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Poetry Out Loud (Part 2)

The Poetry Center's Poet-in-Residence Matthew Conley recites "Kindness" by Yusef Komunyakaa on November 19th as a part of the Poetry Out Loud Professional Development session for teachers. We encourage teachers and students to view and use these as an example of a strong recitation when preparing for the National Poetry Out Loud competitions at the school, regional, and state levels.
 

 

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teaching Poetry Out Loud: Helping students make connections with poems through their selections

Renee AngleWhen participating in the National Poetry Out Loud competition, selecting a poem to memorize and recite is an important decision. Students who have stories to tell about why they select the poems they do at the regional finals really demonstrate how having a connection--and not necessarily a personal one--to a text can make learning and working with that poem more enjoyable and produce a compelling performance. One of the goals the Poetry Center has in serving as a regional partner for this national program, is to set students up to help them start to have a conversation with their poem.  This conversation invariably starts early in the poem selection process. Leaving students plenty of time to read broadly is essential to fostering these connections with the text.

 

 

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Monday, December 5, 2011

An Interview with Beth Alvarado on "Emily's Exit"

Beth AlvaradoBeth Alvarado is the author of a memoir entitled Anthropologies (University of Iowa Press, 2011) and a collection of short stories titled Not a Matter of Love (New Rivers, 2006). She lives in Tucson where, with her husband Fernando, she raised two children. She teaches at the University of Arizona and is the fiction editor for Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts.

Beth Alvarado will be reading at the University of Arizona Poetry Center on Monday, December 5 at 7 p.m., along with Christopher Cokinos. The reading is free and open to the public.

PC: How or why did you begin writing "Emily's Exit?"

Alvarado: Several things had to come together for me to write this story. One semester I had a very religious student who would sit in my office for hours every week trying to convert me to her particular beliefs. Now I really liked this student and I knew she liked me because she was concerned about my soul. She was very smart and I found it interesting to talk to her about her beliefs but, after a while, I started wondering why she was so anxious to go to heaven. I mean, I've always wondered what could be better about heaven than earth because I find the earth so beautiful.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Encountering Emily: A Close Reading of "Hope is the thing with feathers"

Timothy DykeTimothy Dyke is a fiction writer and MFA candidate at the University of Arizona.  He currently holds the field trip internship position at the Poetry Center, leading and creating content for field trips for students of all ages.

During October and November, two groups of students from Tucson High School visited the Poetry Center for field trip experiences focusing on the work of Emily Dickinson.  As a writer, reader and teacher, of course I was delighted to converse with young people about the poetry of this great American writer. As an education intern at the University of Arizona Poetry Center, I found myself confronted with this question: what can Emily Dickinson mean to teenagers in Tucson today in 2011?

There are, of course, answers to this question. Some educators might focus on the biography of Dickinson. Perhaps students would draw inspiration from learning about this original and independent woman who refused to allow society's expectations to hinder her dreams of personal expression. 

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Poetry Out Loud performances from teaching artists now visiting schools in southern Arizona

The Poetry Center's Poet-in-Residence Logan Phillips recites "Eagle Poem," by Joy Harjo, on November 19th as a part of the Poetry Out Loud Professional Development session for teachers. We encourage teachers and students to view and use these as an example of a strong recitation when preparing for the National Poetry Out Loud competitions at the school, regional, and state levels.
 

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Poetry, Performance, and the Poetry Center's Online Audio Video Library

Sarah KortemeierSarah Kortemeier has worked professionally as a poet, musician, and actor; she holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Arizona and has taught creative writing at the elementary, high school, and university levels. Sarah has published most recently in Ploughshares, Spiral Orb, Sliver of Stone, and Folio, and was a finalist in 2011’s Gulf Coast and Tennessee Williams Festival Poetry Contests. She serves as Senior Library Assistant at the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

What helps a poem to connect with an audience when it is spoken aloud? Each poet, and each listener, will answer this question differently, and there are few hard-and-fast rules that govern performance. However, many compelling performances of poetry do share a few characteristics, such as vocal energy, spontaneity, and rhythmic variation. Poems vary their textures and tempos on the page; their rhythms shift, dance, and play against one another, and effective performances usually acknowledge this, letting the text dictate the velocities and inflections of the reading.

Below is a listing of some performances from the Poetry Center's online Audio Video Library. Though each of these readers handles performance differently, all of these performances communicate both content and music.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Review of Practical Gods by Carl Dennis

Hilary GanHilary Gan is an Education Intern at the University of Arizona Poetry Center, and is pursuing her MFA in Fiction at The University of Arizona.

Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Dennis is noted for his use of the everyday and the everyman in his poetry. He is the author many collections of poetry, including House of My Own (1974). Carl Dennis has received many awards for poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize for Practical Gods, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize (2000). He is currently an artist-in-residence at SUNY Buffalo in New York.



Carl Dennis will be reading at the University of Arizona Poetry Center on November 3, 2011 at 7 p.m. The reading is free and open to the public.

Carl Dennis' Pulitzer Prize-winning collection Practical Gods (2001) is a treatise on solace. He uses biblical symbolism and Roman mythology to illustrate the post-broken moment, when you have swept up the shattered glass and now your floor is slightly cleaner but you are short one tumbler in the set.  Dennis uses everyday imagery to cement the normalcy of convalescence, but the subject matter suggests a more spiritual crisis from which his poems are recovering.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Breathless Intimacy: A Review of Philip Schultz' Failure

Christy DelehantyChristy Delahanty is a former Poetry Center intern, and recent graduate in Creative Writing and Linguistics from The University of Arizona.

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Philip Schultz is the author of several collections of poetry, including The God of Loneliness: New and Selected Poems (2010), Failure (2007), Living in the Past (2004), and The Holy Worm of Praise (2002), all from Harcourt. In addition to the Pulitzer for Failure, his many awards include Fulbright, Guggenheim, and NEA fellowships. He is the founder/director of The Writers Studio, a private school for fiction and poetry writing based in New York City with branches in Tucson, San Francisco, and Amsterdam.

Philip Schultz will be reading at the University of Arizona Poetry Center on October 20th, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. The reading is free and open to the public. Join us!

The effect of Philip Schultz's 2007 collection, Failure, is an overpowering sense of fine craftsmanship and candid ambiance. With a voice plain, sure, and wholly unpretentious, he recounts smoldering moments past and present, which serve to illuminate the anxieties of family life in its varied stages. Though the title seems an epithet for "father" (both his own and the one he has become), Schultz ventures also into slices of marriage, mourns for kindred spirits of no relation, recounts the warm lamplight of one-time tenement-mates, and sings the extensive praises of canine love. In a sustained breathless intimacy, failure spans decades and coastlines ― with the New York's '70s and 2001 most heavily represented ― and oscillates between emotional insufficiency and utter wonder.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Famous Poets who went to High School in Tucson: Brenda Hillman and Mark Doty

Elizabeth FalconElizabeth Falcón is an MFA poetry student at the University of Arizona. She is also the Education Intern at the UA Poetry Center and maintains the Poetry Center's education blog, WordPlay. She is a TPAC rostered teaching artist and has taught several residencies at Corbett Elementary School in Tucson. In addition to pursuing her own writing, she aspires to help children fall in love with poetry as a teaching artist in the schools.

Brenda Hillman

I remember reading Brenda Hillman's Cascadia as a teenager, before I understood craft, before I understood much of anything about poetry, before I really discovered that I even liked poetry. Actually, it might have been that book that made me think of poetry, Maybe I like this stuff after all. Cascadia broke all the rules I had ever understood about poetry, about narrative, about making sense. What I loved about it most was that there was such a physical space carved out by the words on the page. The words used the page as a canvas, rather than being forced to fill it.  I was captivated, even though I had no context for California or the Pacific Northwest, to which the title, Cascadia, refers.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

The Light Does Not Warm: A Review of Joni Wallace's Blinking Ephemeral Valentine

Elizabeth FalconElizabeth Falcón is an MFA poetry student at the University of Arizona. She is also the Education Intern at the UA Poetry Center and maintains the Poetry Center's education blog, WordPlay. She is a TPAC rostered teaching artist and has taught several residencies at Corbett Elementary School in Tucson. In addition to pursuing her own writing, she aspires to help children fall in love with poetry as a teaching artist in the schools.

Mary Jo Bang will be reading with Joni Wallace at the Poetry Center on October 6, 2011 at 7 p.m. at the University of Arizona Poetry Center.  Joni Wallace will be leading a shop talk on Mary Jo Bang's work on October 4 at 6 p.m. prior to the Oct 6. reading. Both events are free and open to the public. Join us! To read an interview between Mary Jo Bang and Joni Wallace, click here.

Joni Wallace's debut poetry collection, Blinking Ephemeral Valentine (Four Way Books, 2011), was selected by Mary Jo Bang for the 2009 Levis Prize. Joni grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and earned her MFA from the University of Montana. She lives in Tucson and is currently working on a series of poems tracking the migration paths of mule deer.

Joni Wallace's Blinking Ephemeral Valentine is one of those rare books that haunts the reader afterwards with its language, mood, and images. The poems are assemblages of lists, sounds, objects and they feel conscious of their craftedness, their objectification, artifacts for a reader to examine and dissect. Flashes of landscapes with odd collections of things from modern life--sequins, red cups, Lite Brite, boulevards, pigeons. Love blinking on and off in the cold slush of winter. Just enough narrative to grasp the moment. Anaphoric echoes. Eerie pulses of quiet and disquiet.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Arizona Board of Regents