The Austin Chronicle


By Kimberley Jones, March 28, 2008, Books

All Poetry, All the Time Edition: April's just around the bend, which means Austin's about to play host once again to the Austin International Poetry Festival, the world's largest nonjuried poetry festival. Spread out over 13 venues around town, with Ruta Maya (3601 S. Congress) serving as home base, the festival runs from April 10 to 13. For more info, check out the official website at Can't wait till the 10th to get your poetry fix? It's slam to the rescue – Austin Poetry Slam, to be exact. If you thought poetry was for namby-pambies, think again: In a show of extreme endurance (or maybe self-flagellation) slam-master Mike Henry will attempt "the city's first-ever 24-hour solo poetry reading" on Saturday, April 5, at 501 Stage + Screen (501 N. I-35). Then, assuming Henry has recovered in full, he'll host the Austin poetry slam championships on Tuesday, April 8, at the 2,400-seat, so-brand-spanking-new-the-paint's-still-drying Michael and Susan Dell Hall at the Long Center. The five winners of the Slam Off will represent Austin at the 2008 National Poetry Slam to be held in Madison, Wisc. Want more? Check out Four Austin poets appear in a newly released anthology from Red Hen Press called Letters to the World: Poems From the Wom-Po Mailing List. It's a unique project – "a feminist collaboration born from The Discussion of Women's Poetry Listserv (Wom-po), a vibrant, inclusive electronic community founded in 1997 by Annie Finch." Local contributors include Susan Bright, Judy Jensen, D'Arcy Randall, and Abe Louise Young. Order your copy at This one isn't strictly poetry-related, but you can bet they've got some verse in the stacks: On Saturday, March 29, the Manchaca Road Branch (5500 Manchaca) of the Austin Public Library will reopen after a two-year renovation and remodel. The branch will celebrate with an open house, which kicks off at 10am. The festivities include a short reading by young-adult author David Rice, a live performance by the Austin Jazz Workshop, and a puppet show at 11am called Why Cowboys Sing in Texas. For more info, visit We're pretty sure Jack Kerouac slept with some poets in his day, so consider this thematically related: As part of its ongoing "On the Road With the Beats" exhibit, those crazy kids at the Harry Ransom Center – hey, thanks for the apple pie! – will put on a marathon reading of Kerouac's trailblazing book at Spider House (2908 Fruth) this Saturday, March 29, from 10am to 10pm. Come and get your snap on.

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