“Like an electrical charge, I want to amplify the astonishment of one who stands on the thin line drawn between ‘before’ and ‘after.'”

Lois Roma-Deeley is a recipient of a 2016 Artist Research & Development Grant.

Artist Research and Development Grants are designed to support the advancement of artistic research, aid in the development of artistic work and recognize the contributions individual artists make to Arizona’s communities. For more information about the Artist Research & Development Grant, click here.

Using the Arizona landscape as metaphor, theme and setting, Lois Roma-Deeley will write a book-length series of linked narrative poems titled Voices from the Desert: Witnesses and Outsiders—personas who bear witness and yet feel marginalized. These personas include a witness to the events around the Tucson shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords; an “outsider” so intent on crossing the desert that death by dehydration is a risk worth taking; and an unemployed person looking for work in the dead of an Arizona summer. Using the Arizona desert as a literal and figurative setting, the “witnesses and outsiders” must redefine, confront, destroy or create their view of themselves and their world.

According to Roma-Deeley, the intention of this project is to challenge the perception of poetry as a mere cultural ornament by highlighting, exploring and articulating contemporary events and issues in order to bring about civil dialogue and, as importantly, to create awareness about how poetry can have a positive effect on how we live, believe and behave.

Lois Roma-Deeley is the author of three books of poetry: Rules of Hunger, northSight and High Notes–a Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist. She has published poems in numerous anthologies, including Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on the Politics of Identity Anthology; Villanelles (Everyman’s Library, Pocket Poets Series); Love Rise Up; New Hungers for Old: One-Hundred Years of Italian-American Poetry; The American Voice in Poetry: The Legacy of Whitman, Williams, and Ginsberg; American Book Award winner Looking For Home; and others.

Further, her work has been featured in numerous literary journals, including The Transnational, Spillway, Superstition Review, Water~Stone, Bellingham Review, and many others.

Roma-Deeley has taught creative writing at the graduate and undergraduate levels for more than 25 years. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. from the Union Institute and University. In 2012, Lois Roma-Deeley was named the U.S. Professor of the Year, Community College, by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

You can learn more about Lois Roma-Deeley and her work at www.loisroma-deeley.com.