Visual art, poetry and political speech will collide at Phoenix Art Museum First Friday event

Literary and visual arts will collide at The Phoenix Art Museum when two poets read their work on First Friday on Sept. 2 in a presentation co-sponsored by ASU's Superstition Review, an online literary magazine.

After a local poet opens the event, Danniel Schoonebeek and Solmaz Sharif will read from their poetry as a part of the University of Arizona Poetry Center Series at this collaborative event with Superstition Review.

This series is two of four readings that will happen throughout the year. Patricia Murphy, an ASU professor and the founder of Superstition Review, said the main goal is to get people to go to the event and to introduce them to the world of poetry.

“It’s so energizing for people who don’t understand the current literary scene, especially poetry,” Murphy said. “For somebody who doesn’t know any living poets this is a great way to get a better understanding of the field.”

Several different groups ranging from literary to visual arts groups will make an appearance at the event.

Christian Adame, assistant education director at The Phoenix Art Museum, said the museum hopes to garner foot traffic from the First Friday crowd. He also said the museum is excited to host the event, and that it gives the museum a chance to broaden its horizons through the variety of different art styles. 

Adame said he expects the audience to be a mix of literary experts and First Friday-goers.

“People may not think of the museum as a place for poetry, and that’s something we want to see,” he said. “I think exposure and diversity of audience is kind of what we’re hoping happens and that (people) keep coming back to the other readings.”

Schoonebeek, one of the visiting poets, said he’s most excited to be coming to a city he has never visited and to share his work alongside Sharif.

“I’m really grateful and continually in awe of the fact that I get to travel around and read poems that I have written to people, and people want to talk about it,” he said.

Schoonebeek was rewarded with the Ruth Lily and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and his second book won the 2015 National Poetry Series. He said he is looking forward to reading from his book of poetry and seeing the different crowds that will be appearing at the event.

“I think when you’re mingling visual arts crowds with crowds who go to literary events, there’s something special and different in the room,” Schoonebeek said. “To fill the space as large as a museum with poets reading their work is always important.”

Reading alongside Schoonebeek will be Sharif, who won a Boston Review Poetry Prize and has participated in multiple fellowships.

Schoonebeek said their work examines political issues going on in today's society.

"I'm excited to be paired with (Sharif) because I think our work pushes some political buttons," he said. "I think that in political ways it's good to have poets standing up and speaking, using language to deconstruct what's happening politically in the country."

The event is free and there will be a Q & A with the poets after the reading. The museum is also one of five stops in Artlink Phoenix’s First Friday Trolley hubs. First Friday attendees are encouraged to park, then ride the trolley to explore what downtown Phoenix has to offer.

Reach the reporter at or follow her on Twitter @akmyers2asu

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