Founded in 2008 by David Chorlton, Nadine Lockhart, and Rosemarie Dombrowski, PPS’s mission has always been to uphold the value of poetry by showcasing some of the best poetic voices the state has to offer – from university and community college faculty, to MFA candidates and grads, to the community’s literary and poetic icons. Each 4th Friday, we open the evening with a craft talk/workshop/Q & A with our featured poet(s), and in the spirit of literary salons, we start “late” and take breaks for coffee, conversation, and musical guests. The second half of the evening is dedicated to the reading, with book sales and conversation to follow. Now hosted by Phoenix College, Phoenix Poetry Series is more embedded than ever in our growing community.
rinky dink press – a Phoenix-based publisher of micropoetry in microzine form – is on a mission to get finely crafted poetry back in the hands (and pockets) of the people. Each of our single author collections can fit in your pocket, but we never sacrifice craft, and despite the tiny format, we refuse to sacrifice style or the environment (we use tree-less paper that’s made from sugarcane waste). We’re run by a staff of advanced undergraduates, graduates, and established poets, and we believe in marrying a DIY attitude with skilled poetics and fine-art aesthetics. Part zine, part literary chapbook, we believe that poetry is best served in the liminal spaces that defy traditional classifications.
After being awarded a prestigious Women and Philanthropy grant in 2009, WOD has continued to evolve from a small-scale student journal (edited entirely by undergraduate interns) to one that recruits both graduate and community-based editors dedicated to all genres of creative writing and literary journalism. The journal, now in its twelfth year, features an array of writers — from ASU Downtown students, to students from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, to writers who live and work in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The ethos of the journal is “Downtown” in both image and tone, and WOD is more dedicated than ever to portraying the city’s many facets through an array of diverse voices. WOD is published annually in late April and can be found throughout the Downtown Phoenix area.
Geology of Spirit is a creative collaboration among four Arizona artists — two poets and two photographers — who will be exploring the intersection of the human and the wild in the desert Southwest and the interior regions of self and society. The creation of images and poetry will continue through the end of 2018, at which point the collaborators (Cyd Peroni, Lois Roma-Deeley, Pat O’Brien, and myself) will host exhibitions and talks throughout the city. The evolution of the project is being published on our blog, which can be accessed from the link above.
A 2017 recipient of a Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics Fellowship, the Community Poetry Gardens – aka purposeful, lyrical, “linguistic graffiti” done in designated areas within communities that are attempting to preserve and beautify as well as engage the youth in the literary arts – will serve as a voice of the community and their vision for the future. With the supervision of myself and other active poets in the Phoenix community (some ASU students, some community members), anyone wishing to create community word-art will have the opportunity to attend a workshop that will address the role of poetry-as-public art, its socio-cultural value, and the potential interaction between linguistic and visual art. Topical ideas will be discussed, as well as desired themes and messages (e.g. inclusion, healing, agency, identity, empowerment, human rights…).
Once the short community poems have been produced, we will involve the talents of visual artists, those with a background in street art/murals and a passion for text, to either teach the participants some techniques or assist with the inscription. Once the wall is completed, the youth will unveil it to the community via a launch celebration and reading.
New Phx Voices
New Phx Voices is a monthly teen poetry workshop and open mic being piloted at Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix. Teens will explore genres such as found poetry (redaction, cut-up, cento), styles such as personal narrative, and applied projects such as poetry-as-public-art and micropoetry sequences (to be published in microzines). The open mic will allow teens to share the work that they completed/revised during the workshop as well as new pieces that they’d like to debut. The events will be held in Teen Central, which constitutes a Safe Space, one that encourages expression, welcomes narratives of marginalization, and has a zero tolerance policy for aggression and hate speech of any kind.
The Poetics of Street Art (anthology), forthcoming
The anthology, tentatively titled The Poetics of Street Art: A Multi-City Anthology, will be edited by city, youth, and state laureates who will distribute a call within their city for poetry “that engages with/responds to street art.” Once the submissions are narrowed down to 10 “poem + photograph pairings” per city (by each participating laureate) the collection will be pared down to around 175-200 pages (inclusive of artwork). The goal is to foster the relationship between street art and contemporary poetics, to highlight the cultural narratives that street art celebrates as well as the social injustices it brings to the fore. By paring poetry with street art, the less visible iterations of these narratives (aka the poems) will not only surface, but resound with readers around the country.