Far from being the cruelest month, April here is glorious, with the desert in full bloom, temperatures ideal, and poetry in the air. We know of nearly two dozen readings this month—and those are just the ones involving ASU faculty, alumni, and students. We’re particularly excited about the readings by Pulitzer-prize winner Franz Wright, our Distinguished Visiting Writer in Residence Kevin McIlvoy, and this year’s Swarthout Prize winners, but there is something for just about everybody here at the Piper Center and in bookstores, libraries, and art galleries throughout the valley. Be sure to check our list of highlights on the Marginalia events calendar.
April also sees the end of this season’s Piper Writers Studio classes. After a hiatus, the Writers Studio has returned in fine form, with over 60 students taking 7 classes in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. We’ll be offering more classes in the fall; if there’s something in particular you’d like us to offer, just let us know. (And since so many people have been asking: yes, next March will see the return of our annual conference, Desert Nights, Rising Stars.)
T.S. Eliot didn’t live in Arizona; I’m not sure he even visited. But Robert Frost spent a few nights sleeping in the Piper Center (when it was the President’s Cottage), so in closing, and in celebration of Poetry Month, here’s Frost’s “A Prayer in Spring”:
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.
All the best,
Director of Creative Writing
Director, Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing