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In 1996, The Academy of American Poets initiated the first “National Poetry Month”, and the United States has celebrated poetry every April since.

According to National Today, “National Poetry Month, April, is a marvelous opportunity to celebrate the expressiveness, delight, and pure charm of poetry. It is a special occasion that reminds us of the integral role of poets and poetry in our cultures. Poetry helps us appreciate the world around us and empathize with one another. Typically, we think of poetry as boring and nerdy but this month allows us to change our perspectives and look upon poetry as a rhythmic art of expressing one’s love and thoughts.”

Poetry is a beloved and respected art-form here in San Antonio. In fact, San Antonio was the first major Texas city to appoint a Poet Laureate. In 2012, Dr. Carmen Tafolla was appointed as San Antonio’s first Poet Laureate by former Mayor Julian Castro. After serving a three-year term, she was succeeded by Laurie Ann Guerrero (2014 - 2016), Jenny Browne (2016 - 2018), Dr. Octavio Quintanilla (2018 - 2020) and Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, who serves now as our Poet Laureate, until 2023. 

“Vocab” is a poet, singer, and hip-hop artist who performs throughout San Antonio and who has played an active role in promoting and providing resources and platforms for other performing artists in the city.

Falling in April, National Poetry Month competes with Fiesta each year in San Antonio. But now that our 2022 Fiesta celebration is over, you can turn your attention to some yet-to-come poetry events in the city. Here are a few that are coming up:

A Special Reading with Clemonce Heard: Blue Star Contemporary and Sala Diaz present artist and poet Clemonce Heard at a special event that will feature his latest poetry collection Tragic City, which focuses on the 1921 Tulsa Race massacre.  This event will take place on Friday, April 15th at The Spire at St. Paul Square. You can read more about it here.

Jazz Poetry Week on KRTU 7 the Jazz Break at Noon: Tune in to from noon to 1 PM every day the week of April 18th for live poetry readings and jazz presented by guest Jim Lavilla Havelin and KRTU host Kory Cook. Learn more about this event here.

The Big Texas Read: On Wednesday, April 20th, Gemini Ink welcomes poet Jenny Browne (San Antonio Poet Laurete 2016 - 2018) who will read and moderate discussion of Barbara Ras's The Blues of Heaven, a collection of poems that explore "memories, yearning, risk, and loss. She revels in inversions, startling images, curious facts, provocative settings, and unexpected juxtapositions." Read more about this online event here.

Mega Corazón 2022:  Once again, URBAN-15 steps up to the plate for National Poetry Month and offers its annual 'spoken-word marathon' featuring San Antonio's premiere poets. "Celebrating a hybrid San Antonio poetic tradition that combines street, classical, and slam performance styles, Mega Corazón is frontal, improvisational, at times painful, and often choreographed for a highly visual impact..." Tune in on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for 'Poetry for Young Adults' and on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays for 'Performance Poetry Marathon' (offered every day in the month of April). You can read more aboout Mega Corarón 2022 here.

The Mouth Dakota Poetry Project:  Head over to The Dakota East Side Ice House on any Sunday for 'open Mic poetry' hosted by Eddie V. Visit the project's Facebook page for more information.

Ekphrastic Poetry Contest:  "Ekphrasis is the response in literary form to a work of visual art..." Several San Antonio museums participated in this year's contest, including The Briscoe, the McNay, SAMA, The Witte, and Ruby City. Take a look at the winning poems and all of the submissions on the websites of Arts Alive San Antonio, and Gemini Ink.

3rd Thursday Poetry Workshop: Voices de La Luna invites you to this free workshop (on Thursday, April 21st) in which you will read and write poetry about man, war and the heroes of Ukraine. Learn more about this virtual event hosted by Dr. Mo H Saidi here.

Writers Take a Walk Workshop:  The San Antonio River Authority invites poets, writers and journalists to take a walk at San Pedro Creek Culture Park to explore art and nature, followed by a poem writing workshop at Casa Navarro State Historic Site. This event, hosted by Don Mathis, will take place on Saturday, April 23rd. Read more about it here.

Anthony the Poet: "A three-time San Antonio Grand Slam Poetry Champion, Anthony has represented our city in competition on six different occasions at the National Poetry Slam. Come listen to the founder of The University Of The Spoken Word, a collective of spoken word artists that has performed at some of the city's most high-profile cultural events." Click here for more information on this free event taking place at the Central Library on Saturday, April 23rd.

Poetry Circle: "Join us for an opportunity to share your poetry with others in honor of National Poetry Month. Bring at least one poem you would like to share and become part of our poetry group reading circle in which we will take turns reading poems... Those who wish to merely come and listen are also welcome." This event will take place on Tuesday, April 26 at the Central Library. You can read more about it here.

Jane Gennarelli is co-editor of LNF Weekly. She also edits the Lavaca & Friends weekly arts and entertainment newsletter.

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