The University of Arizona threw a funky housewarming party yesterday for its new poetry center, and it was probably the coolest event I've been to in a while. The center's home is not a large building, but it's striking, all angles and glass and wood and polished concrete. The main building manages to be open and airy while simultaneously creating grounded spaces that invite curling up with a blank book and a pen. One sloping glass wall overhangs a sunken performance space outside the south end of the building, while a more intimate garden with a low stone-slab podium is sheltered along the east edge, a long, narrow slot canyon bounded by glass on one side and sun-pierced block on the other, ready for torrents of words.
Hundreds of people and a few dogs showed up to listen to the Tucson Poetry Slam Team and write their own poems and sketch pictures to go along with them. A service was even available to put poems together into hand-bound books for people who wanted them. Plus, there were flamenco dancers and Taiko drummers. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera to take pictures of the nifty chalk art by the Madonnari folks, but the guy from the Daily Star did. Poetry kicked serious ass yesterday. Fiction, the ball is in your court.