Celebrate National Poetry Month during the month of April at free programs and workshops across the state interacting with local Arizona and national poets. Established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world. These programs encourage the reading of poetry, inspire people to write poetry, and engage communities to participate and learn various forms of poetry. All programs and workshops are free and open to the public.
“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.”
Tuesday, April 4th – Performing From Place: Earth to Microphone withKen Lamberton
5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Copper Queen Library 6 Main St, Bisbee, AZ 85603 (520) 432-4232
Ken Lamberton will read lyrical prose and poems from his book Wilderness and Razor Wire and from other publications, focusing on his experiences with the natural world in southern Arizona where he has lived for 50 years.
ABOUT KEN LAMBERTON
Ken Lamberton is the author of Wilderness and Razor Wire (Mercury House, 2000), which won the 2002 John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. He has published six books and hundreds of articles and essays in places like the Los Angeles Times, Orion, Arizona Highways, the Gettysburg Review, and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2000. In 2007, he won a Soros Justice Fellowship for his fourth book, Time of Grace: Thoughts on Nature, Family, and the Politics of Crime and Punishment (University of Arizona Press, 2007). His latest book, Chasing Arizona: One Man’s Yearlong Obsession with the Grand Canyon State (University of Arizona Press, 2015), is a 2015 Southwest Book of the Year. Lamberton holds degrees in biology and creative writing from the University of Arizona.
Saturday, April 8th – Sacred Journeys: A Mobile Poetry Workshop with Jaclyn Roessel
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Arizona Humanities (first and last stop) 1242 N. Central Avenue – Phoenix, AZ 85004 (602) 257-0335
Community Workshop and Performance along the Valley Metro Light Rail
You are invited to journey across the urban desert landscape with Jaclyn Roessel of Grownup Navajo. This poetry workshop will focus on the omnipresence of sacredness in our everyday environments. Participants will travel by the Valley Metro light rail to places in Phoenix and embark in several writing exercises. The goal of this session is to explore the intersection of engagement in our community and mindful approaches to our craft.
The session will begin at the Ellis-Shackelford house, home to Arizona Humanities, stop at Civic Space Park, Pueblo Grande Museum and “A” Mountain in Tempe. The day will culminate with light refreshments and an open mic session back at Arizona Humanities in Phoenix.
The event is free but participants are responsible for the $4 light rail fee
ABOUT JACLYN ROESSEL Jaclyn Roessel was born and raised on the Navajo Nation, between the communities of Kayenta, Round Rock and Lukachukai, Arizona. She holds a B.A. in Art History and a Master in Public Administration from Arizona State University. She was the inaugural recipient of the Arizona Humanities Rising Star Award in 2013, which is given to young professionals whose work elevates the importance of humanities in the community. She’s been named one of Phoenix 100 Creatives You Should Know. Her writing is inspired from her identity and experience as an asdzaan Diné/ Navajo woman. She is founder of Grownup Navajo. Grownup Navajo is dedicated to exploring Navajo culture through a modern lens. GN incites community action through creative movement, art, & poetry in connection with Navajo cultural teachings and language.
Saturday, April 8th – “Poetry is dead. Long live poetry” at the Wickenburg Literary Festival with Jake Friedman
1:15 – 2:45 p.m. Wickenburg Public Library 164 E Apache St – Wickenburg, AZ 85390 Supported by Arizona Humanities
Click here for information about the Wickenburg Literary Festival
For some reason-probably school-people think that poetry is inaccessible, boring, difficult to understand, and the exclusive province of old white men writing before the 20th century. Poetry is not only alive and well-it’s written by plenty of people who are not dead white men, and they are doing some of the most interesting, exciting, and innovative things. Explore strategies and resources to stay connected with the national and local scene. In this hour-long session, we’ll read and discuss a random sampling of poems from contemporary authors working in a variety of styles and forms.
ABOUT JAKE FRIEDMAN Jake Friedman is a writer, editor, publisher, community organizer, and arts and culture administrator specializing in creative writing and contemporary literature. He currently serves as a Coordinator for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University, where he is responsible for marketing, outreach, communications and event planning. He is the Founder and Editor in Chief of an independent community literary magazine and small press called Four Chambers. Friedman is also a board member for Cardboard House Press, a bilingual publisher dedicated to increasing access to Latin American and Spanish literature and art for English and Spanish readers. Beyond this, Jake has extensive experience organizing numerous grassroots events and activities throughout the Valley (including readings, writing groups, workshops, classes, presentations, and other programs). He has served as an intern with the Arizona Commission on the Arts and has also bartended / waited tables. Friedman writes in multiple genres and forms, and is usually concerned with media, political economy, culture, and other critical perspectives.
Thursday, April 13th – Poets Logan Phillips and Roanna Shebala
5:30 – 9:00 p.m. Gila Community College – San Carlos Campus Tonto Street and Mesa Drive – San Carlos, AZ 85550 (928) 475-5981 In partnership with Poets on the Rez
Join poets Roanna Shebala & Logan Phillips for an all ages interactive workshop with participants of Poets on the Rez at the San Carlos Campus of Gila Community College. Founded in 2010, Poets on the Rez provides a friendly collaborative atmosphere for community members to get to know one another and provide an opportunity to share their gifts with the community. The free open mic gathering which will feature art, music, and writing.
ABOUT LOGAN PHILLIPS Logan Phillips works to create new opportunities for the intersection of poetry and social justice in wider society. As a bilingual poet, performance artist and DJ he tours his art throughout the US, Latin America and beyond. Born and raised in Cochise County, Arizona to a family of Irish-Slavic ancestry, Phillips is the author of Sonoran Strange, his first full-length book of poems published by West End Press (Albuquerque). Working under the alias DJ Dirtyverbs, Phillips has been a resident DJ at Tucson’s Hotel Congress since 2012 and is organizer and host of El Tambó (“Best Danceparty,” Tucson Weekly). A seasoned arts educator, Phillips also co-directs the youth-centered arts and social justice organization Spoken Futures, Inc., whose programs include the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam and La Pilita Cultural Center in Tucson’s Barrio Viejo.
ABOUT ROANNA SHEBALA Roanna Shebala, a Native American spoken word artist, of the Dine’ (Navajo) Tribe was born and raised on the Navajo Nation. Given the gift of storytelling from her father she combines story, poetry, and performance. Roanna constantly brings the voice of her heritage into her performance, and written work often treading into spaces where hearing native voices is unlikely. Roanna has been on four National Poetry Slam Teams, three time Women of the World Poetry Slam Representative. Individual of the World Poetry Slam Representative. She has been featured on Button Poetry, Indian Country News Today, published in various zines, and magazines such as Annick Press, Red Ink Magazine, out of Tucson, AZ, Wicked Banshee Press an online Women’s Publication, Suspect Press out of Denver Colorado. Performed at the Lincoln Center Out of Door, with La Casita in New York City, NY.
Saturday, April 15th – Annual Spoken Futures Showcase with Tucson Youth Poetry Slam
1:00 – 4:00 p.m. University of Arizona – Student Union Gallagher Theater 1303 E University Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85719 Funded in part by Arizona Humanities
Join us for the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam Championships and watch public performances by youth poets including Denver Youth Poet Laureate Toluwanimi Oluwafunmilayo Obiwole.
The Tucson Youth Poetry Slam advocates literacy, critical thinking and youth voice through poetry competitions, workshops and community showcases. Founded in 2010, the program regularly collaborates with diverse organizations across Tucson. The monthly poetry slam competition is open to all youth 19 & under. The Tucson Youth Poetry Slam is a program of Spoken Futures, Inc. Read more at http://www.tucsonyouthpoetryslam.org.
Thursday, April 27th – Hop, Skip and Jump into Poetry at Mountain View Elementary
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Mountain View Elementary School 801 W. Peoria, AZ – Phoenix, AZ 85029
Write! Dance! Perform! with Desert Dance Theater’s Step Raptis and Lisa Chow and Arizona Masters of Poetry’s Suzanne Sosnowski. It’s time to celebrate! Celebrate your family, your achievements, celebrate you at this family fun event.
Navajo Nation Poet Laureate Laura Tohe at Gila Community College San Carlos Campus, 2016
Past National Poetry Month Programs
Poet Josh Rathkamp at Art Intersection (Gilbert, AZ)
Poets Laura Tohe and Orlando White with Poets on the Rez at Gila Community College (San Carlos, AZ)
Poet Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow at Arizona Humanities (Phoenix, AZ)
Poet J Mase III at Firecreek Coffee and NAU Hip Hop Week (Flagstaff, AZ)
Creative Writing Prompts
Each day of National Poetry Month we posted one creative writing prompt on twitter and instagram shared by our featured poets. Follow us on twitter and instagram @AZhumanities and stay tuned for future prompts.