Founded in 1994, the University of Arizona Poetry Center’s Summer Residency Program offers poets the opportunity to focus on their writing during a two-week stay in Tucson, Arizona. Residents are housed in the Poetry Center’s studio apartment, located just steps away the Center’s renowned library of contemporary poetry. Residents also receive a $500 stipend and give a public reading in the Poetry Center’s Reading and Lecture Series, ongoing since 1962. The residency is offered annually between June 1 and August 31.


Open to poets at any stage of their career. Emerging writers welcome. Friends, students, or family members of the judge are not eligible. Current University of Arizona affiliates and/or Tucson residents may not apply. This award is currently only open to US Residents.


Applications for our Summer 2017 residency will be accepted until February 15, 2017 at our Submittable. Click here to submit.

2017 Summer Residency Judge: Khadijah Queen 

We are delighted to announce that our 2017 Summer Residency contest will be judged by Khadijah Queen!  

Photograph of Khadijah Queen by Michael Teak 
Photo credit: Michael Teak

Khadijah Queen is the author of Conduit (Akashic Books 2008), Black Peculiar (Noemi Press 2011), Fearful Beloved (Argos Books 2015), four chapbooks, and the verse play Non-Sequitur (Litmus Press 2015), which won the Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women Performance Writers. The Relationship theater company staged a full production of Non-Sequitur at Theaterlab (NYC) from December 10-20, 2015. Individual poems and prose appear in Fence, Tin House, DIAGRAM, Poor Claudia, The Offing, jubilat, Memoir, Tupelo Quarterly, Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Volta Book of Poets, The Force of What's Possible and widely elsewhere. Her fifth book, I'm So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On, was a finalist for the National Poetry Series and will be published by YesYes Books in March 2017. She serves as core faculty in poetry and playwriting for the new Mile-High MFA in creative writing at Regis University and is raising a teenager.

About the Residency Experience

Residents stay in a studio apartment located on the premises of the Poetry Center within the University of Arizona campus. Restaurants, a coffee shop, and stops for buses and the streetcar are all located nearby, and a bicycle is available for your use. Tucson’s streetcar provides convenient transportation to Fourth Avenue and downtown Tucson, where you can find restaurants, cafés, bars and music venues, and grocery stores.

The residency is offered between June 1 and August 31. During this time, local temperatures average in the 100s. Some residents find the heat overwhelming at first. However, mornings are cool, and our monsoon season, which usually takes place from the end of June through July, brings significantly lower temperatures along with the storms.

We host only one resident per summer and our residents have no duties or responsibilities, other than to give a public reading.

Our residency program is, in important ways, an experience of solitude. If collaboration, networking, and companionship are important elements of a residency experience for you, you may want to look into the many other excellent residency programs that can provide these opportunities.

What we can offer are the following essentials of our residency experience:

  • quiet, unstructured writing time
  • an apartment all to yourself
  • access to an amazing library collection of contemporary poetry in English
  • a $500 stipend and domestic roundtrip airfare

The resident’s studio apartment cannot accommodate partners or pets, other than certified service animals. Smoking in the studio apartment is not permitted. Residents are responsible for providing their own transportation for the duration of their stay, cell phone (there is no landline in the studio apartment), computer (free wifi is available), exercise equipment, and other supplies. The Poetry Center will have prepared the apartment with one initial round of groceries, after which the resident is responsible for acquiring their own food. Residents are also responsible for doing their laundry at a nearby laundromat.

What Writers Say about the Residency Experience

"My summer residency was wonderful. A pleasure. And honor. My time in the heat and sand with the blue-tail lizards and saguaro (not to mention the cricket inhabiting the fuse box) was truly a gift. Tucson inspired my work and fed my soul. The Poetry Center library is simply gorgeous – a well from which I drew again and again." Harrison Candelaria Fletcher, 2012 Summer Resident

"This library, with its open stacks and fresh pages, with its 50 years of company, its clarity and carefulness, its brightness and cushiness--[those lovely couches!]--and the love that is so evident in every inch, is like nowhere I have ever been, but it is still familiar, as if I've always known it somehow." Genine Lentine, 2012 Summer Resident

"My novel was absolutely rescued by my stay in Tucson, by the days of sitting in the library watching the monsoon crackle over the mountains and long quiet nights at Casa Libre listening to the cicadas sing. Seriously, there is no doubt in my mind that my month in Tucson saved my book. I was ready to give up, throw it away and forget it had ever been. That quiet month, just sitting with my book, crossing out whole chapters and making notes and not panicking because I knew I had time, made all the difference." Naomi Alderman, 2004 Summer Resident


Applications for our Summer 2017 residency will be accepted until February 15, 2017 at our Submittable. Click here to submit.

2016 Poetry Center Resident

Vickie Vértiz was our most recent Summer Resident, as selected by Natalie Diaz.

Vickie Vértiz was born and raised in southeast Los Angeles. Her writing can be found in The VoltaHuizache, the Los Angeles Review of BooksThe Offing, and Nepantla. Her latest collection of poetry was the runner up for the Andres Montoya book prize in 2016. A graduate of Williams College, U.T. Austin, and U.C. Riverside, Vértiz teaches creative writing all over the country and works with 826LA.

As a culmination of her two-week residency, Vickie read with Erin Stalcup at the UA Poetry Center on August 11, 2016. For more on this event, click here, or watch the reading here.

Former Residents

2015: Hieu Minh Nguyen
2014: Stephen Willey
2013: Anne Shaw (poetry), Polly Rosenwaike (fiction)
2012: Genine Lentine (poetry), Harrison Candelaria Fletcher (nonfiction)
2011: Harmony Holiday (poetry), Mary Jones (fiction)
2010: Sean Bernard
2009: James Allen Hall
2008: Shashi Baat
2007: Anna Green
2006: Cody Walker
2005: Eric Abbott
2004: Naomi Alderman
2003: Esther Lee
2002: Rebecca Davidson
2001: Joshua Poteat
2000: Jonathon Keats
1999: Beth Ann Fennelly
1998: Martha Silano
1997: Caroline Langston
1996: Lise Goett
1995: Kymberly Taylor
1994: Mark Wunderlich