Posted in Poetry

AIPF 2015: A Recap in Snippets

Last weekend, poetry invaded the city of Austin in the form of the Austin International Poetry Festival. Austin’s a pretty poetic city on any day of the year, but during the four days of AIPF it’s hard to avoid poets in any bookstore, coffee shop, or meeting place in town. And why would you want to? We are a lovely species.

As usual, the festival was a whirlwind of readings, workshops, meet & greets, performances, traffic obstacles, minor mishaps, sleeplessness, and poetic inspiration. (And yes, it IS possible to find poetic inspiration even in traffic obstacles. Just don’t try to write the poems while driving, as that would surely create more obstacles.)

People have been asking me how the festival went, and I have answered each of them the same way: with incoherent babble. Unfortunately, it’s hard to put into words everything that happens during this unique four-day fest. I’ll start off talking about the impressive level of poetry in di-verse-city, the festival anthology. Then I’ll meander into an anecdote about what it was like listening to Anna Yin talk about how she tried to quit poetry but couldn’t do it. Next I’ll launch into an excited rant about meeting Nikki Giovanni (because– wow!) before explaining that I’m still really quite tired from staying up all night for the Midnight-to-Dawn poetry reading at Full English. See? Babble.

I think the reason why AIPF can’t be summed up is because it shouldn’t be summed up. It’s not a cohesive flow of information from one presentation to the next. It’s a scatter of happenings. It is a dandelion puff of poetry seeds breathed across the city. AIPF is not an “outline” or an “agenda,” it is a poem itself. There are so many events and opportunities in the program that I truly believe no two people experience the festival in the same way.

So, instead of a summary, here are a few snippets from my own AIPF 2015 experience. To find out what your AIPF experience would be, save the dates for next year’s festival—April 7-10, 2016.

I'm proud that my poem "Poetry Tumbles" made it into this year's anthology.
I’m proud that my poem “Poetry Tumbles” made it into this year’s anthology.
AIPF3
I was so excited to meet Nikki Giovanni. It was a real treat listening her speak and hearing the stories behind poems like “Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day” and “Ego-Tripping.”
The best thing about the festival is the people you meet. I had such a good time talking to Anne McCrady (www.inspiritry.com/) pictured here with Nikki Giovanni.
The best thing about the festival is the people you meet. I had such a good time talking to Anne McCrady (www.inspiritry.com) pictured here saying something very interesting to Nikki Giovanni.
Even the breaks at AIPF are inspirational. I read some of Nikki's poetry over lunch and coffee at Austin Java.
Even the breaks at AIPF are inspirational. I read some of Nikki’s poetry over lunch and coffee at Austin Java.
Photos from the Midnight-to-Dawn poetry reading at Full English.
Photos from the Midnight-to-Dawn poetry reading at Full English.
Me at the Midnight-to-Dawn Poetry Reading before I needed toothpicks to hold my eyelids open. This photo was taken by fellow poet Rie Sheridan Rose - www.riewriter.com
Me at the Midnight-to-Dawn event before I needed toothpicks to hold my eyelids open. This photo was taken by fellow poet Rie Sheridan Rose – http://www.riewriter.com
At the Nerd Read at Austin Books & Comics with the lovely and talented Rie Sheridan Rose, Joe Brundidge, Mike Whalen, and a poet whose name I did not catch.
The Nerd Read at Austin Books & Comics with the lovely and talented Rie Sheridan Rose, Joe Brundidge, Mike Whalen, and a poet whose name I did not catch. (That photo of me in the bottom right corner is another of Rie’s.)

A few more events that are not pictured but deserve to be mentioned:

* I didn’t take any pictures this year, but the youth anthology reading is another festival favorite for me. AIPF produces a second anthology composed of poems by kids ages four to eighteen. Listening to these amazing poets read their work always makes me smile.

* Also, all three workshops I attended were excellent.
– Anna Yin’s Poetry Alive presentation was wonderful. She posted a group photo of our class on her website.
Carolyn Adams’ Postcard Poems session combined two of the things I love most– snail mail and poetry. Thanks to her, I plan on participating in this year’s August Postcard Poetry Fest.
– When is the last time you found yourself wishing a workshop could be longer? That’s how I felt in “The New Face of Fairy Tales” with Pamela Laskin. I left her hour-long class with one complete poem draft and a lot of ideas for more.

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Interested in attending AIPF next year? Follow their Facebook page for news and updates. And feel free to ask me questions about it!

Posted in Life, Poetry, Reading, Writing

Upcoming Poetry Readings at AIPF

If you are in the Austin vicinity this weekend, you should come take part in the Austin International Poetry Festival!

The festival takes place this Thursday through Sunday (April 3-6). Along with workshops and events for the registered poets (like myself) there will also be a whole slew of poetry readings held all over the city, and you should attend one! (Or two, or ten.)

AIPF

Below is a comprehensive list of the City Reads, along with links and addresses to help you get there. It’s a veritable tour of Austin, so if you’re just visiting this weekend, there’s no better way to get to know the city than to go on a coffee-shop-crawl of poetry. There are also a few open mic events, so feel free to bring some of your own poems to share and add your voice to the festival.

In addition to attending AIPF, I am also very honored to be included in this year’s anthology, di-verse-city 2014. My poem, “Full Moon Year,” is in very good company among the work of some wonderful poets from Austin and beyond. The anthology will be on sale during the festival for $15. I’m not sure if all venues will have copies, but you should be able to pick one up at Strange Brew, which is AIPF headquarters this year (and also just a damn fine coffee shop and music venue).

What are you waiting for? Get out your calendar and start filling it up with poetry readings! Here’s the list. I hope to see you there!

[Note: I’ve highlighted the two readings I will be participating in and hope to attend several others as a listener.]

strange-brew-austin-coffee

AIPF City Reads 2014

Venues:

Schedule:

Thursday, April 3rd:

  • 12–2PM – Kick Butt Coffee
  • 1-3PM – Full English Café
  • 2-4PM – Kick Butt Coffee
  • 3-5PM – Strange Brew
  • 5-6PM – OPEN MIC – Strange Brew
  • 7-9PM – Di-verse-city Anthology Launch – Strange Brew (I’ll be reading at this one!)
  • 9:45-11PM – Erotica Read – Strange Brew (ADULTS ONLY, 18+)

Friday, April 4th:

  • 10AM-12PM – Kick Butt Coffee
  • 11:30AM-1PM – “Beauty in Languages” Read – Strange Brew
  • 1-3PM – Kick Butt Coffee
  • 1-5:30PM – (3 Reading in a row!) Strange Brew
  • 3-4:30PM – OPEN MIC – Kick Butt Coffee
  • 4-6:30PM – Full English Café
  • 4-6:30PM – Monkey Nest
  • 4-6:30PM – Kick Butt Coffee
  • 4:30-6:30PM – LGBT Read – BookWoman
  • 7-8:30PM – Dominican Joe
  • 8:30-10:30PM – Adult Poetry Slam – Kick Butt Coffee
  • 11PM-2AM – “Mad Macabre” Reading – Full English Café

Saturday, April 5th:

  • 1-3PM – Youth Poetry Slam – Alpha House
  • 11:45AM-1PM – Kick Butt Coffee
  • 12:15-1:30PM – Strange Brew
  • 1:45-3:15PM – Dominican Joe
  • 1:45-3:15PM – Strange Brew
  • 2:30-4PM – Kick Butt Coffee
  • 3-6PM – (2 Back-to-back readings!) – Barnes & Noble, Arboretum Location
  • 3:30-4:45PM – Strange Brew (I’ll be reading at this one. I think I go on first, so if you’d like to hear me read, get there on time!)
  • 5-8:30PM – (2 Back-to-back readings!) Strange Brew
  • 6:30-8:30PM – BookWoman
  • 6:30-8:30PM – Dominican Joe
  • 9-11PM – The BIG READ (All AIPF Featured Poets) – Strange Brew

Sunday, April 6th:

  • 12:45-3PM – Haiku Death Match – Kick Butt Coffee
  • 1-2PM – OPEN MIC – Huston-Tillotson University
  • 1-4PM – Diverse Youth Anthology Launch & Reading – St. Francis School (This is always a really fun event to attend. The readers are published poets aged five to eighteen.)
  • 3-4:45PM – Nerd Read – Austin Books & Comics
  • 3-6PM – Music & Poetry Read – Threadgill’s