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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Poetry Center gets new home

    The finishing touches are being made to the new Poetry Center, the Helen S. Schaefer building, 1508 E. Helen St. The center will open Oct. 14 with a housewarming festival that is open to the public.
    The finishing touches are being made to the new Poetry Center, the Helen S. Schaefer building, 1508 E. Helen St. The center will open Oct. 14 with a housewarming festival that is open to the public.

    After breaking ground more than a year ago, the UA is ready to open a new building to house one of the largest poetry collections in the nation, university officials said.

    “”I can’t tell you how thrilled we are to finally have a permanent home for the (UA) Poetry Center; to bring the books out of storage and place them on the shelves as one collection,”” Gail Browne, the center’s executive director, wrote in an e-mail.

    “”We’ve been waiting for this day since we lost the original Poetry Center buildings in 1989,”” she added.

    The UA Poetry Center and the Humanities Seminars Program will celebrate the grand opening of the Helen S. Schaefer building with a housewarming festival Oct. 14.

    The festival will be held from noon to 4 p.m. and will include music, Madonnari chalk art, and other activities. U.S. poets laureate Billy Collins and Robert Hass will also be in attendance, according to a press release.

    The center’s poetry collection started out relatively small with 213 volumes of American English and European poetry provided by Ruth Stephan, a Philadelphia poet and philanthropist, Browne wrote.

    Since then, it has grown to encompass 60,000 works, which include 30,000 volumes of poetry, 24,000 issues of journals and periodicals, 400 broadsides, 3,000 photographs and 2,500 audio and video recordings.

    The collection is one of the largest of contemporary poetry in the country, Browne wrote, adding that most larger collections are housed in main libraries.

    The new 17,000-square foot facility, 1508 E. Helen St., includes a climate-controlled rare-book room, meeting rooms, administrative offices and guest accommodations for visiting writers.

    “”I’m thrilled by the building, which is poetic in form, offering many visual pleasures in its design, as well as the coming to fruition of many years’ work to give the Center a home worthy of its history,”” English professor Alison Deming wrote in an e-mail.

    “”I love the old center, and I’m really excited about the new one,”” said Lindsay Miller, a creative writing junior. “”I’m stoked that there will be a bigger, more expanded place, and I can’t wait to check it out.””

    The festival is open to the public and intended for people of all ages. More information can be found on the center’s Web site or by calling 626-3765.

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