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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Love of poetry inspires fellowship

    Wide arrays of books and studying spots allow students to lay back and relax while getting lost in the works of their favorite poet in the Poetry Center.
    Wide arrays of books and studying spots allow students to lay back and relax while getting lost in the works of their favorite poet in the Poetry Center.

    Mary Ann Campau was always an avid supporter of local poets and the UA Poetry Center. She even hosted free poetry workshops in her own home up until her death in 2005.

    Now the Poetry Center is passing on that support in the form of the Mary Ann Campau Memorial Fellowship.

    “”She was just really an amazing human being with lots of energy,”” said Pam Uschuk, co-founder of the Campau Fellowship. “”We wanted to do something for her.””

    The fellowship supplies a $1,000 stipend, and a chance to take part in the Poetry Center Reading Series, to one local poet each year. A special committee of local poets will choose this year’s winning applicant shortly after the Oct. 17 deadline, said Annie Guthrie, marketing director for the Poetry Center.

    While several local and regional poets have received national attention and award recognition, the fellowship is designed to focus on under-recognized writers and poets, said Gail Browne, executive director of the Poetry Center.

    “”We’re looking for someone who hasn’t had that recognition yet,”” she said.

    Individual applicants for the fellowship are asked to send the Center a packet including a 300-word statement describing the applicant’s accomplishments, contributions and activities pertaining to the local poetry community, as well as a writing sample up to 10 pages long, Guthrie said.

    The Center is expecting between 20 and 25 applicants for the fellowship, Browne said.

    “”I’m really hoping we see a lot (of applicants),”” she said. “”I think we will.””

    Although the Poetry Center is UA-affiliated, university students, faculty and staff are not eligible for the fellowship, as it is more focused on the Tucson community than the university, Browne said.

    Browne believes the fellowship is an opportunity for the UA and the community to become more involved with each other, since the campus tends to be “”isolated,”” she said.

    “”The Poetry Center is such a great resource,”” Uschuk said. “”We’re hoping it will be a bridge in many ways.””

    After retiring in 1989, Campau began taking workshops at the Center. Shortly after becoming involved in the local poetry and writing community, her passion for poetry came through, Uschuk said.

    If someone could not afford to take part in a workshop, Campau would not think twice about it. She would offer up her own money to cover the charge. Such gestures were not seen as particularly generous to Campau herself. It was just the norm for her, Ushuk said.

    The fellowship is meant to extend Campau’s own dedication and generosity for years to come, she added.

    “”We’re going to keep it going as long as we possibly can,”” Uschuk said.

    Campau’s demeanor was so contagious and touched some so deeply that even though Campau has died, her legacy cannot, she added.

    “”I think it would mean a great deal to her,”” Uschuk said. “”It would make her happy – very happy.””

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