Verso Frontera comes to Our Lady of the Lake

LA FERIA — A day of poetry filled the classrooms of Our Lady of the Lake in La Feria.

The campus hosted their first literary festival called “Verso Frontera” on Saturday, featuring 30 writers from across the country and Mexico.

RGV native Professor Octavio Quintanilla led the festival and created the idea along with Campus Director Patricia Blanco.

“About a year ago, Dr. Quintanilla came to do a reading and Verso Frontera was born out of a follow up conversation,” Blanco said.

“Growing the campus and enrollment was my top priority but in addition to that I really wanted to start bringing cultural awareness and celebrate Latinos,” she said.

Blanco also said Quintanilla came to her with the idea of the literary festival.

The campus provided the space and logistics but Quintanilla was in charge of arranging the schedule and getting writers to attend.

“It is a dream come true. The theme this year is telling our story, so it is about border life and immigration. There is a platform for these writers to share and exchange stories. An opportunity to support culture and art in all its forms,” she said.

Octavio Quintanilla is originally from Weslaco but has lived and worked around the Valley.

He now works as an English professor at Our Lady of the Lake San Antonio and is the San Antonio Poet Laureate.

“We promote literature, poetry and this type of event. We try to get communities together to share their experiences,” Quintanilla said.

The festival consisted of four writers reading for 15 minutes every hour, then taking a break.

“I wanted to bring a community of writers in one space and exchange ideas, exchange books. I wanted to bridge San Antonio writers, Rio Grande Valley writers and Mexico writers,” he said.

“I am hoping if everything goes well we can do it again,” he said.