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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Poets share works, embrace culture”

    Native American poet Ofelia Zepeda reads selected poems on Thursday from her publication Where Clouds are Formed to a crowd gathered at the UA Poetry Center.
    Native American poet Ofelia Zepeda reads selected poems on Thursday from her publication ‘Where Clouds are Formed’ to a crowd gathered at the UA Poetry Center.

    Poets Ofelia Zepeda and Luci Tapahonso spoke at the UA Poetry center last night to celebrate the release of their new books. Both writers are professors at the UA, Zepeda in linguistics and Tapahonso in English.

    Gail Brown, executive director of the Poetry Center, introduced the guests to the event, which brought a large audience to the poetry reading.

    Native American poet Janice Gould also spoke and gave an introduction of the works of Zepeda and Tapahonso. She said the theme of listening is prevalent in the new publications titled “”Where Clouds are Formed”” by Zepeda and “”A Radiant Curve”” by Tapahonso. “”I’ve known them both a long time, and we share the same publisher,”” she said.

    Gould said that the works are alive to the sounds of the world which gives strength to their poetry, and added that their poetry comments on the use of language and culture as well as their political and personal views.

    Zepeda spoke first and began by reading a poem in O’odham, her native language. She spoke about her friendship with Tapahonso, then repeated the same poem in English.

    “”I think they are very approachable poems,”” Gould said. “”They’re like stories: They’re fun to read, they have a lot of humor and they’re very sensuous.””

    Zepeda’s second poem, “”Proclamation,”” focused on the land of Tucson and its surrounding area, mentioning familiar places such as Sabino Canyon. Another of her poems was about her mother.

    “”I notice in Luci and Ophelia’s work they relate a lot to their mothers,”” Gould said. “”That’s partly because we’re getting older.””

    Tapahonso began by speaking in her native tongue of Navajo. She said Zepeda was like a sister to her. She read several poems from her new book. Her poetry had themes of women and nature. Several of them also featured dogs and were humorous, evoking laughter from the audience.

    Poetry Center volunteer and UA student Joanna Keyl said it was enjoyable to have a different type of poetry introduced to her.

    “”I think I don’t read a lot of native poets, so it’s really nice to have the Poetry Center as another venue to look at these non-traditional poets,”” Keyal said.

    After the reading the authors were available to sign copies of their new books. “”They’re both beautiful books, beautifully designed, the covers are really lovely,”” Gould said.

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