Austin Free Poetry Festival

If you could put the Austin International Poetry Festival in a diorama, you might have something like the Austin Free Poetry Festival: smaller and more self-contained than the real thing, but with a number of the characteristics that define the event. The festival, to be held Sunday, November 10 at Book People (6th & Lamar), is intended as a warm-up for local poets and volunteers who will drive the Fifth annual AIPF next March. According to AIPF Board of Directors Chairman Randy Lusk, "The intent is to give many of the poets who read at venues around town the chance to read in a different setting, where they can reach audiences who might not make it out to those readings." The 12-hour lineup, starting with a 10am reading by the local poetry coalition APAL (Austin Poetry At Large) and finishing with an 8:30pm poetry slam, features a number of the most active local performing poetry groups and sub-groups, including high school poets, poets organized around their favorite venues, and the new-to-the scene, all-female Ripe and Ready Performance Troupe. The 7pm showcase adds a number of individual local luminaries to the mix, including former Blue Plate Poets Marlys West and Tammy Gomez, Bill Jeffers, and Albert Huffstickler. The festival also features poets with Austin ties spread along the I-35 corridor, including the Dallas performance troupe The Question Authority and Wimberley poet Bob Clark.

As the festival name implies, the event is free, and through what AIPF spokeswoman Christina Sergeyevna attributes to "coincidence," the event is part of Arts Week '96, a citywide series of art exhibtions and performances intended to bring businesses and artists together. -- Phil West

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