Celebration for Richard Shelton

Saturday, March 4, 2023 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Guidance regarding COVID-19 procedures at the Poetry Center is available here. All events will be streamed live on our website in addition to the in-person program. 

Join the Tucson community in celebrating the life and legacy of poet, memoirist, activist, and teacher Richard Shelton with a short program featuring remembrances and readings from his work.  All are welcome. 

 An emeritus Regents Professor of Creative Writing and founding faculty of the University of Arizona MFA Program in Creative Writing, Shelton wrote 11 books of poetry and creative nonfiction, and his poems and essays have appeared in more than 200 magazines and literary journals, including The New Yorker, Poetry, Harper’s, The Atlantic, and the Paris Review. In addition, Shelton provided nearly six decades of leadership to the Poetry Center, serving in nearly every possible role, including acting as interim director and in later years, helping lead the Poetry Center's Development Council.  

In addition to his own writing and work for the university, Shelton established in 1974, under the auspices of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, a Creative Writer’s Workshop at the Arizona State Prison.  The program was later supported for decades by the Lannan Foundation.  Gov. Janet Napolitano proclaimed April 22, 2006, "Richard Shelton Day" to recognize his accomplishments as a writer, his service to the Poetry Center and the University, and his mentorship of fledgling writers both inside and outside the University.

With a gift from Shelton’s estate, the Poetry Center will launch a new fund to support the ongoing efforts of the Arizona Prison Writing Project, which we are thrilled to rename the Richard Shelton Programs for Incarcerated Writers. Contributions to the Poetry Center in Richard Shelton’s memory will support this fund and help underwrite the Poetry Center’s ongoing efforts and programs serving communities affected by incarceration. Gifts can be made online at give.uafoundation.org/RichardShelton or by check made payable to the “UA Foundation/Poetry Center” with “in memory of Richard Shelton” in the memo line.