of St. Gregory College Preparatory School, Naomi Blackwell of Tucson High Magnet School, and Samantha Neville of Tucson High Magnet School!
Steffi, Naomi, and Samantha competed with 10 other high school students at the Poetry Center on March 3rd to secure their semi-finalist standing. All three ladies now move on to the State Finals Competition on Wednesday, March 16th from 7-9 p.m. in Phoenix, AZ. For more details about this performance visit www.azarts.gov/pol.
by Julie Swarstad
Kazim Ali is a poet, novelist, essayist, and founding editor of Nightboat Books. He is the author of three volumes of poetry and two novels, including The Far Mosque (2005), The Disappearance of Seth (2009), and Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities (2009). Ali is an assistant creative writing professor at Oberlin College in addition to teaching for the Stonecoast MFA program.
Ana Božičević was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1977. She emigrated to NYC in 1997. Her first book of poems is Stars of the Night Commute (2009), a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her fifth chapbook, Depth Hoar, will be published by Cinematheque Press in 2010. With Amy King, Ana co-curates The Stain of Poetry reading series in Brooklyn. She works at the Center for the Humanities of The Graduate Center, CUNY.
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. Kazim Ali and Ana Božičević will read at the UA Poetry Center on Thursday, February 24 at 8 p.m.
"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 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.
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