While most of the United States celebrates National Poetry Month in April, San Antonio started in March and continues into May.
The Twig Book Shop kicked things off on March 15 with a reading by Syrian poet Lahab Assef Al-Jundi to promote his book, “No Faith at All.” The event was made more special with music by Rick Henderson on sarode and George Prado on upright bass. On March 19, James Lavilla-Havelin and Amanda Flores wowed the crowd at Bihl Haus Arts. Their students, the Goldens, read poetry as well.
James Lavilla-Havelin has created another local calendar for poetry month titled National Poetry Month in San Antonio (NPMSA) and even if you are not a poet – or think you don’t care for poetry – this festival of the spoken and written word has something for everyone. Check out the calendar and visit some events in your area. And try to check out these venues to get an idea of the inhabitants of our poetry community. See www.npmsa.com for times and addresses.
Poet Laureate for 2012-2014 Carmen Tafolla presented her final performance, “San Antonio, Mi Pueblo,” on March 29 at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Theater. This theatrical performance combined words by her and others with music by George Cisneros in a celebration of all that is our city.
The investiture ceremony for the new Poet Laureate on April 1 in the Council Chambers was a moving experience for all concerned. The new laureate, Laurie Ann Guerrero, awakened emotions in everyone. Catch Melanie Robinson’s article, San Antonio’s New Poet Laureate: A Southside Writer Who ‘Works With Her Hands,’ here.
The Book Fair on April 5 was part of the poetry calendar this year. Read Robert Rivard’s review of this year’s festival.
Also on April 5, Betsey Garland of Celebration Circle helped organize “Voices, Vibes, & Vision,” at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
“The purpose of this reading was to foster public awareness of the vital role that poetry plays in building multi-cultural understanding,” Betsey said.
John Phillip Santos, author of “Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation“; Amanda Flores, Puro Slam Poetry champ; Lahab Assef Al-Jundi, Sheila Black, director of Gemini Ink and others helped make the event a successful one.
For the best in local talent, attend one of the competitions for La Voz de San Antonio poetry competition. Or better yet, recite one of your own. Watch or compete on April 10 at the Carver Community Cultural Center or April 17 at the McNay Art Museum. The best of the best will compete May 3 at Say Sí. Viktoria Valenzuela is emcee again this year while Anthony M. Flores a.k.a. “Anthony the Poet,” Carmen Tafolla, and others will serve as judges.
Jazz and poetry fans can tune into KRTU 91.7 FM radio beginning the week of April 7. Catherine “Jazz Cat” Lee will celebrate National Poetry Month and Jazz Appreciation Month with KRTU’s Kory Cook, host of the Jazz Break, and Jim LaVilla-Havelin, coordinator of National Poetry Month. Tune in for a free-wheeling week of live radio and don’t miss the April 9 premiere of “Poetricity” co-hosted by Cat and Val “Black Butterfly” Thibodeaux.
Poetry aficionados must check out the scene at 2nd Verse, “sophisticated and soulful spoken word poetry.” According to their website www.2ndverse.net, the open mic vast voted “Best Open Mic in America” by the National Poetry Awards. Find it at Simply the Best Catering on April 11. Lahab Assef Al-Jundi will present a reading and discussion that same night at Hausmann Millworks.
Help search for the missing muse as “Writers Take a Walk” at the Landa Library on April 12. Bring a pen and paper and prepare to be inspired by this historic Monte Vista home and surrounding gardens. Your humble scribe (the author of this article) will host this event. The Rivard Report may publish the resulting work as they did from the 2014 MLK March, a trip to the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, and Bat Loco.
Hot dates to mark on your calendar include April 12 as Gallista Gallery celebrates National Poetry Month. Fortunate guests can hope to catch Anthony the Poet perform “Huevos Rancheros” and his daughter, Amanda Flores, pay homage to “Manu Ginóbili.”
On April 19, the Playhouse Tribe will present “Poetry in the Park” at several locations. Be sure to mark April 22 as the date to meet the new Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero at the Central Library. Poetry and nature lovers can circle May 4 for “Words for Birds” at Mitchell Lake.
There are many more poetry events to attend in the upcoming weeks. Sun Poet’s Society hosts an open mic every Tuesday and a writer’s workshop on the second Thursday at the San Pedro Crossing Barnes & Noble.
There are dozens of other literary events coming soon in San Antonio. Find one in your neighborhood at www.npmsa.com.
And write on.
*Featured/top image: Anthony M. Flores a.k.a. “Anthony the Poet.” Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons of the 1005 Faces project.