Poetry is an art form that transcends borders and languages and one which celebrates the human spirit and the common experiences of communication and culture. On April 23-26, Art That Heals, Inc., in conjunction with the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, South Texas College, El Zarape Press and the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center, hosted the 2009 Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival to commemorate National Poetry Month and to bring the art of poetry to the local community. The festival featured readings by 2008 Texas Poet Laureate Larry D. Thomas, Amalia Ortiz, La Feria native and star of HBO’s “Def Poetry” and Chicano muralist and poet Nephtalí De León, as well as more than 40 poets representing Texas, California, New Mexico, New York, and other parts of the U.S., Argentina, México, and London.
One of the only poetry festivals in the world with concurrent readings in two countries, the international festival kicked off with a variety of events across the Valley and northern Mexico, including a poetry slam for high school students and local poets held at STC’s Pecan Campus on April 24. About a hundred people came out to enjoy the poetry slam at the college, which also included readings by STC and University of Texas-Pan American faculty and students and a special performance by duo Pulse.
“We had a great turn out and we appreciate all of the participants who came out to help us celebrate the occasion through poetry and community,” said Kristina Wilson, who helped coordinate the event at STC. “It was inspiring to see the various groups come together to express themselves creatively and enjoy each other’s work, and this is what made the event such a huge success.”
For more information about the festival, visit www.vipf.org.