Online Exhibitions

Since 2003, the Poetry Center has been bringing emerging poets to Tucson through The Next Word in Poetry, a series created by former Literary Director Frances Sjoberg. Looking back at the past seven years of Next Word poets, what unites this eclectic group is not just their (relative) emergence, but also the groundbreaking quality of their work. Here are contemporary poetry’s brightest stars—Dan Beachy-Quick, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, and Bhanu Kapil, to name a few—captured at an opening stage of their careers.

This exhibit, curated by Wendy Burk, was originally presented in the Jeremy Ingalls Gallery of the University of Arizona Poetry Center from January 4 to February 26, 2011.

Olena Kalytiak Davis, Matthea Harvey, and James Thomas Stevens in 2003
Photograph of James Thomas Stevens, Matthea Harvey, and Olena Kalytiak Davis

Olena Kalytiak Davis, Matthea Harvey, and James Thomas Stevens at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2003. Photo by Christine Krikliwy.

Matthea Harvey
By Bicycle by Matthea Harvey
The Little General and the Giant Snowflake by Matthea Harvey

Matthea Harvey. "By Bicycle." From Pity the Bathtub its Forced Embrace of the Human Form. Farmington, Maine: Alice James Books, 2000.

Matthea Harvey. The Little General and the Giant Snowflake. Ill. Elizabeth Zechel. Portland, Oregon: Tin House Books, 2009.

Matthea Harvey, whose work combines wryness and whimsy with exquisite craft, signed her first book to the Poetry Center with a drawing of a prairie dog. When her first children’s book was published in 2009, it featured a similar drawing on the title page.

James Thomas Stevens
Bulle/Chimere by James Thomas Stevens

James Thomas Stevens. Bulle/Chimère. Lawrence, Kansas: First Intensity Press, 2006.

James Thomas Stevens received the prestigious Whiting Writers’ Award, given to emerging writers of exceptional promise, in 2000. He has published several books of poetry since his appearance in Tucson, including Mohawk/Samoa: Transmigrations, a collaborative poetry and translation project with Caroline Sinavaiana.

Olena Kalytiak Davis
Shattered Sonnets Love Cards and Other Off and Back Handed Importunities
On the Kitchen Table From Which Everything Has Been Hastily Removed

Olena Kalytiak Davis. Shattered Sonnets Love Cards and Other Off and Back Handed Importunities. New York: Bloomsbury/Tin House, 2003.

Olena Kalytiak Davis. On the Kitchen Table From Which Everything Has Been Hastily Removed. Venice, California: Hollyridge Press, 2009.

Olena Kalytiak Davis is a favorite with many of the University of Arizona’s current MFA students and recent alumni. Her most recent publication is the chapbook On the Kitchen Table From Which Everything Has Been Hastily Removed (Hollyridge Press, 2009).

3 Poets, 8 Questions
Arizona Daily Wildcat interview with Davis, Harvey, and Stevens

Lindsey Muth. "3 Poets, 8 Questions." Arizona Daily Wildcat 2 October 2003. Print.

Davis, Harvey, and Stevens all answered a series of questions for the Arizona Daily Wildcat prior to their visit.

Suji Kwock Kim, Loren Goodman, and A. Van Jordan in 2004
Photograph of Suji Kwock Kim, Loren Goodman, and A. Van Jordan

Suji Kwock Kim, Loren Goodman, and A. Van Jordan at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2004. Photo by Christine Krikliwy.

Loren Goodman
Famous Americans by Loren Goodman

Loren Goodman. Famous Americans. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.

Loren Goodman delighted his Tucson audience with comic poems like “Yeast” (“I am Yeast, a great poet/ I live in Ireland/ Some say I am the greatest/ Poet ever”) from his first book Famous Americans, selected by W.S. Merwin for the 2003 Yale Younger Poets Award.

Suji Kwock Kim
Notes from the Divided Country by Suji Kwock Kim

Suji Kwock Kim. Notes from the Divided Country. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003.

Suji Kwock Kim’s debut volume was selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the 2002 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. Her recent projects include collaborations with composers and a multimedia play, Private Property.

A. Van Jordan
Afterglow by A. Van Jordan
M*A*C*N*O*L*I*A by A. Van Jordan

A. Van Jordan. “af*ter*glow.” From M*A*C*N*O*L*I*A. New York: Norton, 2004.

A. Van Jordan. M*A*C*N*O*L*I*A. New York: Norton, 2004.

 

The formally varied tour de force that is A. Van Jordan’s second book, M*A*C*N*O*L*I*A, draws from the life of MacNolia Cox, the first African American to reach the final round of the National Spelling Bee. The same year of his Next Word reading, Jordan received a 2004 Whiting Writers’ Award. He teaches at the University of Michigan.

Esther Belin, Prageeta Sharma, and Dan Beachy-Quick in 2004
Photograph of Esther Belin, Prageeta Sharma, and Dan Beachy-Quick

Esther Belin, Prageeta Sharma, and Dan Beachy-Quick at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2004. Photo by Christine Krikliwy.

Dan Beachy-Quick
Apology for the Book of Creatures by Dan Beachy-Quick

Dan Beachy-Quick. Apology for the Book of Creatures. Boise: Ahsahta Press, 2009.

Dan Beachy-Quick’s poetry and scholarship are widely acclaimed for their precision and dynamism. Beachy-Quick, who teaches at Colorado State University, returned to Tucson in Spring 2010, giving a spellbinding reading and colloquium.

Esther Belin
From the Belly of My Beauty by Esther Belin

Esther Belin. From the Belly of My Beauty. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1999.

Esther Belin’s From the Belly of My Beauty was published for the University of Arizona Press Sun Tracks series. It reflects her experience as an urban Indian (Navajo) living in Los Angeles, opening with the image of Coyote strutting “down East 14th/ looking good/ feeling good/ feeling the brown” (from “Blues-ing on the Brown Vibe”).

Prageeta Sharma
The Opening Question by Prageeta Sharma

Prageeta Sharma. The Opening Question. New York: Fence Books, 2004.

Prageeta Sharma published her second collection, The Opening Question, with Fence Books the  year of her Next Word reading. Her most recent book, also with Fence, is 2007’s Infamous Landscapes. Sharma currently directs the University of Montana’s Creative Writing Program.

Brenda Shaughnessy
Photograph of Brenda Shaughnessy
Interior with Sudden Joy by Brenda Shaughnessy

Brenda Shaughnessy. Interior with Sudden Joy. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999.

Brenda Shaughnessy at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2005. Photo by Christine Krikliwy.

Brenda Shaughnessy, who teaches creative writing at Princeton University and the New School, has published two collections, Interior with Sudden Joy (1999) and Human Dark With Sugar (2008). She is the poetry editor for Tin House Magazine, one of the country’s most influential literary journals.

David Dominguez
Photograph of David Dominguez
Work Done Right by David Dominguez

David Dominguez. Work Done Right.Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2003.

David Dominguez at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2005. Photo by Christine Krikliwy.

A graduate of the University of Arizona’s Creative Writing Program, David Dominguez returned to Tucson on the heels of his 2003 debut collection Work Done Right, published by The University of Arizona Press in its Camino del Sol series. His second book, The Ghost of César Chávez, came out in 2010.

Gary Copeland Lilley
Photograph of Gary Copeland Lilley
My Head is a Mojo Bag by Gary Copeland Lilley

Gary Copeland Lilley. "My Head is a Mojo Bag." From The Subsequent Blues. New York: Four Way Books, 2004.

Gary Copeland Lilley at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2005. Photo by Christine Krikliwy.

Gary Copeland Lilley is the author of The Subsequent Blues (2004) and Alpha Zulu (2008). A  visual artist as well as a poet, he created the guitar collage “When the Sun Goes Down” featured on the cover of The Subsequent Blues. Copeland’s collages were displayed at the Poetry Center in 2005 and can be seen in the background of photos of the Spring 2005 Next Word poets.

Camille Dungy, Heriberto Yépez, and Richard Siken in 2006
Photograph of Camille Dungy, Heriberto Yépez, and Richard Siken

Camille Dungy, Heriberto Yépez, and Richard Siken at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2006. Photo by Christine Krikliwy.

Richard Siken
Crush by Richard Siken
Scheherazade by Richard Siken

Richard Siken. Crush. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.

Richard Siken. "Scheherazade." Tuscaloosa, Alabama: DoubleCross Press, 2008.

Richard Siken spent many hours at the Poetry Center while earning his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona. Siken’s Crush was a sensation when selected by Louise Glück for the 2005 Yale Younger Poets Award.

Camille Dungy
What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison by Camille Dungy

Camille Dungy. What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison. Los Angeles: Red Hen Press, 2006.

Camille T. Dungy published What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison the year of her Next Word reading. Her second book, Suck on the Marrow, followed in 2010. A Cave Canem and NEA fellow, Dungy is also well known as an editor of anthologies such as the seminal Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry.

Heriberto Yépez
Wars, Threesomes, Drafts & Mothers by Heriberto Yépez
A Collection by Heriberto Yépez

Heriberto Yépez. Wars, Threesomes, Drafts, & Mothers. [S.l.]: Factory School, 2007.

Heriberto Yépez’s poetry works to redefine words like ‘experimental’ (or, as he writes, “Mexperimental”) and ‘political.’ He helped Tucson readers to do the same during his Next Word visit. The folder adorned with Yépez quotes contains printouts of his blog postings compiled by Frances Sjoberg for the occasion of his reading.

Brian Turner, Srikanth Reddy, and Joshua Marie Wilkinson in 2006
Photograph of Brian Turner, Srikanth Reddy, and Joshua Marie Wilkinson

Brian Turner, Srikanth Reddy, and Joshua Marie Wilkinson at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2006. Photo by Christine Krikliwy.

Brian Turner
To Sand by Brian Turner

Brian Turner. "To Sand." From Here, Bullet. Farmington, Maine: Alice James Books, 2005.

Brian Turner’s first book, Here, Bullet, recounts his experiences as a soldier in Iraq and was one of the most widely discussed books of poetry published in 2005. Turner visited Tucson again to read for the Tucson Poetry Festival in 2009, the same year he received the coveted Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship.

Joshua Marie Wilkinson
Suspension of a Secret in Abandoned Rooms by Joshua Marie Wilkinson

Joshua Marie Wilkinson. Suspension of a Secret in Abandoned Rooms. Portland, Oregon: Pinball Publishing, 2005.

University of Arizona alumnus and faculty member Joshua Marie Wilkinson takes as his pen name a combination of his given name, Joshua Wilson, and his grandmother’s name, Marie Wilkinson. A prolific and captivating voice, Wilkinson has published numerous books, chapbooks, and edited collections since his Next Word appearance in 2006.

Srikanth Reddy
Facts for Visitors by Srikanth Reddy

Srikanth Reddy. Facts for Visitors. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

Srikanth Reddy’s debut collection Facts for Visitors is difficult to describe but essential to read for its trenchant lyric variety and its riffs on Dante’s Inferno. Reddy and his spouse, the poet Suzanne Buffam, both teach Creative Writing at the University of Chicago.

Deborah Bernhardt
Photograph of Deborah Bernhardt
Latin Roots Sui and Cidium by Deborah Bernhardt

Deborah Bernhardt. "Latin Roots Sui and Cidium." From Echolalia. New York: Four Way Books, 2006.

Deborah Bernhardt at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2007. Photo by Christine Krikliwy.

Deborah Bernhardt received her MFA from the University of Arizona’s Creative Writing Program. Her mix of serious subject matter with delicious, sometimes wicked wordplay captivated her Next Word audience, as did her infectious smile.

Sawako Nakayasu
Photograph of Sawako Nakayasu
(having been given) by Sawako Nakayasu

Sawako Nakayasu. "(having been given)." From Hurry Home Honey. Providence, Rhode Island: Burning Deck, 2009.

Sawako Nakayasu at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2007. Photo by Christine Krikliwy.

Poet, translator, and innovator Sawako Nakayasu had published two books and several chapbooks prior to her Next Word reading. In the years since, she’s brought out two more books, Hurry Home Honey and Texture Notes; several lovely translations of contemporary Japanese poets; and a variety of collaborative pieces. Nakayasu edits Factorial, an irregularly published journal dedicated to collaborative writing.

Catherine Wing
Photograph of Catherine Wing
Enter Invisible by Catherine Wing

Catherine Wing. Enter Invisible. Louisville, Kentucky: Sarabande Books, 2005.

Catherine Wing at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2007. Photo by Christine Krikliwy.

Catherine Wing’s work, like those of her Next Word compatriots Bernhardt and Nakayasu, sings when read aloud. Her first collection is Enter Invisible, published in 2005. Recent work in the online journal H_NGM_N applies the same buoyancy to the prose poem: “You burn my sun. Your south. My soon. Your should. My ought. But no, no, no, our oughts should not.”

Ben Lerner, Mónica de la Torre, and Bhanu Kapil in 2008
Photograph of Ben Lerner, Mónica de la Torre, and Bhanu Kapil

Ben Lerner, Mónica de la Torre, and Bhanu Kapil at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2008. Photo by Christine Krikliwy.

Ben Lerner
From Angle of Yaw by Ben Lerner

Ben Lerner. From Angle of Yaw. Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 2004.

Ben Lerner’s first three books, The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path, were published to great acclaim by Copper Canyon Press in 2004, 2006, and 2010. Lerner's first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, was published by Coffee House Press in 2011.

Mónica de la Torre
The Angel in the House by Mónica de la Torre

Mónica de la Torre. "The Angel in the House." From Talk Shows. Chicago: Switchback Books, 2006.

Mónica de la Torre is a noted translator and theorist as well as a poet. Originally from Mexico City and currently living in New York, where she is Senior Editor for BOMB Magazine, she publishes poetry in Spanish and English that stretches the boundaries of language itself. Talk Shows, which appeared in 2006, is her first book of poetry in English.

Bhanu Kapil
Incubation: A Space for Monsters by Bhanu Kapil

Bhanu Kapil. Incubation: A Space for Monsters. Providence, Rhode Island: Leon Works, 2006.

Bhanu Kapil’s work defies genre conventions and boundaries: it can equally be described as poetry and as experimental prose. Likewise, the subjects of Kapil’s books exist in a hybrid space, as in the recent Humanimal: A Project for Future Children (Kelsey Street Press, 2009), an interpretation of the story of Kamala and Amala, two girls who were raised by wolves in Bengal, India, in the early 20th century.

Akilah Oliver
Photograph of Akilah Oliver
a(A)ugust by Akilah Oliver

Akilah Oliver. a(A)ugust. Brooklyn: Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2006.

Akilah Oliver at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2010. Photo by Rodney Phillips.

Akilah Oliver’s publications included several chapbooks as well as A Toast in the House of Friends, from Coffee House Books. Oliver was cofounder of the avant-garde feminist performance group The Sacred Naked Nature Girls. Her Next Word reading included a stunning performance of the long poem “An Arriving Guard of Angels, Thusly Coming to Greet,” an elegy for her son Oluchi McDonald.

Brandon Shimoda
Photograph of Brandon Shimoda
From The Alps by Brandon Shimoda

Brandon Shimoda. From The Alps. Slingerlands, New York: Flim Forum Press, 2008.

Brandon Shimoda at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2010. Photo by Rodney Phillips.

Brandon Shimoda’s highly spatial and visual work made an effortless transition to the spoken word in his Next Word reading. Shimoda read selections from his full-length book The Alps and his chapbook The Inland Sea, as well as new work, including a poem based on a recent experience living in a haunted house.

Philip Jenks
Photograph of Philip Jenks
My first painting will be "The Accuser" by Philip Jenks

Philip Jenks. My first painting will be “The Accuser.” Brookline, Massachusetts: Zephyr Press, 2005.

Philip Jenks at The University of Arizona Poetry Center in 2010. Photo by Cybele Knowles.

While Philip Jenks is often inspired by visual art, as seen in his second book My first painting will be “The Accuser,” his work hums and bristles with sound from his native Appalachia and beyond. Jenks was a gracious reader and guest who allowed the Poetry Center to photograph another example of his artistic inspiration: his life-sized Emily Dickinson tattoo.

Arizona Board of Regents