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Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | Last updated: 2:36pm

UA Poetry Center to welcome new director



Starting in the fall, the UA Poetry Center will have a new executive director for the first time in 11 years.

Tyler Meier, appointed last month, said he has plans to continue the growth of the Poetry Center when he begins his position on Aug. 5.

“He is a very genuine, very friendly and knowledgeable person with a great background in literary and arts,” said Mary Wildner-Bassett, dean of the UA College of Humanities.

Wildner-Bassett said she believes Meier is well-qualified to continue the work of the center’s previous executive director, Gail Browne.

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During her time, Browne turned the Poetry Center into one of the top poetry organizations in the nation and put the center on the international stage, according to Wildner-Bassett.

“She built the Poetry Center into a completely new place, literally, with a new building that she was the leading fundraiser, director and administrator for that big project,”
Wildner-Bassett said. “Since then, they have also grown programs and made a much bigger impact. I’d say they’re well known, the top three organizations … in the whole country and internationally known.”

Meier praised Browne’s work with the Poetry Center and said he looks forward to finding ways to build on the national profile she started.

Meier said he also plans to utilize the city of Tucson’s interest in literature, as well as start new writing programs within the Poetry Center.

“Tucson is a city that cares about writing and I’m looking forward to being a part of the Tucson literary community,” Meier said.

Before arriving in Tucson, Meier served as the managing editor for “The Kenyon Review.” His interest in poetry came after taking a creative writing course called “Contemporary American Poetry” during his time as an undergraduate at Kenyon College.

“It was an eye-opener to contemporary poetry and sparked an interest in reading and poetry which turned into a lifelong pursuit,” Meier said.

Wendy Burk, a librarian for the Poetry Center, said Meier was a great listener, who showed obvious enthusiasm for the Poetry Center and its programs, the UA and for Tucson.

“I think he’s going to be a great fit,” Burk said. “He seems really and deeply enthusiastic about Tucson, about the Poetry Center and about the work we’ll all do together as a team. And we the staff echo that enthusiasm.”

Meier said he is excited to work with staff, donors and volunteers and to think broadly about moving forward.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity,” Meier said, “because of the pieces that are in place, the staff and a thriving community.”


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