Matthew Conley (left) executive director of the Tucson Poetry Festival and Ander Monson a poet, novelist and teacher talk about the 30th anniversary of the festival.

The Tucson Poetry Festival, one of the oldest poetry festivals in the country, celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend.

The festival highlights readings of poems and poetry workshops led by local poets, and this year's festival will also include local high school poetry contest winners reading their poems.

"All the events are free," says Matthew Conley, the festival's executive director. "We're going to be having featured readings, each night is going to feature a reading also from one of our contest winners, and then we will also feature a round or two of the poetry slam championship for the city of Tucson."

Ander Monson, a poet, teacher and novelist, tells Arizona Illustrated that the festival and UA are lucky to be able to work together on an event like this one.

"We're lucky in the creative writing program to be connected to the poetry center," says Monson. The UA Poetry Center is ranked one of the top three in the nation.

The festival begins Friday, April 6 at 7 p.m. in the Geronimo Plaza located at 820 Main Gate Square. It will continue all day Saturday, April 7, starting at the University of Arizona's Poetry Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and picking up once again at Geronimo Plaza at 7 p.m.