Please note that registration for all Spring 2019 University of Arizona Poetry Center Classes and Workshops opens December 17th, 2018 at 11:00 AM. Registration remains open for each class until it fills.

If the class that interests you does not appear below, it is because the class is fully enrolled. You may be added to a waitlist for the class by emailing the Patri Hadad, the Events Program Coordinator, at

For more details on the Classes & Workshops program and the classes this fall, please visit the Classes and Workshops Current Offerings page of the University of Arizona Poetry Center web site.

Please visit our Registration page to learn about cancellations and refund policies. 

Illuminating a Book: The Reviewer’s Task

Class Meetings: Mondays, February 11-March 4, from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, in the Poetry Center Conference Room 207. 

What does one do in order to write a review of a poetry book? First, you must want to review the book, i.e. feel you have something to say about it that matters. You don’t have to judge its worth, though you can offer some insight about possible value. You need to find a nugget within, to discuss and quote specifically, and hopefully let that point of light shine on the whole. You also have to meet deadlines, word count limits, and possibly conform to a journal’s or web site’s style sheets. Not to mention finding a place that wants you to review for them, and, if you succeed, you then follow up with more reviews, more placement of reviews, and even, possibly, the articulation of your own point of view about poetry, through the reviews you write. All the foregoing details, of course, constitute one possible scenario. We will discuss such scenarios, take a look at successful reviews, and practice writing reviews of recent books of poetry. We will even try to get our reviews published, and to develop a list of journals that are looking for poetry reviews.

Instructor bio:  

Charles Alexander is an artist, poet, bookmaker, and the founder/director of Chax Press. He is the author of six full-length books of poetry and thirteen chapbooks of poetry, editor of one critical work on the state of the book arts in America, and author of multiple essays, articles, and reviews. Alexander’s most recent book of poetry is AT the Edge OF the Sea (Singing Horse Press 2018). Two Pushing Waters is his most recent chapbook, from Little Red Leaves. He gave lectures and readings for US Poets in Mexico in 2016. In 2019 he will be a featured participant at the American Poetry Conference at The 7th International Conference of Chinese/American Poetry and Poetics in Wuhan, China. He has taught literature and writing at Naropa University, the University of Arizona, and elsewhere. In past years he has taught poetry and poetics classes for the UA Poetry Center, and has planned and participated in a symposium on the poet Charles Olson, held at the UA Poetry Center in 2008. Currently, at work on a collection of essays and a new book of poetry, he lives in Tucson, Arizona, with his partner, painter Cynthia Miller.

Laughing in the Dark

Class Meetings: Mondays, April 1 – 29 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, in the Poetry Center Conference Room 205.

Humor is the oven mitt that enables us to handle material that might otherwise scorch us.

Humor invites both writers and readers to grapple with subject matter they might normally find off-limits. Its disruption of expectation can surprise us into empathy, into connection, into a release from habitual response. Humor lingers, its guerrilla tactics infiltrating our thinking long after the book is closed.

In this class we’ll examine how contemporary writers such as George Saunders, Ali Smith, Lidia Yuknavitch, Alison Bechdel and others use humor to shine a light on charged situations. Over four weeks, through readings, discussion, and writing in and out of class, we will hone our abilities to use humor for maximum effect.

We will also address the ethics of humor. Are certain events or ideologies too charged to laugh about, no matter how deftly handled? Is humor most effective when it disrupts customary assumptions? How do we puncture commonly held beliefs that we ourselves share? Can we deflate our self-importance as authors to stoop for the big laughs, and should we?

Though our focus will be prose, writers in any discipline are welcome. Come to this class prepared to write, to discuss, and to enjoy some serious laughter.

Instructor bio:  

Charlie Buck’s writing has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Nevada Arts Council, and her artwork has received awards from the Mid-Atlantic National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She’s received multiple residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, and is currently at work on a novel. Her stories have appeared in publications including Story Magazine and the New Yorker.

Better Poetry Through Algebra: OULIPO & Unlimited Poetry

Class Meetings: Saturday, April 6 from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, in the Poetry Center Conference Room 205. (With 1 hour lunch break) 

"By substituting formidably strict forms for Surrealism's controversial notion of 'total liberty', the OULIPO has created an amazingly beautiful and profound body of literature." - John Ashbery

What good is a game without rules? How ingenious would a jailbreak be without the cell that demanded such ingenuity to escape it?

The irony of freedom is that in liberating us it frees us from the joy of liberation--therefore, it is our mission as poets to self-impose constraints in order to challenge our understanding of and relationship with language. To facilitate this, we'll study the tricks, techniques, and formulas developed by OULIPO to encourage creativity by breaking our well-established poetic tics and tropes. We'll follow in the footsteps of notable OULIPIANS or OULIPO-inspired writers--Raymond Queneau's infinite sonnet, 100,000,000,000 Poems; Georges Perec's 300-page lipogram, A Void; Italo Calvino's Fibonacci-based labyrinth, Invisible Cities; and Harryette Mullen's propulsive N+7s of Shakespeare's sonnets and Walt Disney's America, Sleeping with the Dictionary--in crafting dynamic and linguistically-vigorous poems that will inspire our evolution as poets. In one weekend, through reading, writing exercises, and workshops, we'll bend, break, and bring back to life the English language to the betterment of your work.  

Instructor bio:  

Adam O. Davis is the recipient of the Poetry Society of America's 2016 George Bogin award. He has received grants and fellowships from The Bishop's School, Columbia University, Vermont Studio Center, and Western Michigan University, and his work has appeared in many journals, including The Believer, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, The Paris Review, The Southern Review, and ZYZZYVA. His poetry manuscript, Index of Haunted Houses, has been a finalist for publication by Barrow Street Press, Cleveland State Press, Colorado State University's Center for Literary Publishing, New Issues Press, Sarabande Books, and Tupelo Press. He lives in San Diego, California, where he teaches English literature and composition at The Bishop's School.

University of Arizona Poetry Center