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National Poetry Month

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. Programs and workshops are free and open to the public.

“We all need poetry. The moments in our lives that are characterized by language that has to do with necessity or the market, or just, you know, things that take us away from the big questions that we have, those are the things that I think urge us to think about what a poem can offer.”

– Tracy K. Smith

Poetry Month in the Desert: Natalie Diaz & Eloisa Amezcua

Thursday, April 5, 2018 — 7:00PM

Mesa Community College – Elsner Library – LB 300
1833 W Southern Ave – Mesa, AZ 85202

Info at: https://www.mesacc.edu/development/poetry-month-desert

  • Eloisa Amezcua, MacDowell fellow and author of From the Inside Quietly, winner of the inaugural Shelterbelt Poetry Prize.
  • Natalie Diaz, Lannan Literary Fellow, Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow, and author of When My Brother Was an Aztec.

Poetry Month in the Desert: Bojan Louis & Felicia Zamora

Thursday, April 19, 2018 — 7:00PM

Mesa Community College – Elsner Library – LB 300
1833 W Southern Ave – Mesa, AZ 85202

Info at: https://www.mesacc.edu/development/poetry-month-desert

  • Bojan Louis, Poetry Editor for RED INK: An International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, & Humanities and author of Currents.
  • Felicia Zamora, 2017 Poet Laureate for Fort Collins, CO and author of Of Form & Gather, winner of the 2016 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize.

Even Words Not Spoken Break Silence: Writing to Reclaim, Heal & Transform withLeilani Clark

Tuesday, April 24

4:00 p.m. Workshop / 5:30 p.m. Performance
Copper Queen Library
6 Main St, Bisbee, AZ 85603

The month of April shares a powerful duality, recognized as National Poetry Month, April is also a time to raise awareness around sexual assault and violence. It is fitting that the month used to honor artistic expression of word also shares space with the work to raise and uplift voices of survivors. Join spoken word artist, Leilani Clark, as she shares her journey using writing as a method to heal from trauma, validate her truth and break through silence. Strategies will be explored to transition written word to spoken word and build confidence in stage performance and personal story telling.

Leilani Clark is a native-born Tucsonan of Native (Diné/Santa Clara) and African American heritage. She is a community organizer and activist who has been involved in the Immigrant Rights Movement and fight to preserve cultural education in public AZ schools before, during and after the 2010 signing of anti-Migrant bill, SB 1070, and anti-Ethnic Studies bill, HB 2281. Leilani’s political analysis further broadened around gender equality after surviving sexual assault and an oppressive rape culture of silence and victim-blaming. In 2013 Leilani began dabbling in the art of spoken word to confront silence around gender violence in movement spaces and in 2014 she relocated to Las Vegas, NV where she further explored the art of slam poetry. Leilani fired up the local Sin City open-mic scene, regularly performing poetry, music and previously co-hosting Las Vegas’s longest running weekly open-mic, “The Human Experience.” The winds recently brought her back to her hometown and she’s been actively using the art of slam poetry to convey messages of cultural pride, social justice, healing and empowerment.

2018 Spoken Futures Inc Showcase!

Past National Poetry Month Programs

  • Performing From Place: Earth to Microphone with Ken Lamberton (Bisbee) – April 4th
  • Sacred Journeys: A Mobile Poetry Workshop with Jaclyn Roessel (Phoenix) – April 8th 
  • “Poetry is dead. Long live poetry” at the Wickenburg Literary Festival with Jake Friedman (Wickenburg) – April 8th 
  • Poets Logan Phillips and Roanna Shebala with Poets on the Rez (San Carlos) – April 13th
  • Annual Spoken Futures Showcase with Tucson Youth Poetry Slam (Tucson) – April 15th 
  • Hop, Skip and Jump into Poetry at Mountain View Elementary (Peoria) – April 27th 
  • 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.

Past writing prompts


Contact Arizona Humanities

602-257-0335  or info@azhumanities.org