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Mon, Aug. 19

Literary Southwest explores intersection of fiction, poetry, memoir, jazz on Friday



The Literary Southwest brings two multi-genre, award-winning writers to the Yavapai College Prescott campus on Friday: Benjamin Alire Saenz, a lyrical chronicler of the borderlands of the Southwest, and Al Young, whose poetry and prose is infused with the rhythms of jazz and blues.

The program begins at 7 p.m. in the Yavapai College Library's Susan N. Webb Community Room (Building 19, Room 147). An audience question-and-answer session and book signing follow the reading. All Literary Southwest programs are free and open to the public.

A poet, novelist, artist and former priest, Sáenz won an American Book Award in 1992 for his first book of poems, "Calendar of Dust," and his career has flourished ever since. He has to his credit short stories, books of poems and novels. He is currently writing a new book of poems, "Night Disappearing into a Patient Sky," inspired by a series of mixed media paintings he is working on.

Following in the tradition of his two highly praised young adult novels, "Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood" and "He Forgot to Say Goodbye," Saenz's latest novel for young adults, "Last Night I Sang to the Monster," continues exploring the lives of men in difficult circumstances.

In this novel he writes, "I want to gather up all the words in the world and write them down on little pieces of paper - then throw them in the air. They would look like tiny sparrows flying toward the sun. Without all those words, the sky would be clear and perfect and blue. The deafening world would be beautiful in all that silence."

Saenz lives, writes, loves, hates and breathes on the U.S./Mexico border, as well as continues to teach at the University of Texas, El Paso, where he is department chair and professor of creative writing.

Young, a resident of Palo Also, Calif., served as that state's poet laureate from 2005-2008, and his writing career has won him many honors. His more than 20 books include novels, essays, anthologies and musical memoirs. He has also written film scripts for Joseph Strick, Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.

Perhaps best known for his widely anthologized and translated poetry, Young's most recent collection includes "Coastal Nights and Inland Afternoons: Poems 2001-2006."

In that work, he writes, "What thunders down through time feels nothing like a horse, not even one with wings. What runs through time is us and us and us and us; there never was, nor is there now, an other."

For complete author and series information, visit: contact series Director Jim Natal, through the Yavapai College Communications Division at 928-776-2276, or via email at:


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