When Director Melanie Madden suggested the theme for this year’s annual Tucson Poetry Festival—”Poetry to Sustain Us”—none of us on the Board could have predicted how even more necessary this sustenance would become in 2020. Except for grocery and pharmacy runs, I have been isolated at home for a month now, so I’m looking forward to the Festival this weekend as a wonderful opportunity to learn craft from our guest poets during online workshops on Saturday, April 18, and listen to their good works at their online reading Saturday evening. Sunday evening, April 19, the Festival will host a virtual open mic. I’m eager for the words and sounds, insights and feelings all these poets and performers will share with all of us who attend.
Registration for the Saturday workshops is open now. Workshops are free, but we would be grateful for any donations. Spots are limited to keep the workshops manageable for the instructors and interactions between them and attendees encouraging and helpful. More details about the Saturday evening reading and Sunday open mic are forthcoming.
This year, due to minimal funding and time to organize the Festival, we invited poets from the Tucson area and elsewhere in Arizona, but do not mistake this local focus for anything less than a deep appreciation for the world-class talent available here in the desert Southwest. Sean Avery, Sylvia Chan, Diana Marie Delgado, Bojan Louis, and Pamela Uschuk are some of our absolute favorite poets and performers. I can also speak personally to Pamela Uschuk’s tremendous talent as an instructor, having attended her incredible poetry intensive “Writing the Wild” at the University of Arizona Poetry Center last spring. The experience was transformative. I’m delighted to have helped organize this year’s Tucson Poetry Festival with Melanie Madden, Laura Talarsky Stevens, Avery Lane, and Karolina Tumilowicz, but I’ll be attending the online sessions this weekend as a reader, listener, and student. I expect during the Festival, under the tutelage of all of our invited poets, and while listening to their poetry and watching their performances, attendees will experience a transformative event that will bring them sustenance and solace through poetry in this bitter time.
Please join us.