Tucson is home to a great variety of literary resources. For a good overview of our excellent literary city, especially outside of the University of Arizona, you might start with Poets & Writers' feature on Tucson. The MFA program houses or has relationships with most of the major players in Tucson, and MFA students often work or intern on these journals, websites, literary spaces, and projects. This list features some of the most prominent and exciting.
“Poetry is the food of the spirit, and spirit is the instigator and flow of all revolutions.” Since its inception, the Poetry Center has strived to live up to these words from founder Ruth Stephan. With nearly 70,000 items related to poetry in its collection, the Poetry Center is a living archive, a place where the spirit of poetry has served members of the community just like you for over 50 years.
Within this single space you will find opportunities to enjoy readings and lectures, classes and workshops, library exhibitions, field trips, K–12 educational resources, discussion groups, or just a quiet place to sit and read a book. It is, as beloved teacher and friend Steve Orlen said, “The best living room in America for reading poetry.” Welcome; we hope you stay awhile and return often.
Founded in 2001, the UA Prose Series brings writers of distinction to the University of Arizona. The Series is sponsored by the College of Humanities and the Department of English, and presented in cooperation with the University of Arizona Poetry Center. The Series has brought such writers as David Foster Wallace, Francine Prose, Isabelle Allende, Cristina Garcia, and George Saunders to the U of A campus.
Founded in 1980, Sonora Review is one of the oldest student-run literary journals in the country. From start to finish, each issue is put together solely by graduate students in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Arizona. All staff members volunteer their time. Former staff members include Antonya Nelson, Robert Boswell, Richard Russo, Tony Hoagland, David Foster Wallace, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Tim Peterson, and Richard Siken. Work originally printed in the Sonora Review has appeared in Best of the West and Best American Poetry, and has won O. Henry Awards and Pushcart Prizes.
Edited by UA Creative Writing faculty Kate Bernheimer, Fairy Tale Review is an annual literary journal dedicated to publishing new fairy-tale fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The journal seeks to expand the conversation about fairy tales among practitioners, scholars, and general readers. Contents reflect a diverse spectrum of literary artists working with fairy tales in many languages and styles.
DIAGRAM, founded in 2000, is one of the oldest online literary journals, publishing six issues of art, text, and (found, original, and reprinted) schematics a year, sometimes also with art, audio, and digital work. Together with the New Michigan Press, DIAGRAM sponsors a yearly chapbook contest with an April deadline. Though it's is not a publication of the University of Arizona, it is housed here, since it’s edited by CW faculty Ander Monson. If you are new to the publication, you might start with this comprehensive index of DIAGRAM contributors. If you’re interested in working on the magazine, we often need assistant editors (particularly in poetry) and readers for the chapbook contest.
Essay Daily is a website fomenting conversations about nonfiction, particularly the essay (and its many offshoots and hybrid forms). If “essays are how we speak to one another in print,” to quote Edward Hoagland, Essay Daily is accelerating that process. Regular features include columns on the trans essay, the visual essay, Writing the Ellipsis, Rule-Breaking, International Essayists, and the Malcontent (a pseudonymous black hat column in which we invite writers to be cranky about writers that everyone seems to think are super awesome). The site features an essay a week, sometimes two, and also features conversations with editors and publishers of nonfiction, journal editors, and writers with collections of essays out. Want to get involved? Pitch us by contacting Managing Editor and former MFA student Will Slattery (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ander Monson. The site is often looking for craft essays or those interested in conducting interviews with an emphasis on nonfiction, or lively, nonacademic engagements with contemporary or classic essays or essayists. Essay Daily features a yearly advent calendar, publishing an essay a day during Advent. And the site is releasing its first anthology: How We Speak to One Another: An Essay Daily Reader, coedited by Ander Monson and Craig Reinbold, forthcoming in March 2017 from Coffee House Press.
The New Michigan Press has been publishing broadsides, anthologies, swag, and (mostly) chapbooks (poetry and prose) since 1999. In collusion with the magazine DIAGRAM, NMP runs a yearly chapbook contest, from which we pick most of the manuscripts we publish. Our broadsides series commemorates writers reading at the University of Arizona's Poetry and Prose reading series. The broadsides are given out for free to those in attendance, but if you're interested in picking up one of them after the fact, you can buy many of the past ones here.
Created by Joshua Marie Wilkinson in 2011, The Volta is a multimedia poetry and poetics site, featuring monthly issues of essays, reviews, poems, interviews, films, and other poetry-related matter. To date, we’ve published special issues related to politics, race, sexuality, mixed-forms, erasure, and many others. The Volta is partnered with Poetry magazine for special poetics essay features.
Letter Machine Editions, founded in 2007 by Noah Eli Gordon and Joshua Marie Wilkinson, is a nonprofit publisher of books and chapbooks. We’ve released works of poetry and prose by Travis Nichols, Juliana Leslie, Andrea Rexilius, Sawako Nakayasu, Anselm Berrigan, John Yau, Sara Veglahn, Edmund Berrigan, and Aaron Kunin. Farid Matuk’s This Isa Nice Neighborhood was an Honorable Mention for the Arab American Book Awards and was named a Runner-up for the Norma Farber 1st Book Award by the Poetry Society of America.
Edible Baja Arizona is a local food magazine covering food and culture in the borderlands. We publish bi-monthly and distribute 26,000 copies across southern Arizona. In our pages, we use regional foodways as a lens to explore social and environmental issues, rich cultural heritages, and the future options and strategies for living well in the desert despite our very real limitations of resources. We welcome essay and article submissions and queries. Visit EdibleBajaArizona.com.
Founded in 1998 and edited by MFA alum Simmons Buntin (’09), Terrain.org is an international online journal of place that is a celebration of the symbiosis between the built and natural environments where it exists, and an examination and discourse where it does not. Publishing at www.terrain.org three times per week, Terrain.org features poetry, fiction, nonfiction, interviews, editorials, recommended reads, reviews, the ARTerrain gallery, the UnSprawl case studies, and a blog. As an online-only journal, Terrain.org features stunning photos, audio, image galleries, video, and other multimedia. And we like interns, too!
Tucson-based Spork Press can be found here: http://sporkpress.com/
Kore Press was founded in 1993 by the creative visionaries Lisa Bowden—poet, printer, activist, bookmaker—and Karen Falkenstrom—poet, organizer, literary activist, Taiko Drummer. The vision of the Press has been to publish and promote excellent works of stunning literary value and innovation by a diversity of women, including those traditionally underrepresented in the cultural mainstream and to educate young people about the power of voice and effecting change through literary activism.
Kore published Alison Deming's terse advice to Women Artists as their first publication—a letterpess printed broadside, called Girls in the Jungle, What Does It Take to Survive as An Artist. Since then, we have brought over 127 literary women into print.
POG is a federally-recognized non-profit corporation, a collective of poets, literary critics, and practitioners of other art forms who have joined together in Tucson to offer public programming, and other related events, which will promote active appreciation of and engagement with avant-garde artistic work in a variety of media, especially poetry and multi-disciplinary art. Cross-over programming has been central to POG's mission from the beginning: POG is committed to attracting a diverse audience to programs that match artists working in different media, from different backgrounds, and with differing aesthetic approaches. With strong and varied ties to Tucson and its arts communities, POG's members are committed to fostering dialogue among various artistic and geographic communities within the Tucson area, as well as to cooperation and bridge-building among Tucson arts organizations. POG sponsors Poetry in Action, a public multi-disciplinary arts series with a strong emphasis on poetry, as well as a discussion group and an electronic discussion forum.