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June 19, 2006

Hitchcock Poetry Fund awards 2006-07 grants

By Scott Rappaport

UCSC's Kinetic Poetics Project, a student poetry collective, has been awarded $6,000 from the Porter College Hitchcock Poetry Fund for the 2006-07 academic year.

Photo of broadside
This broadside is included in the first issue of Viz., made from a poem and painting by George Hitchcock.

The funds will be coordinated by the group's faculty sponsor Alma Martinez, associate professor of theater arts. The Kinetic Poetics Project is one of seven groups and individuals who will receive grants next year totaling $20,000 for poetry-related projects.

The Kinetic Poetics Project was founded in 2002 with seed money from the Hitchcock Fund. The organization sponsored the first Slam Poetry Competition at UCSC as well as the university's first-ever slam poetry team, which won first place in the 2004 National Slam Poetry Competition, in St. Louis.

Porter creative writing lecturer emeritus George Hitchcock set up an endowment in 2002 to support poetry and related activities at Porter College and has since contributed annual grants of $20,000. Over the past four years, the Hitchcock Fund has sponsored nationally visible poetry conferences at UCSC, supported the launch of a significant new poetry and inter-arts journal edited by UCSC lecturer Roxanne Hamilton and her students, and underwritten numerous slams, readings, residencies, musical performances, and works of visual art related to contemporary poetry.

According to Porter Provost David Evan Jones, "George Hitchcock single-handedly galvanized interest and activity in contemporary poetry in all forms and in all media at UCSC. The momentum just keeps growing."

Other 2006-07 grants include $3,250 for writing lecturer Roxannne Hamilton to support the second issue of Viz. Inter-arts--a national literary arts publication featuring cross-genre, collaborative, and experimental work. The first issue of Viz. (June 2006) is in a large, arty format of more than 200 pages and includes an envelope of large color broadsides. The issue features the work of more than 90 contributors, including major writers and artists such as Jane Hirschfield, Michael McClure, Ray Manzarek, Kenneth Koch, Carl Rakosi, Anne Waldman, Leslie Scalapino, Jerome Rothenberg, and Eileen Myles.

Micah Perks, associate literature/creative writing professor and Kresge College provost, and Karen Yamashita, associate literature/creative writing professor, additionally received $3,000 for the Living Writers Reading Series to bring poets into UCSC classes. They also received $1,750 to support the position of a Creative Writing Program coordinator.

Other faculty members who received grants include humanities lecturer Gary Young, who was awarded $5,000 to provide 25 visits to UCSC courses in creative writing and other subjects by poets scheduled to read in the Poetry Santa Cruz Reading Series. In addition, $1,000 went to music composition graduate student Joel Ford, a student of Porter provost and music professor David Evan Jones, in support of a stage performance of Ford's jazz opera Cannabis Cantata.

The Hitchcock Poetry Fund accepts proposals from all UCSC faculty, and student groups with faculty sponsors, for projects related to modern and contemporary poetry. For more information, visit the Porter College web site.

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