“…Like amnesiacs in a ward on fire, we must find words or burn.”

—Olga Broumas


Kore Press was founded in 1993 by the creative efforts of book designer Lisa Bowden and poet Karen

Falkenstrom. Kore’s vision has been to publish and distribute excellent works of literary and artistic value by a diversity of women, including those traditionally underrepresented in the cultural mainstream; to promote those voices; and to educate young people about publishing and literary activism.


Kore Press is honored to host the first ever Big Read project in Tucson this fall. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with Arts Midwest. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment. It provides citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities.


Kore, among 76 other organizations nationally, received the highly competitive grant to develop an innovate series of programs to encourage people to pick up a book. Kore chose to celebrate the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and bring her prolific work and inspiring life’s story to our community in active and meaningful ways.


This project is literary activism at its most local and national.




Partners Involved:


Casa Libre en la Solana supports and enhances the creativity of professional and novice writers by providing uninterrupted time for work through residency programs and by providing a venue for classes, readings, and other professional development opportunities.


NEW ART is a modern dance company founded in 1997. We’re committed to making modern dance more visible, accessible, and useful and to providing experiential opportunities for local dancers and choreographers and audiences. We engage the public by taking on important community issues like same-sex marriage, the food system, downtown revitalization, and water, and making them “move” in high-quality performances in theaters and unexpected public places (like parking garages!). We frequently collaborate with other organizations, artists, musicians, and activists.


Owl & Panther is a unique group designed to help refugee families affected by trauma through expressive arts. They ease refugees’ transition into life in the United States through diverse programming, with an emphasis on self-empowerment through poetry, art, drama, and music. They are sponsored by The Hopi Foundation and in addition to KORE Press’ Big Read, has worked in the last two years with the University of Arizona Poetry Center,  Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson Museum of Art, Borderlands Theater, Sierra Club Inner City Outings, United Way and Pima County Public Library, Catalina Magnet High School Finding Voice Project and International Rescue Committee (IRC).


Stories that Soar! is a literacy and arts program which merges professional adult performers with children’s original stories. By transforming words and ideas into high quality artistic expression, Stories that Soar! inspires creativity, promotes active literacy and builds engaged schools and communities.


Word Journeys is an artistic and literary after-school program for underserved youth from a racially diverse and socio-economically challenged Tucson neighborhood. Author Marge Pellegrino facilitates the program’s creative workshops that employ high school mentors to work with elementary students. Ms. Pellegrino has collaborated with The Hopi Foundation and IRC to reach out to include some of the neighborhood’s newest refugee members. Word Journeys was honored with a Coming Up Taller Award for excellence in after school programming at the White House in 2008.


9 Queens is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to extending the benefits of chess to under-served and under-represented populations. They offer free chess education programs specifically designed to promote critical thinking skills, academic performance, and self-confidence. Through chess, they motivate, empower and engage women and at-risk youth to realize their potential and achieve academic and personal success.


Tucson’s oldest existing high school, Tucson High Magnet School (THS) exists to provide high quality instruction in all curricular areas; foster understanding of the world through the arts, sciences, mathematics and humanities; and develop good citizens so that students demonstrate academic and intercultural proficiency as well as career preparedness.  Tucson High Magnet School is a learning community in which student success is the priority of all endeavors.


The Tucson Youth Poetry Slam (TYPS) is a youth-led program Ocotillo Literary Endeavors, which for many years has been the sponsor of the regular Ocotillo Poetry Slam and is also the non-profit organization which organizes the annual Tucson Poetry Festival. Coordinated by poet Logan Phillips, the program kicked off in fall of 2011 and has a regular attendance of over 100.



Artists, Scholars, and Performers Involved


Susan Hardy Aiken, University Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Arizona, has won numerous teaching awards and honors for her courses on nineteenth-century British and American literature, women and literature, gender theory, and poetry. An internationally recognized scholar, she is the author of Isak Dinesen and the Engendering of Narrative (University of Chicago Press), co-author of Dialogues/Dialogi: Literary and Cultural Exchanges Between (Ex)Soviet and American Women (Duke University Press), and co-editor of Changing Our Minds: Feminist Transformations of Knowledge (SUNY Press) and Making Worlds: Gender, Metaphor, Materiality (U. of Arizona Press). Her work has received support from the  Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. In 2006 she was honored as one of the “Feminists Who Changed America.”


Elizabeth Rollins (Frankie) has previously published in Conjunctions, Drunken Boat, Green Mountains Review, The New England Review, Trickhouse, Tarpaulin Sky, and elsewhere.  She is the author of The Sin Eater, Corvid Press, 2004.  She received a 2003 NJ Prose Fellowship, and a Special Mention in the 2007 Pushcart Prize Anthology.  Her novel, Origin, is available in installments: http://www.madamekaramazov.com/origin. She teaches writing at the University of Arizona and Pima Community College, and is on the board of Casa Libre en la Solana.



Tucson-based multi-instrumentalist Vicki Brown is a sound sculptress of compositions created with acoustic (violin, viola, vox) and electronic instruments (loopers & other sound modifiers). Playing since she was 9, Vicki’s stylings range far and wide. Her improvisational/experimental organic creations reveal ethereal cinematic moods that evoke imagery suitable for one’s life soundtrack. Her work is captured on “Winter Garden” (KEEP Recordings).


Barbara Seyda began painting when she was five and sewing at age nine.  A freelance photographer, fashion/costume designer and writer, she has worked as assistant photo editor for ELLE magazine and for Stewart, Tabori & Chang.  She is the author of Nomads of a Desert City:  Personal Stories from Citizens of the Street and Women in Love:  Portraits of Lesbian Mothers & Their Families. Last summer, she was a costume/wardrobe technician for the Utah Shakespeare Festival and currently, she is collaborating with Ojeya Cruz Banks, professor of Dance and Anthropology at the University of Otago, New Zealand.


Valerie Galloway is a photographer and painter, based out of Tucson. She received her BFA from the University of Arizona. Cinema and old family photos inform her work. She often tones images with coffee, colors them with other inks and pigments to achieve a vintage, timeless feeling. Her work has been exhibited and published widely, including American Photographer and Photographer’s Forum. She also designs book covers for Kore Press.


Andrea Burk has been involved in implementing community-based art projects in unconventional circumstances for a real long time, and is currently a graduate student in Community and Museum Education in Art and Visual Culture at the University of Arizona. She likes living in downtown Tucson with Drew, Trillian, cats, chickens, and cases of movable type.


Drew Burk likes to be useful. He lives in Tucson.


Ann Dernier is co-founder of Poets’ Studio, a workshop series for writers, as well as a juried artist on the Arizona Commission on the Arts Teaching Artist Roster. She serves on the editorial team for Koré Press and is a guest poet for the Grrls Literary Activism Series. She is editor of Writing Out of the Darkness, an anthology of poetry by torture survivors and their families. Her work appears in local and national publications including Autumnal: A Collection of Elegies (audio collection available at Koré Press), Three Penny Review, Red Poppy Review and an upcoming collection, Tucson in the Aftermath: Prose, Politics & Hope, in honor of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. She received a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.


Heather Green is an artist and educator whose projects and installations examine the communal and ecological narratives of the Northern Sea of Cortez. She is a recipient of the 2011 Arizona Commission on the Arts Artist Project Grant, the 2010 Community Foundation of Southern Arizona/Buffalo Exchange Arts Award and the Oregon College of Art & Craft Emerging Artist Residency. She earned both her BFA and MFA from the University of Arizona, where she is currently an Adjunct Instructor in addition to Pima Community College.


A poet and art critic/historian, Eva Heisler presently lives in Germany where she teaches for the European Division of University of Maryland University College.  Her poems have been widely published in journals such as Crazyhorse, The Gettysburg Review, The Indiana Review, The Nation, and Poetry Northwest.   Honors include The Nation’s “Discovery” Award and the Poetry Society of America’s Emily Dickinson Award.  A Fulbright grant brought her to Iceland in 1997 where she lived for nine years, researching and writing on Icelandic art as well as drafting many of the poems in Reading Emily Dickinson in Icelandic, forthcoming from Kore Press.  Since 2006, she has served on a research team preparing a five-volume history of Icelandic art to be published by the National Gallery of Iceland. She is a regular contributor to the Atlanta-based international art magazine Art Papers. 


Visual artist Barbara Penn uses literary, poetic and everyday sources in paintings, drawings, and combined media installations that she merges with personal and socio/political themes. She and her work have traveled both nationally and internationally through fellowships, artist residencies, and solo and group exhibitions. In July 2011, Penn was invited to Sweden to exhibit at Rattviks Konstall and Galleri Se Konst and as artist-in-residence, making work on site at the Orsa Print Workshop. She was moderator and panelist at the Arizona International Film Festival, Tucson, AZ (2008) and received an Arizona Commission on the Arts Grant (2006). Penn is currently Professor of Studio Art teaching in the School of Art since 1991 at the University of Arizona, Tucson.


Samantha Neville is a sophomore at Tucson High Magnet School. Part Mexican and part Anglo, she identifies with the diverse community of Tucson. Some of her favorite pastimes are reading and writing both poetry and prose, playing the piano, and dancing. Literature has been a subject of interest for her since she was little, and consequently she has spent many hours in the Tucson High library.


Charles Alexander is the Executive Director of Chax Press. His books of poetry include Hopeful Buildings (Chax Press), Arc of Light / Dark Matter (Segue Books), Near or Random Acts (Singing Horse Press), Certain Slants (Junction Press), and nine chapbooks from various presses. He attended Stanford University as an undergraduate, and later obtained a graduate degree in Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he also studied hand bookmaking with the renowned book artist Walter Hamady. Alexander has been designing and printing handmade book arts works for almost 30 years. He was formerly the director of Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and he edited the book Talking the Boundless Book: Language and the Book Arts (MCBA). In summer 2007 he was a participant in the TAMAAS poetry translation atelier in Paris. He teaches periodically at the University of Arizona Poetry Center, and at Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program. He is the recipient of the distinguished Arizona Artist Award, given to one artist annually. In September 2011 his long serial poem, Pushing Water, is being published by Cuneiform Press. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Literature at the University of Arizona South, and he is at work on a prose book about the pleasures of poetry.  He is married to the visual artist Cynthia Miller.