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Poets will gather soon in Tucson for the Arizona State Poetry Society annual conference

Published: Monday, January 2, 2023 - 2:04pm
Updated: Tuesday, January 3, 2023 - 9:19am
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A new year means a new gathering for the Arizona State Poetry Society, known as ASPS, as the annual conference takes place this month in Tucson.

The organization has served the state for over five decades and was created by some who helped establish the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

Alan Perry is responsible for program development and believes the pandemic sparked renewed interest in reading and writing poems. “Poetry is sort of that bite-sized literature that you can take in easily and in one setting. It has that efficiency that appeals to a lot of people and I think a lot of people frankly rediscovered it during COVID,” he said.    

Taking place Jan. 13-15, some sessions will be offered only via teleconference, but the bulk will be in person at the west campus of Pima Community College.

As for what to expect, Perry said, “People will experience workshops, readings and some generative time to put some words on paper. We’ve got open mics. We’ve got the reading of our annual winners from our annual contest so other people can hear what kind of poetry the judges that we get every year are finding among the best in the state and from around the country.”

According to a release from ASPS, featured speakers/poets include:

Pamela Uschuk: “Award-winning poet whose work appears in over 300 journals and anthologies, and has been translated in over a dozen languages. She has received numerous literary prizes and awards worldwide and has been a featured poet in programs in India, Israel, Italy, Sweden, Macedonia and universities across the U.S.”

Dr. Johnny G. Chavez III: “Founder and CEO of Voices of Change and associate warden with the Bureau of Prisons in Tucson, his poetry workbook facilitates personal transformation through exercises on literacy, self-development, diversity, and leadership. His 'Writing with Emotions' workshop guides a poet’s ability to harness emotion and use it for creative writing energy.”

Eleanor Kedney: "Author of the poetry collection, ‘Between the Earth and Sky,’ a finalist for the 2021 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards and the 2020 Best Book Awards. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals."

Oscar M. Landa Samano: “A Flagstaff, Arizona, native and undergraduate student at Columbia University in NYC, he is the 2022 state champion of the Arizona Poetry Out Loud competition and was awarded third place in” the national finals.

Registration fees apply. Email ASPS for more details.

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A conversation with Alan Perry of the Arizona State Poetry Society