TC Tolbert will serve as Tucson Poet Laureate beginning March 1, 2017. Tolbert will serve as an ambassador to the literary arts and reflect the spirit of the community by promoting literary education in our schools and communities and bringing poetry to the people in Tucson who have limited access or exposure to the literary arts.
The City of Tucson, Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona, and the University of Arizona Poetry Center are pleased to partner in celebrating local poetry artists through an open call for nominations to appoint Tucson’s Poet Laureate. The nomination process will open once again in the Spring of 2023, and the selected individual will serve a two-year term.
The purpose of the Tucson Poet Laureate position is to promote poetry and an appreciation of poetry among the general public and inspire an emerging generation of literary artists and readers. The Tucson Poet Laureate serves as an ambassador to the literary arts and reflects the spirit of the community by promoting literary education in our schools and communities, bringing poetry to the people in Tucson who have limited access or exposure to the literary arts.
All nominations are reviewed by a community panel administered by the Arts Foundation. The final review will result in a list of three individuals, in ranked order, outlining the panel’s recommendations for the Poet Laureate. The City of Tucson Mayor makes the final selection from the panel’s recommendation of finalists.
Past Poet Laureate
“My sense of poetry is of finding
some living language, a space that can breathe,
like the living body, like the living earth, within
and out of a history of oppression and historical wounding.
Like all words, the word “laureate” is weighted with the
origin of meaning, an original wounding, and a relationship to the world.”
In 2012, Mayor Rothschild named poet, translator, and editor, Rebecca Seiferle Tucson’s Poet Laureate.
Rebecca earned a BA from SUNY and an MFA from Warren Wilson College. Her collections of poetry include The Music We Dance To (1999), winner of the Cecil Hemley Award from the Poetry Society of America; Bitters (2001), which won both the Western States Book Award and a Pushcart Prize; and Wild Tongue (2007), winner of the Grub Street National Poetry Prize. She has translated poets such as César Vallejo, Alfonso D’Aquino, and Ernesto Lumbreras.
“I would rather revise the role, so that a poet laureate is not one who is crowned but one who crowns.”
— Rebecca Seiferle
You can read a full article of Rebecca Seiferle’s impressions of being Tucson Poet Laureate here.