Lucille Clifton reads poems on many subjects, including family and illness, as well as a series of Rastafarian-inspired poems about the life of the Biblical figure Mary. In addition to poems, Clifton reads excerpts from Generations: A Memoir and her children's book Sonora Beautiful.
In this performance, Allen Ginsberg reads from Howl (1956), Kaddish (1961), and Reality Sandwiches (1963). He also discusses his writing process and reads some unpublished excerpts.
Yusef Komunyakaa reads widely from his poetry published in the 1980s, including many poems from Dien Cai Dau (1988). He also reads poems that would soon thereafter be collected in Magic City (1992) and Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems (1993).
Denise Levertov briefly reads from Relearning the Alphabet (1970) and Footprints (1972) before turning to poems that would be collected in The Freeing of the Dust (1975). Many of the pieces reflect Levertov's antiwar commitments, and three of the more recent poems were written in response to Levertov's visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, in 1972.
Adrienne Rich reads poems appearing in The Will to Change (1971) and Diving into the Wreck (1973), as well as more recent poems that would be collected in Poems: Selected and New, 1950-1974 (1975).
Jon Anderson reads primarily from Looking for Jonathan (1968) and Death & Friends (1970), in addition to one poem from In Sepia (1974). The reading opens with a humorous description of Anderson's attempt to apply for a job writing copy for the Hallmark Greeting Card company.
C. K. Williams reads poetry primarily from I Am the Bitter Name (1972). He also reads several ribald pieces (that remain uncollected), showcasing his humor and imagination.
Ai reads solely from the manuscript for Sin, a collection published the year following this reading. She briefly discusses her time at the University of Arizona, where she was a student during the late 1960s.
Ishmael Reed performs poems from his extensive body of work, including several unpublished poems. He remarks that his reading will "start out with a song and end with a song"--that is, with his poems "Betty's Ball Blues" and "I'm Running for the Office of Love" as set to music by Taj Mahal and Allen Toussaint.
In this performance, Carolyn Forché reads from her first three books, discussing the influences for the poems as she reads them.
This reading opens with Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading from his journal about stopping in Salome, Arizona on his way to perform for the Poetry Center. He reads primarily from A Coney Island of the Mind but also includes a performance of Walter Lowenfels's anti-war poem "Where is Vietnam."
Carolyn Forché reads from The Country Between Us (1981), the Lamont Poetry Selection of The Academy of American Poets for 1982. In the middle of the performance, she reads excerpts from and discusses El Salvador: Work of Thirty Photographers (1981), which influenced the poems in this reading.
Leroy V. Quintana reads from The History of Home (1993), My Hair Turning Gray Among Strangers (1996), and The Great Whirl of Exile (1999).
Rebecca Seiferle reads a long sequence, "On the Island of Bones," from her poetry collection Wild Tongue (2007). This reading for the 2009 Tucson Festival of Books was originally given alongside Demetria Martínez.
Luci Tapahonso reads from A Radiant Curve (2008). This reading was originally given with Alison Hawthorne Deming.
Lorna Dee Cervantes reads primarily from Emplumada (1981) and From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger (1991). She also reads several poems that would go on to be collected in Drive: The First Quartet (2006).
Anne Waldman discusses and reads from two recent projects, Manatee/Humanity and the Chax Press chapbook Matriot Acts. This reading was given alongside Laynie Browne for the 2010 Tucson Festival of Books.
Maria Melendez reads from her collection Flexible Bones (2010).
This reading begins with Olga Broumas reading her translations of the Greek poet Odysseas Elytis. Sometimes performing poems in Greek and sometimes performing in English, Broumas experiments with the delivery of each translation and reads one poem by moving between Greek and English as she reads. Broumas also reads from five of her own books: Beginning With O, Pastoral Jazz, Soie Sauvage, Caritas, and Perpetua.
In this reading, Robert Bly treats the audience to translations of Issa, Neruda, and Kabir more than five years before they began to be collected in his books. He also reads uncollected poems and poems from his book The Light Around the Body, which was published the year following this reading.
Jonathan Skinner presents his work as part of the Poetry Center's Fall 2009 sequence of themed readings, "Oh Earth, Wait for Me: Conversations about Art and Ecology." After opening with a talk titled "Thoughts on Things: Poetics of the Third Landscape," he reads poems from With Naked Foot (2009) and Political Cactus Poems (2005). He closes the reading with poems from an ongoing series titled Warblers, some of which would be published in chapbook form by Albion Books (2010). This reading was given alongside Juliana Spahr.
In the first reading of the Poetry Center's 50th anniversary year, former Poetry Center Director and University of Arizona Regents' Professor Emeritus Richard Shelton reads from his books The Last Person to Hear Your Voice (2007) and Crossing the Yard (2007).
In this reading, originally given with Ann Cummins, David Wojahn performs poetry from World Tree (2011). Also read is the unpublished poem "Sclera."
Laura Tohe reads from Tséyi': Deep in the Rock; Reflections on Canyon de Chelly (2005), which pairs Tohe's texts with images by photographer Stephen E. Strom. Following Tohe's reading, Strom discusses the images contained in the book.
Thomas Sayers Ellis reads from The Maverick Room (2005) and Skin, Inc. (2010).
Joyelle McSweeney reads primarily from Percussion Grenade (2012) as well as several unpublished pieces. This reading was originally given with Zachary Schomburg.
Tony Hoagland reads poems from the collections Donkey Gospel (1998), What Narcissism Means to Me (2003), and Hard Rain (2005), as well as one unpublished poem.
Roberto Tejada reads from Mirrors for Gold (2006) and Full Foreground (2012). This reading was originally given with J. Michael Martinez and Carmen Giménez Smith at an event titled Latino/a Poetry Now.
Martín Espada reads from Trumpets from the Islands of their Eviction (1987), Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover's Hands (1990), and City of Coughing and Dead Radiators (1993).
Poetry Center Summer Resident Stephen Willey reads from "Living In," a manuscript-in-progress; the section performed here was composed during his residency. This reading was originally given with Brian Blanchfield and Karen Brennan.
Susan Briante reads from Utopia Minus (2011) and from the manuscript of The Market Wonders (2016). This reading was originally given with Alison Hawthorne Deming.
Carolyn Forché reads from her first three collections of poetry, Gathering the Tribes (1976), The Country Between Us (1981), and The Angel of History, which would be published three years after this reading. She also speaks about French Surrealist poet Robert Desnos and reads her translator's note to The Selected Poems of Robert Desnos (1991).
Simon J. Ortiz reads poems following the theme that poetry is the voice that we all speak.
Giancarlo Huapaya gives a gallery performance related to the exhibit BirúPirúPerú: Collective Projects of Peruvian Visual Poetry, on display at the Poetry Center from August 21 to November 22, 2017. His performance makes use of the inaugural addresses of nine United States Presidents, from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump.