Letter from the Director Aurelie Sheehan

“Dear Alums and Friends,

On November 16th, Steve Orlen passed away at his home. One of the founders of the MFA program, Steve taught poetry at the University of Arizona for over forty years. His exceptionally refined understanding of poetry, his passionate curiosity about the human soul and history, and his big loving  presence in these halls and rooms will be deeply missed.

On Saturday, January 22nd, the MFA Program and the Poetry Center will host a tribute to Steve and to his work as a poet and teacher. In addition, we will collect an archive of appreciations, memories, and creative work. Please check the Poetry Center website in the coming weeks for details.  We hope you can join us, whether in person or in spirit, as we remember Steve.

In other news, this year we are celebrating the Poetry Center’s 50th anniversary. A full schedule of the events still to come is  posted on the Poetry Center website. We are especially glad to welcome Kate Bernheimer (’94) and Joshua Marie Wilkinson (’02) reading on December 3rd, and Ann Cummins (’89) and David Wojahn (’80) reading on January 20th.

Last spring, Bob Houston retired. Bob has been one of the shapers of the program over the years—since 1973, in fact—and he is one of our best mentors and friends. Luckily he hasn’t gone too far, and we hope to corral him in for events every so often.

Sonora Review 58, a beautiful hand-bound edition, is just out. Sonora Review will be unveiling its 31st Anniversary Issue at AWP in Washington, DC (already available for preorder: https://sonorareview.com/subscribe/). To celebrate, join us in Adams Morgan for an off-site reading at Madam’s Organ, 10:30 p.m. on February 3rd (readers to include Kevin Canty, Nick Flynn, Joshua Furst, Michael Martone, Aurelie Sheehan, Ed Skoog and Joshua Marie Wilkinson).

Here’s some exciting news from the colder climes! Peggy Shumaker (’79) is the new State Writer Laureate for the State of Alaska. Current MFAer Liz Warren-Pederson interviews Peggy on the occasion of this appointment.

Finally, we’ve got a fancy new giving form now, and much need for student and program support. If you are in the giving mood, please support our program: view and download the form now.

Have a peaceful, productive winter.

Warm wishes,

Aurelie Sheehan
Aurelie Sheehan”


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