The Poetry Center is a leading literary institution and a living archive of poetry. As a premier example of a thriving public/private partnership, the Poetry Center connects the University of Arizona with the greater literary community in Tucson and beyond. We have amassed one of the finest and largest print/digital collections of contemporary poetry in America, with an active schedule of acquisitions. We’ve welcomed over one thousand poets to Tucson to read. Our education programs annually serve Arizona school children, college students, and adults with poetry experiences. Our public/private partnership has invested in a permanent landmark home for poetry in the American Southwest, and this underscores our ongoing commitment to the future of poetry, poetics, literary arts, and the ever-growing diverse community that we serve and cherish.
The mission of the Poetry Center is to advance a diverse and robust literary culture that serves a local-to-global spectrum of writers, readers, and new audiences for poetry and the literary arts.
Contemporary American poet Arthur Sze contemplates the shapes of leaves as emblems of human emotion, and invites us to join him on the edge of a new leaf.
Strangers converge under a fig tree growing improbably in the city of Philadelphia and connect with each other as they enjoy its fruits. Ross Gay read this poem, among others, at the Poetry Center on January 19th, 2017. You can listen to him read it here.
W. S. Merwin, two time Pulitzer Prize winning poet, and former U.S. Poet Laureate, was an environmentalist who understood the indivisible connections between humans and the natural world. His deep relationship with trees is the heart of these two poems. An artist book of the poem Trees (which opens accordion-style) is housed in the rare book collection of The University of Arizona Poetry Center.
In this carefully crafted poem celebrating life and all things vertical Linda Pastan proposes that leaves conceal the verticality of trees which only becomes obvious to us in winter.