FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Emily Düwel, 520-624-0595 x 19 or eduwel@TucsonPimaArtsCouncil.org
Press Release : June 19, 2012
Tucsonans Encouraged to Submit Names
to New Poet Laureate Search
At the behest of the Mayor’s Office, the Tucson Pima Arts Council is seeking nominations for the reanimated position of Tucson Poet Laureate.
The purpose of the Poet Laureate will be to promote poetry and to foster its appreciation, as well as to inspire a new generation of readers and writers. Appointed for a term of two years, the Poet Laureate will be tasked with offering the public four readings a year, as well as composing poems for ceremonial occasions.
To help the Mayor’s Office in its mission, TPAC is inviting the public to contribute the names of regional poets with significant records of publication. Guidelines and an online nomination form can be found at: www.TucsonPimaArtsCouncil.org/public-art/opportunities/tucson-poet-laureate-nominations/.
For a printed form or additional information, please call (520) 624-0595 x 10.
A panel made up of regional writers, literary organizations and community representatives will review the nominees and make recommendations to the Mayor’s Office, which will then make a final selection.
It is fitting that a city with as rich a literary tradition should have a Poet Laureate. Over the years, a plethora of well-known writers have found their way to the Old Pueblo, including Edward Abbey, Barbara Kingsolver, Demetria Martinez, Larry McMurty, Leslie Silko and Luis Urrea. Tucson too has long provided fertile ground for poets, providing myriad institutions and venues that support poets and kindle public interest in their work—whether in written or spoken form—as well as offer workshops and youth programs for aspiring versifiers.
Tucson’s next Poet Laureate will follow in the footsteps of two individuals, whose sensibilities may be local but whose fame extends far beyond the Tucson basin, namely, the award-winning poet William Pitt Root and the Tohono O’odham linguist and MacArthur Fellow Ofelia Zepeda.
During his tenure as Poet Laureate, Root expressed in apt form what he felt to be poetry’s contribution to society: “Whereas Poetry, like rain in the desert, becomes most itself by giving itself away among the places where it is least known, Whereas Poetry helps us realize we are bound humanly closer by our common interests than divided by our individual differences.”
It is hoped that the next Poet Laureate will inspire us to rediscover our commonness as Tucsonans. Or, as Ofelia Zepeda reminds us in “Proclamation,” her paean to Tucson (or Chuk Son), “It should be unnecessary for sticky notes to remind us what a desert place is.”