Located on 407 E. Roosevelt St. in the heart of the Roosevelt Row Arts District, the First Friday “poetry garden” is a performance space that features a rotating cast of local poets — from small presses to journals, youth poetry programs to slam poets, ASU poets to community poets. It’s a space where performance, tabling, and poetry-on-demand come together in a way that’s accessible to the public, making the monthly art festival (that draws 10,000-plus metro Phoenix residents each month) a more dynamic, creative, and literary art-inclusive experience. In short, its mission is to make poetry part of the vernacular in Phoenix.
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 conversation and coffee, followed by 15-20 minute readings by each of our featured poets (2-3), and in the spirit of literary salons, we start late and linger for the coffee, the conversation, and an occasional musical guest. Now hosted by Fillmore Coffee Co. in Downtown Phoenix, Phoenix Poetry Series is more embedded than ever in our growing community.
rinky dink press – a Phoenix-based publisher of micro-collections of micropoetry – 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 (they’re technically microzines), 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 cohort of local poets and artists, and we believe in marrying a punk-rock attitude with skilled poetics and DIY aesthetics. Part zine and part 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’s dedicated to showcasing all genres of creative writing and visual art from the student body and beyond. The journal, now in its twelfth year, features an array of voices — from ASU Downtown students, to students from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, to writers who live/work/create 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. In 2019, we’re partnering with Danielle Foushee (Phx Mural Project) and students from the Herberger School of Design in an attempt to remake ourselves into a publication that reflects the best of our urban-desert aesthetic. WOD is published annually in late April and can be found at Changing Hands Bookstore.
Geology of Spirit is a creative collaboration of four Arizona artists — visual artists Cyd Peroni and Pat O’Brien, along with poets Lois Roma-Deeley and Rosemarie Dombrowski — who are exploring the intersection of the human body/spirit and the desert Southwest, the interior regions of the self and the surrounding territory that shapes us. The creation of images and poetry will continue through late summer 2018, with preview talks beginning as early as December 2018. The official opening of the show, which features 14 photographic-poetic modules and both live and digital recordings of the poems, is Saturday March 9th, 2019, from 4:30 to 6:30pm at the Holland Gallery of Fine Art in Scottsdale, AZ.
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.