Poetry posters on display in Arizona

By Harriet Staff

Arizona Public Media features a video interview with Richard Shelton who, as director of  the University of Arizona Poetry Center  introduced the practice of commissioning original posters for each visiting poet in the early 1960s.

“We were bringing in nationally known poets but we were having a hard time getting people to attend,” he says.

Shelton says it was his idea to replace the simple typed announcements with ones created by UofA Students in the commercial design classes. Shelton says each of the posters was a unique artistic expression, and helped to cultivate an audience for the many readings. The practice continued through the 70’s, long after Shelton's tenure as director.

The posters are on display in a new exhibition at the Poetry Center. "Shelton says the iconic printed posters reflect the culture and the mood of the early readings they promoted, reflecting a unique marriage of two dynamic art forms."