Poetry Center Partners with Tucson Tome Gnome for Poets Laureate Giveaway


Tucson, Arizona. April 19, 2022— The University of Arizona Poetry Center, part of the College of Humanities, is thrilled to partner with Tucson Tome Gnome for National Poetry Month. On Sunday, April 24, Tucson Tome Gnome will hide 30 bundles of books featuring incumbent poets laureate: Joy Harjo (United States), Alberto Ríos (Arizona), and TC Tolbert (Tucson). The books will be hidden in surprise locations around Tucson, including along the path of Downtown Tucson’s Haiku Hike, and are free to the finders. Each bundle will also contain a coupon that entitles the recipient to a broadside of Alberto Ríos’s poem “This Human Bloom in the Hard Desert,” created in honor of the Poetry Center’s 60th Anniversary in 2020.  

Tucson Tome Gnome’s mission is to bolster a culture and community that is united in the joy of reading by providing free books to inspire literacy, reading, happiness, and kindness throughout Tucson, Arizona. The trio behind Tome Gnome, Mary Ellen Flynn, Jody Hardy, and Emily Walsh began hiding 30 books per month in September 2021, featuring several different genres. This National Poetry Month partnership with the Poetry Center will represent the largest distribution of books to date.

Poetry Center Executive Director Tyler Meier expressed excitement about the collaboration: “Tucson is one of our best literary cities.  It is also different: both wilder and more beautiful than other places that might also claim to be book towns. The Tucson Tome Gnome is one of the latest expressions of what makes our city so great, and the University of Arizona Poetry Center is thrilled to be working with the Gnome to serendipitously connect people with excellent books.”

Tome Gnome founder Emily Walsh echoed the sentiment: “Tucson Tome Gnome is beyond thrilled to partner with the Poetry Center, one of the country's largest living archives of poetry. Through their engagement with the Tucson community via their annual reading series and amazing educational programs for students of all ages, they are truly one of the hidden gems of the Tucson literary community. We are so excited to collaborate with the Poetry Center to hide books and invite more community members to experience the joys of poetry through the work of the national, state, and local poets laureate.”

The Poetry Center also looks forward to featuring the Tucson Tome Gnome team during a future Summer Social event on July 20. More details will be provided at poetry.arizona.edu/calendar.

Follow the Poetry Center (@uapoetrycenter) and Tucson Tome Gnome (@tucsontomegnome)’s Instagram accounts for hints on where the books are hidden and information about future giveaways.

The University of Arizona Poetry Center, part of the UArizona College of Humanities, is housed in one of three landmark buildings for poetry in the nation.  In addition to its world-renowned collection of contemporary poetry, the Poetry Center is known for its long running readings and lecture series, international symposia, classes and workshops, writers’ residencies, and a wide range of programs for children and youth. For more information, please visit poetry.arizona.edu or call (520) 626-3765.