By Karinya Funsett
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
If you're a writer, reader, or lover of words, it's fun to go to a literary event from time to time, whether to show off the poem you've been agonizing over in your dorm room or to hear an internationally acclaimed novelist read from her latest masterpiece. The UA and the Tucson community have a thriving literary scene, so open-mic nights and readings are never too hard to come by. Below you'll find a list of some great literary resources, organizations and ongoing events to watch out for.
The University of Arizona's Poetry Center is probably the greatest literary resource in Tucson. Established in 1960 to "maintain and cherish the spirit of poetry," it boasts a stunning collection (you're free to browse and read in the center, but you can't take the books home) and sponsors the best reading series in Tucson along with creative writing classes, contests and special programs. Each year the Poetry Center brings big-name poets and prose writers to campus, and all of the readings are free to attend. Watch for the announcement of this year's lineup and sign up for the center's Listserv at www.poetrycenter.arizona.edu. The Poetry Center is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. 1600 E. First St. (On the southeast corner of First Street and Cherry Avenue). 626-3765.
If you're a budding writer or artist, you need to know about Persona, the University of Arizona's undergraduate magazine of literature and art. Persona provides a great opportunity to have your poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, photography and artwork of all kinds published. The magazine, whose staff is made up completely of fellow undergraduates, is published once a year, late in the spring semester. The submission deadline is usually around winter break - keep an eye out for fliers and Listserv announcements with more details. If you're interested in joining the magazine staff (you can't get published if you're on staff, but it's a great experience) or have any questions about Persona, send the staff an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at clubs.asua.arizona.edu/~persona/.
The Tucson-Pima County Public Library has 25 branches in the Tucson area and maintains a calendar of every special event it hosts (readings, book clubs, etc.) at www.lib.ci.tucson.az.us/calendar.htm.
The Tucson Poetry Festival is a celebration that takes place every spring, hosting a number of local and visiting poets, poetry slams, contests, workshops and special presentations. Watch for 2006 festival info at www.tucsonpoetryfestival.org.
POG is a local non-profit organization made up of poets, artists and art-lovers. They frequently sponsor readings and performances. Check out upcoming events at www.gopog.org.
Poetry @ The River is a group that gets together monthly to share - not critique - poetry. They meet the first Wednesday of every month at the Dusenberry-River Center Library, 5605 E. River Road, 6-8 p.m. www.riverpoetry.org.
Lamplight Series poetry readings are held at 4 p.m. the first Sunday of every month at Reader's Oasis. They highlight a particular poet (or poets) and are followed by an open mic. 3400 E. Speedway Blvd. 319-7887.
Biblio's Other Voices Women's Reading Series hosts female poets, writers and musicians at 7 p.m. on the second Friday of each month, followed by an open mic. 222 E. Congress St. 624-8222.
There's always an open mic or two going on somewhere around town. If you're looking to share your poetry with the world in a laid-back atmosphere, try Bookman's (see contact info in bookstore guide) or the local coffee shops. Epic Café (www.epic-cafe.com) at Fourth Avenue and East University Boulevard hosts a spoken-word open mic every Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Other cafes often do the same. Check in with your favorite for any upcoming events.
And finally, be sure to check out the events calendar published in the Wildcat's GoWild section every Thursday. You'll find an up-to-date listing of readings and open mic nights, alongside concerts, art happenings, theater, film screenings and other special events.