In celebration of National Poetry Month, this April the Tucson Tome Gnome has partnered with the University of Arizona Poetry Center to give away 30 bundles of three signed books, all featuring Poets Laureate! Also included with each bundle is a coupon for the finder to pick up a broadside of Alberto Ríos’ poem, “This Human Bloom in the Hard Desert,” created in honor of the Poetry Center’s 60th Anniversary in 2020.
Curious to know more about the Poets Laureate that we’re featuring for this month’s giveaway and their books? Read on!
An American Sunrise, by Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States
About the book, from WW Norton:
“A nationally best-selling volume of wise, powerful poetry from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States.
In this stunning collection, Joy Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where the Mvskoke people, including her own ancestors, were forcibly displaced. From her memory of her mother’s death, to her beginnings in the Native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo’s personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings.”
About the Author, Joy Harjo:
“Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is serving her second term as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States.
The author of nine books of poetry, including the highly acclaimed An American Sunrise, several plays and children’s books, and two memoirs, Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior, her many honors include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, two NEA fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
As a musician and performer, Harjo has produced seven award-winning music albums including her newest, “I Pray for My Enemies”. She is Executive Editor of the anthology When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through — A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry and the editor of Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry, the companion anthology to her signature Poet Laureate project. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Board of Directors Chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and is the first Artist-in-Residence for Tulsa’s Bob Dylan Center. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.”
A Small Story About the Sky, by Alberto Ríos, Poet Laureate of Arizona
About the book, from Copper Canyon Press:
“In A Small Story about the Sky, Alberto Ríos, Arizona’s first Poet Laureate, casts an intense desert light on the rich stories unfolding along the Mexico-United States border. In poems peppered with Latin American culture and touches of magic realism, the objects of ordinary life—a shower stall, spilled birdseed, winter lemons—lead to explorations of mortality and of the many possibilities of how lives may yet be lived.”
About the Author, Alberto Ríos:
“Alberto Alvaro Ríos was born on September 18, 1952, in Nogales, Arizona. He received a BA degree in 1974 and an MFA in creative writing in 1979, both from the University of Arizona.
Ríos has authored numerous books of poetry and prose, including Not Go Away is My Name, The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body (which was nominated for the National Book Award), Whispering to Fool the Wind (which won the 1981 Walt Whitman Award), and the novel The Iguana Killer: Twelve Stories of the Heart (which won the Western States Book Award). Ríos’s poetry has been set to music in a cantata by James DeMars called “Toto’s Say,” and on an EMI release, “Away from Home.” He was also featured in the documentary Birthwrite: Growing Up Hispanic. His work has been included in more than ninety major national and international literary anthologies, including the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry.
He holds numerous awards, including six Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and fiction, the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 1994 he has been Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University in Tempe, where he has taught since 1982. In 2013, Ríos was named the inaugural state poet laureate of Arizona. He served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2014 to 2020. In 2017, he was appointed as the new director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.”
Gephyromania, by TC Tolbert, Tucson Poet Laureate
“In Gephyromania (literally, an addiction to or an obsession with bridges), Tolbert’s choice isn’t between female and male, lover and self, or loss and relief, but rather to live in the places where those binaries meet. Is a bridge simply an attempt to connect one body back to itself? Sensing the parallels between a lover who leaves and his own female body as it chooses to recede, the poems in Gephyromania explore the spaces between, among, across, and even within bodies.”
About the Author, TC Tolbert:
“TC Tolbert identifies as a trans and genderqueer feminist, collaborator, mover, and poet. And, s/he’s a human in love with humans doing human things. S/he is author of Gephyromania (Ahsahta Press 2014, Reprinted by Nightboat Press in 2022), five chapbooks, and co-editor of Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books, 2013). TC was recently awarded an Academy of American Poets’ Laureate Fellowship for his work with trans*, non-binary, and queer folks as Tucson’s Poet Laureate. S/he was a Writer in Residence at Pratt Institute, 2019-2020.”
Why we selected these books for this month’s giveaway:
- It’s National Poetry Month! Poetry is pretty cool – there is truly something for everyone.
- Who better to feature during National Poetry than our Poets Laureate??? These folks are writing and engaging in our communities in some pretty amazing ways. Check out Joy Harjo’s Living Nations, Living Words project — and check out what TC Tolbert is doing to support The Outlaw Project here in Tucson 🙂
- Each of these poets represents voices and perspectives that we don’t hear from nearly often enough!
- Also, each of these books has elements of autobiography – and while being deeply personal to each poet, you will likely find something you can relate to ❤
- Poetry, like kindness, can be a balm for times of uncertainty. And, like Alberto Ríos wrote in his poem, “When Giving Is All We Have,”
“We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.
We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.
We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—
Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.
Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:
Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.
You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green. You gave me
What you did not have, and I gave you
What I had to give—together, we made
Something greater from the difference.”