Tucson Poetry Festival & Documentary

by Ocotillo Literary Endeavors


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For over 30 years, the Tucson Poetry Festival has been expanding the audience for contemporary poetry in Arizona. Our poets have ranged from accomplished local artists, to national and world renowned poets, including several U.S. Poets Laureate and Nobel Prize winners.Ocotillo Literary Endeavors is a nonprofit organization consisting of poets, writers, teachers, and curators, who are all heavily involved in the Tucson literary community. We make up the TPF board, serve as event organizers and caretakers to the rich history of one of the most unique and longest running festivals of its kind in the world.

The 31st annual Tucson Poetry Festival will be held on April 3-5, 2014 and gathers four exciting and diverse writers: Harryette Mullen, Natalie Diaz, Xavier Cavazos & RC Weslowski. Our three-day event will consist of workshops and readings, all free and open to the public, as well as poetry contests open to any resident of Arizona, high school age and older. And for the first time, we plan to record audio and video of the festival and create a visual arts and media project, so the whole world can enjoy the talents of our featured artists and participants.

This year’s Tucson Poetry Festival will run for three days and each day has been organized to first introduce, explore, and execute events all related to the theme “Poetry At Play.” The first day will be a “Locals Only” gathering, and will kick off the festival with a reading featuring TPF board members and other Tucson luminaries. The next day will start with a panel consisting of all four featured poets, followed by a series of readings and fun events to end the evening. The final day will consist of workshops, more featured readings, more fun events and a party to end the night. During most of these events, we will be recording the audio and video, and, over the course of the next few months, we will put together a video project using this footage.

In order to execute this project, we have secured the historic Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson as the location for all festival events. We have also gotten commitments from the four aforementioned poets. For each poet, we will need to cover travel, room and board, meals and other expenses, including a fee for their appearance at the festival. We will have to provide materials for the workshops, pay for the design and costs of posters, t-shirts, and other promotional material, prizes for statewide and high school poetry contests, as well as the costs of producing the video project of the event.  

For this, we 're asking for a minimum fundraising goal of $10,000, all of which will be used to pay for the costs mentioned above. In the event the project is overfunded, the board will meet and decide the best way to use the additional funds, likely in certain areas such as higher production costs for the video, an increase in certain fees or compensation, or more promotion.

This project is a labor of love for all of us at Ocotillo Literary Endeavors. We work year round to ensure that the great legacy of this unique, long running festival continues on and does justice to all of the many legendary featured poets, participants and organizers who have been a part of it for the last three decades. It is our honor to continue this tradition, and your support is integral and sincerely appreciated.  We would like to thank you for considering contributing to our project, and with all kindness and gratitude look forward to updating you on its progress in the months to come.

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