2019 Austin International Poetry Festival Brings a World of Words to Town
If you want to know how seriously this city takes poetry, all you have to do is wait until the start of April – because National Poetry Month – when versifiers from far and wide stream into Austin to join the locals who poetize for four days of celebrating their chosen literary form. You'll see a wealth of readings, open mics, workshops, and panels, and, this being the "you be you" community it is, you'll hear poems of all kinds, with readings that range from good ol' love poems to poems rooted in social justice themes, poems accompanied by music to poems presented in a visual style, poems of interest to women to poems of interest to the LBGTQ community, poems from the academic crowd to poems for cowboys. It even includes poems written in response to student art exhibited during the event. Called quite simply and aptly the Austin International Poetry Festival, it's the largest non-juried poetry festival in the U.S., and this year's will be the 27th such event – more testament to the important place poetry has in the hearts and souls of our citizens.
Lest you think that "international" in the name is there just for show, be aware that AIPF has hosted poets from more than 50 countries over the past quarter-century, and its featured poets in 2019 bring the global flavor – some literally. Samantha Barendson is of Argentinian/French/Italian heritage and will be performing in several languages. Nicole Peyrafitte and Pierre Joris, French nationals who currently reside in New York City, will present a program called "Domopoetics," which combines poetry with music, action painting, acrobatics, and cookery. A panel discussion on Saturday afternoon with all the featured poets (including Christopher Merrill of Iowa) will focus on the role of the international poet in this era of nationalism and isolationism.
The schedule also includes:
• The launch of the new poetry anthology by students at St. Edward's University,
• The launch of a youth anthology,
• Workshops for students K-12,
• A Writers League of Texas panel on the business side of poetry,
• A slam at the Full English cafe, and following that, in the same location, an AIPF tradition:
• The midnight-to-dawn open mic.
The festival will also pay tribute to deceased poets who were involved with AIPF prior to their passing.
The 2019 AIPF runs Thu.-Sun., April 4-7. Headquarters is the Holiday Inn Midtown, 6000 Middle Fiskville, but readings and other events will be taking place at Malvern Books, BookWoman, Threadgill's, Recycled Reads, Half Price Books, Barnes & Noble Arboretum, St. Edward's University, Kick Butt Coffee, NewWorlDeli, and Parsons House. For more info, visit www.aipf.org.