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University of Arizona Poetry Center
University of Arizona Poetry Center

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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 Poetry Center was founded in 1960 by writer, editor, and philanthropist Ruth Walgreen Stephan (1910-1974). Robert Frost read at the dedication of the Poetry Center. In 1962, the Poetry Center’s visiting poet Reading and Lecture Series was inaugurated with a reading by Stanley Kunitz. Since that time more than 1,000 writers have read or lectured in the series, including most major contemporary U.S. poets, significant international visitors, and emerging artists. Over the years, the Center has benefited from the support of the University of Arizona, the English Department, and the College of Humanities. In 2006, construction began on the Poetry Center’s permanent home, the award-winning Helen S. Schaefer building. Construction was completed in August 2007. In the new building, Poetry Center literary programs and collaborations have grown exponentially. The Poetry Center serves academic, community, and youth populations through its special collections library, a suite of programs, and partnerships.

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