This is the first in a monthly series of columns about ways to get involved in The Big Read. Look for next month’s column on Oct. 11.
Literacy Connects is excited to be the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read grant. The NEA, in partnership with Arts Midwest, created The Big Read to support organizations across the country in developing community-wide reading programs that engage diverse audiences. As part of The Big Read, Tucson will be exploring and celebrating Edgar Allan Poe and his work.
Big Read Connects Tucson starts this month and runs through May. We are collaborating with more 40 organizations to offer an exciting array of Poe-related activities all over town.
Businesses, restaurants, museums, media groups, book stores, art galleries, schools, theaters, and more are all joining in to create programming around Edgar Allan Poe.
You can learn more about our events, and a lot more about Poe on our website bigreadconnectstucson.org
Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for weekly updates and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for exciting Poe-related stories.
Paul Hurh, an associate professor at the University of Arizona, starts the months-long schedule of events with a keynote presentation at the UA Poetry Center at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24.
Hurh, whose research and teaching is primarily in the field of 19th century American literature, will speak on “The Raven and the Tomahawk: Poe, Poetry, and the Rise of Popular Criticism.” This is sure to be an engrossing presentation as professor Hurh sets the stage for Big Read Connects Tucson.
The University of Arizona Poetry Center is 1508 E. Helen St.
Streaming POEtry on the Sunlink Streetcar
Have you taken a close look at the streetcar stops lately? In honor of Edgar Allan Poe and Big Read Connects Tucson, the Sun Link Streetcar will be streaming Poe’s “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee” at select stops along the streetcar route.
There are 23 stops along the streetcar route, 10 of which contain special LED panels that stream poetry curated by The UA Poetry Center. These panels will be streaming the two Edgar Allan Poe classics through the month of September.
Take a Selfie with Poe
Local artist Joe Pagac has painted a mural featuring Edgar Allan Poe in the UA Poetry Center’s Children’s Area. Pagac, who has was recently nominated for a 2015 Lumie Award for Best Artist from Tucson Pima Arts Council, painted Poe with a black cat sitting on his shoulder in honor of Poe’s beloved cat who sometimes sat on his shoulder while he wrote.
The Poetry Center and Big Read Connects Tucson invite you to come by and take a picture of yourself in from of the mural.
For the duration of this installation, come and take a selfie and post it to your favorite social media platform using the hashtag #HeadToPoe.
“POEfound” Book Project
Big Read Connects Tucson wants everyone to read Poe. What better way to do that than to give away free books?
Introducing the “POEfound” Book Project. Throughout the program we will be leaving Poe anthologies (and a few surprises) at various places around town for you to find through April. Coffee shops, park benches and theater chairs throughout Southern Arizona are all fair game, so keep your eyes open.
What’s the catch? All we ask is that you read your POEfound book and share with us where and when you found it, and anything else that you would like on our Big Read Connects Tucson Facebook page. On the inside front cover of each of these books you will find a sticker with some guidance on how to connect with us. Play along and have fun.