Poetry Center Launches Campaign to Name Poets Cottage for Lois Shelton

On May 7th, the Poetry Center Develpment Council hosted a reception to honor the legacy of former Executive Director Lois Shelton and publicly announced a campaign to name our guest house the Lois Shelton Poets Cottage.  The gathering drew more than 120 people, who enjoyed an exhibit of Lois Shelton's correspondence with poets, a video interview Lois gave about the history of the Poetry Center, and a timeline of the Poetry Center narrated by the visits of poets through the decades.  The reception included a reading of poems by Lois' husband, the poet Richard Shelton, and the event publicly launched a campaign to name the cottage for Lois, with a goal of raising $250,000 for the Poetry Center Programs Endowment.  Gail Browne, (former Executive Director and Development Council member)  and Jim Walsh (Development Council Chair)  announced that $100,000 had been contributed to the campaign to date.  Help us meet our goal to support the visits of the next thousand poets to Tucson in Lois Shelton's spirit;  support the Lois Shelton Poets Cottage campaign with a gift today!  

For twenty years, Lois hosted poets from around the world, and examples abound of her penchant for building lifelong friendships and fostering deep connections between the Poetry Center and poet’s community. W.S. Merwin visited more than eight times, in every decade. Lucille Clifton likewise visited often, and through her relationship with Lois and Dick Shelton, came to love the mystery and wonder of the Sonoran Desert. During her tenure, Lois put the Center and its small but growing library at the forefront of institutions worldwide, and she worked tirelessly to bring financial resources to the Center, ensuring its future viability.  Her efforts further built the foundation on which the Poetry Center stands today.   Learn more about Lois' legacy in essay "Lois Shelton and the Round Tuit" attached to this post. 

Of the more than one thousand writers who have visited the Poetry Center, many have accepted the invitation to stay at the Poets Cottage. Some read for the Poetry Center’s Reading Series, others stopped by for a day or two while traveling through the Southwest.  They enjoyed the hospitality of the Poetry Center staff, access to a growing collection of poetry books, journals, recordings, and, of course, the comfortable, quaint surroundings of the cottage and its offer of solitude to read and write. 

In the fall of 2007 the Poetry Center moved into its new, landmark Helen S. Schaefer building, one of three such places in the nation for the celebration and study of poetry. Here the tradition of the Poets Cottage continues.  The guest quarters feature a private, one-bedroom residence integrated into the south side of the west wing, and across from the Poetry Center library, which now holds over 70,000 items of contemporary poetry.  These quarters continue to provide solitude for writing and study and a small garden for relaxation and informal gatherings.  And, yes, the original “The Fieries and Snuffies” wrought-iron legend hangs just inside the gate! 

Gifts will be used to name the space the Lois Shelton Poets Cottage at a November 5th gala.   Gifts will support the Poetry Center’s Programs Endowment, which ensure the future of Poetry Center programs, in addition to numerous community outreach activities for people of all ages. Gifts above $5,000 will be recognized in Poetry Center Programs Endowment recognition signage. Checks should be made out to the UA Foundation/Poetry Center Program Development Endowment, memo line: Lois Shelton Poets Cottage.    Donations are also accepted online

Pledges can be structured in five year payment plans.  To learn more about making a pledge, please contact Tyler Meier at 520-626-5880 or tmeier@email.arizona.edu.  






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