The public is invited to the 12th Annual Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival (VIPF) from Thursday, Apr. 25 to Sunday, Apr. 28 in various locations in and around McAllen. The festival will include readings, writing workshops, musical performances, and visual art displays as well as academic talks and a visit to the cemetery/resting place of internationally-renown poet/scholar, Gloria E. Anzaldúa.
VIPF kicks off at a public reception from 7 to 9 p.m. at the McAllen Creative Incubator (601 N. Main St.) and the release of Boundless, the festival’s anthology, with entries by poets from Scotland, England, Ireland, India, the U.S., and Mexico. The anthology also includes a youth section of poetry by young poets from across the Rio Grande Valley. Copies of the anthology and festival merchandise will be available for purchase while supplies last. Some of the anthologized poets will read from their work and the community will have the chance to meet some of the registered and featured poets as well as see artwork displayed by Featured Artist Mario Godinez, from Oaxaca, now living in Harlingen.
On Friday, students across Valley high schools will host poets in their school libraries and classrooms.
Evening Friday events will culminate at Brick Fire Pizza (704 E. Griffin Pkwy.) in Mission from 7 to 10 p.m. with the annual poetry slam—a lighthearted, loosely juried poetry recitation contest that recruits judges from the unsuspecting crowd. The slam, which will be prequeled by a youth poetry slam contest (free and open to all Valley youth), readings by UTRGV students and faculty, performances by Featured Poets Jo Reyes-Boitel and Edna Ochoa, and a musical performance by Featured Musician Tina Marie, of Harlingen.
Saturday is a full day of poetry, with workshops in the morning, readings in the afternoon, and the Poetry Pachanga in the evening. The Poetry Pachanga will be open to the public at 7 to 10 p.m. at the McAllen Creative Incubator; however, it will be preceded by a private dinner for the registered poets and paid guests.
Saturday morning workshops will be held concurrently at the McAllen Creative Incubator and at the UTRGV McAllen Teaching Site (1800 S. Main St., Suite 1100—Room 1.103).
This year, VIPF is partnering with the UTRGV’s Center for Mexican American Studies to present El Retorno: El Valle Celebra Nuestra Gloria at 3 p.m. at the McAllen Teaching Site. El Retorno is an annual CMAS event that honors one of the Rio Grande Valley’s most significant writers and theorists, Dr. Gloria E. Anzaldúa (1942-2004), author of “Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza” and many other works of international acclaim, including her co-edited anthology, with Cherríe Moraga, “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.” Her book “Borderlands/La Frontera” was seminal in elevating an authentic perspective from the Rio Grande Valley and pushing back from the dichotomous narrative that plagued it. Her latest book, published posthumously, is “Light in the Dark/Luz en Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality,” edited by AnaLouise Keating. Above all else, Gloria Anzaldúa was a beloved friend, sister, aunt, and guiding force.
This year’s El Retorno will feature special guest Randy P. Conner, PhD. (Humanities: Philosophy & Religion), writer and educator. He has published four books: “Blossom of Bone; the Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol, and Spirit and Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions” (with David Hatfield Sparks, and the Encyclopedia also with Mariah Sparks, with a foreword by Gloria Anzaldúa), and “The Pagan Heart of the West,” as well as essays in Gloria’s and AnaLouise Keating’s “This Bridge We Call Home” and elsewhere. He has taught at the University of Texas, Austin Community College, the University of California at Berkeley, CIIS in San Francisco, and Moraine Valley Community College.
Conner was one of Gloria’s closest friends and writing companions for 30 years and has written several articles on her work. His El Retorno talk, “An Anzaldúan Triptych,” will include a discussion of Anzaldúa’s poetry. There will also be ample time for a community plática afterwards. For more information about El Retorno, contact CMAS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, as part of the VIPF programming, there will be a visit to Anzaldúa’s grave in Hargill on Sunday morning, April 28th. Interested guests should meet at the Starbucks on Trenton and Exp. 281 at 8:55 p.m. for a 9 a.m. departure to the cemetery—either carpool or convoy. For more information, please visit http://www.valleypoetryfest.org/ or e-mail email@example.com. You may also find the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival on social media.
Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival
The public is invited to the 12th Annual Rio Grande Valley Int’l. Poetry Festival on Thurs., Apr. 25 through Sun., Apr. 28 in Mission, McAllen, and Hargill. For details, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.valleypoetryfest.org.
Opening Reception Poetry Festival
The public is invited to the opening reception and anthology release for the 12th Annual Rio Grande Valley Int’l. Poetry Festival on Thursday, Apr. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the McAllen Creative Incubator (601 N. Main St.) Books and t-shirts will be available for purchase. Readings by youth and adult poets. For details, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.valleypoetryfest.org.
VIPF Poetry Slam Night @ Brick Fire Pizza
The public is invited to poetry slam night as part of the 12th Annual Rio Grande Valley Int’l. Poetry Festival on Friday, Apr. 26 at Brick Fire Pizza (704 E. Griffin Pkwy.) in Mission from 7 to 10 p.m. Youth poetry slam (free for high school students), adult poetry slam, readings by UTRGV students/faculty, and musical performances. For details, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.valleypoetryfest.org.
Poetry Workshops and Readings @ VIPF
The public is invited to the 12th Annual Rio Grande Valley Int’l. Poetry Festival on Saturday, Apr. 27 for writing workshops and poetry readings at the UTRGV McAllen Teaching Site (1800 S. Main St., Suite 1100) in Room 1.103. For details, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.valleypoetryfest.org.
Poetry Pachanga XIII
The public is invited to the 12th Annual Rio Grande Valley Int’l. Poetry Festival on Saturday, Apr. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the McAllen Creative Incubator (601 N. Main St.) for Poetry Pachanga XIII—a free night of poetry, music, and art. For details, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.valleypoetryfest.org.
VIPF Visits Gloria E. Anzaldúa Burial Site
The public is invited to celebrate the late Chicana scholar, Dr. Gloria E. Anzaldúa, with a visit to her grave as part of the 12th Annual Rio Grande Valley Int’l. Poetry Festival on Sunday, Apr. 28. A carpool or caravan will depart at 9 a.m. from the Starbucks in Edinburg (Trenton and Exp. 281) to Valle De La Paz Cemetery in Hargill. Readings and remembrances. For details, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.valleypoetryfest.org.
For more information about VIPF (Apr. 25—28, 2019), visit www.valleypoetryfest.org.
Poets from the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival (left-to-right) John Meza, Daniel García Ordaz, Edward Vidaurre, Eddie Vega. For more information about VIPF (Apr. 25—28, 2019), visit www.valleypoetryfest.org.