More April Arts Fests for Your Pleasure

Don't forget International Poetry and Texas Burlesque

Nikki Giovanni
Nikki Giovanni

Did we say 13 arts festivals enlivening Austin's cultural scene this April and May?

Well, our eyes must have glazed over looking at the calendar. Because we missed two really prominent ones: the Austin International Poetry Festival and the Texas Burlesque Festival.

Austin is home to some 2,000 poets, and scarcely a night goes by without a poetry reading, slam, open mic, or other public celebration of verse, so it's as natural as Barton Springs for the city to be home to the largest nonjuried poetry festival in the world. The Austin International Poetry Festival, now in its 23rd year, draws hundreds of poets from around the world for a four-day feast of themed poetry readings, open mics (including one from midnight to dawn), workshops, music and poetry events, a complete anthology reading, and a printed poetry anthology competition featuring the winning submissions.

The big excitement this year is the presence of Nikki Giovanni, that eloquent voice of the civil rights movement who will read a selection of poems and speak about art and diversity at a program on Saturday, April 11. For ticket information, go here.

The 2015 AIPF also includes a host of distinguished writers from across the planet. Unfortunately, two of the International Feature Poets had to cancel owing to visa issues: Candy Royalle of Australia and Dejavu Tafara of South Africa. But the roster of guests still includes such luminaries as Anna Yin, Suzi Q. Smith, Margot Farrington, Carolyn Adams, Outspoken Bean, Christopher Carmona, Bob Mud, and Pam Laskin. Then there are the featured poets representing for the ATX: Zachary Caballero, Tova Charles, Hadi Farasat, A.R.Rogers, and Allyson Whipple. If you haven't yet been exposed to the excitement and delight of Austin's poetry community, there's no better time than this weekend to dive in.

Deeds, not words, may be the best way to describe the difference between the AIPF and the other arts festival exciting the city this weekend: the Texas Burlesque Festival is all about the shake, the shimmy, and the shedding of clothes. But in the same way that poetry is so much more than "Roses are red, violets are blue," burlesque has so much more going on than a simple strip. It's an art form in its own right, … but I'll let veteran Chronicle burlesque reporter Richard Whittaker explain more about that in his set-up for this year's fest here.

Okay, there we are: 15 arts festivals present and accounted for. Now you just have to figure out how to squeeze them all into your schedule.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

arts festivals, Austin International Poetry Festival, Nikki Giovanni, Texas Burlesque Festival

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