Bagley Wright Lecture Series visits Tucson

Since 2013, the Bagley Wright Lecture Series has provided leading poets with the opportunity to explore in-depth their own thinking on the subject of poetry and poetics. For the first time, lecturers Dorothea Lasky, Joshua Beckman, Timothy Donnelly, Terrance Hayes, Rachel Zucker, Srikanth Reddy, and BWLS director Matthew Zapruder, will gather to read from their lectures, reflect on this unique process, and talk about what comes next.

All panels and readings are free and open to the public. No tickets or registration is required.



Thursday evening, February 22, 2018 at 7:00 PM (Poetry Center Rubel Room)


Friday afternoon, February 23, 2018 panels:

1pm-2:30pm Panel: Poetry + Social Engagement with Terrance Hayes, Timothy Donnelly, Rachel Zucker, Matthew Zapruder (Education North Building -- Next to the Poetry Center)

At the end of “America,” Ginsberg writes, “America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.” In its address to the nation as a whole, this can be seen as a statement that simultaneously acknowledges collective responsibility while also firmly asserting the prerogatives of the individual imagination, without addressing potential tensions. Are these forces inherently in tension? How has your understanding of your own queer shoulder, and the queer shoulders of others, changed since you first started writing? How has that change affected your process, and the end result? 
Do you think every poet has an obligation to put their queer shoulder to the wheel? Do you think poets have obligations at all? What, if any, are the dangers and opportunities the subject matter of social engagement presents to poets in their work, and their lives?
In the areas of politics and social change, what can poetry do that other forms of writing, art, human activity, cannot? 


3pm-4:30pm Panel: Poetry + Practice with Srikanth Reddy, Dorothea Lasky, Joshua Beckman (Education North Building -- Next to the Poetry Center)

The BWLS intentionally highlights poets in the heart of mid-career, to think and lecture about their drives, motivations, obsessions, and practices. At this point in your poetic life, what does “practice” mean to you with regard to poetry?  Is the art something you can get better at, over time, by practicing it?  Or does repeated practice of certain techniques make them feel routine or even dull in some ways?
Did writing (and delivering) your lectures for the series change your way of thinking about your own poetic practice?  


Friday evening, February 23, 2018 7:00 PM (Poetry Center Rubel Room)


Saturday afternoon, February 24, 2018 panels:

1pm-2: 30pm Panel: Poetry + Autobiography with Rachel Zucker, Joshua Beckman, Srikanth Reddy, Dorothea Lasky (Poetry Center Rubel Room)

In what way did “autobiography”—either the revelation of your own autobiographical details or the consideration around autobiography as a formal consideration/force—enter into your lecture writing and giving, and how is that different from the way it functions in your poetry? Were you lectures more or less (or differently) “autobiographical” than your poems? To what extent and in what ways was the problem of “autobiography” a central part of your lectures? In responding to the invitation to write lectures about poetics, to what extent did you attempt to tell the audience/reader about how and why you became a poet, and is this “autobiography”? 


3pm-4:30pm Panel: Poetry + Non-literary Influence with Terrance Hayes, Matthew Zapruder, Timothy Donnelly (Poetry Center Rubel Room)

One of the interesting aspects of in-depth writing and lecturing about one’s own poetics is the revelation of otherwise undisclosed influences—those encounters and obsessions that are not often talked about, or are even unknown by those outside the poet’s familiar circle—which are therefore surprising, even to the most discerning reader. What are some of your influences outside the realm of the literary? How have these private imprints made their way into your work? 


Questions? Contact Becka Ranta at


This program is offered at the UA Poetry Center in partnership with the Bagley Wright Lecture Series.