Word S5:E4: National Poetry Month Part 1 — The Tucson Episode

By Tom Maxedon
Published: Thursday, April 1, 2021 - 5:05am

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Bill Moeller
Jefferson Carter is a poet who lives in Tucson.

On this edition of “Word,” we’re back from spring break and just in time for National Poetry Month. We head to the University of Arizona Poetry Center in Tucson — well via Zoom anyway.

Plus, we sample some poetry and talk verse with Tucson writers.

Richard Leis (2021)
Richard Leis is a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona and is also a poet.

First, the Tucson Poetry Festival is April 17-18. It’s virtual again this year and we catch up with one of its organizers and board members, Richard Leis, who has what some might say is a surprising day job for a poet. He read his poem “Bird Chooses To Make A Habitat Of Heart,” which has just been published in "Impossible Archetype," an online publication.

Also, the University of Arizona Poetry Center is one of the state’s gemstones and has garnered international repute for its diversity and wealth of poems housed in its stacks. But the pandemic has kept its doors shuddered for months.

Sarah Kortemeier is library director for the Center and also fields phone calls for the weekly “Ask a Librarian” offering. We discuss what’s been the most difficult part about having its doors closed to the public and how writers can contribute to "Dear Vaccine" — a global vaccine poem — while they wait to get vaccinated.

The effort is spearheaded by Kent State University. You can "Ask a Librarian" about all matters of poetry by calling (520) 626-3765 on Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m.

Sarah Kortemeier
Patri Hadad
Sarah Kortemeier is library director for the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

Finally, we close out this edition of the podcast with Jefferson Carter from Tucson. Although he’s retired from teaching, he’s very active in the poetry scene and has a wealth of material published. We talk about the adjustment to virtual readings after nearly a year of venues being closed and the modern state of poetry. Jefferson also reads his poem “Life Partner,” which is featured in his collection, “Birkenstock Blues.”

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