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Wednesday December 6, 2000

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Graduate poets featured in semester's final reading

By Aaron Cowman

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Five poets each demonstrate a distinctive style, UA Poetry

Tonight's graduate student poetry reading, presented by the UA Poetry Center, is the culmination of a year's work from a quintet of talented writers in the University of Arizona's graduate creative writing program.

"We generally get 200 to 300 people (in the audience)," said Frances Shoberg, events coordinator for the UA Poetry Center. "It's usually a mix of students and community writers, as well as some of the faculty."

The large audience is a bit of an intimidation factor, but it can also make for a more interesting experience, said Eric Magrane, a second-year creative writing graduate student and one of the featured poets.

"It's usually pretty fun," he said. "To have an audience that is interested in poetry is nice to see."

Magrane, along with Elizabeth Landry, Jennifer Makowski, Denise Scagliotta and Jonathan VanBallenberghe make up the five graduate students who will read their work.

"We have some really stunning poets," Shoberg said. "This is an opportunity for them to showcase their work. They each have a very distinct style."

Each poet will have 10 to 12 minutes to read from a portfolio of his or her best compositions.

"This amount of time is good for this amount of people, because you get to have a taste of many different works," Magrane said.

Six more graduate poets will present at next semester's reading in April. Both events are part of the Visiting Poets and Writers reading series that has included readings from renowned alumni Tony Hoagland, Li-Young Lee, David Rivard and David Wojahn.

"We have one of the finest reading series in the country," Shoberg said. "The university has one of the top-ranked graduate programs in creative writing."

The Poetry Center has been a positive environment for the poets to learn and grow, Magrane said.

"It's been a good experience," he said. "It is a really good community."

The writing experience by no means ends with tonight's reading, though. For these poets a long future of textual and oral expression lies ahead.

"I'll keep on writing for the rest of my life," Magrane said. "This is just one stop."

The reading starts at 8 p.m. in the Modern Languages Auditorium and admission, as always, is free.

Aaron Cowman can be reached at