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A Quick Primer on Getting Into National Poetry Month in San Antonio


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In the beginning of his epic poem Good Morning America, Carl Sandburg offers up 38 brilliant and gloriously confounding definitions for poetry. One that strikes me as particularly relevant at the moment is this: “Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly the air.”

Poetry is, indeed, an odd art form that can just as easily clarify as obfuscate, often in the very same line. But, what it seems Sandburg is really getting at here is that poetry, the reading and the writing of it, is how humans cope with our exile from our own selves, how we cope with our longings, how we cope with our experiences of otherness. Seen in that light, we can appreciate the unique value that poetry can bring to life in any era—but, perhaps, especially our contemporary one.

As April rolls along and we steel ourselves for another bout of Fiesta, National Poetry Month is in full bloom. As in any city with a robust poetry community, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate poetry any given week in San Antonio. But, National Poetry Month is something special—so naturally there’s a massive onslaught of local poetry events to go along with the larger celebration. While we encourage you to visit for the extensive National Poetry Month San Antonio calendar of events, we’ve highlighted just a few exciting events here just to whet your appetite.

Pen to Paper: Poesia Bilingue
For this special event that celebrates poetry of the bilingual variety, San Antonio Poet Laureate Octavio Quintanilla will read alongside several other poets. In addition to experiencing the readings, attendees will get the opportunity to explore the San Antonio Poetry Archives, a project of former SA Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero. Wed., April 10, 6-8pm, Ozuna Library at Palo Alto College, 1400 W. Villaret Blvd.

30 Poems for the Tricentennial Reading
Poets were invited, during last year’s tricentennial celebrations, to submit a poem that fit thematically with one of the following timeframes: The Pre-Columbian era or Yanaguana (prior to 1718), The Spanish Colonial Period (1718-1809), Mexican era (1810-1836), Texas Nation era (1836-1846), San Antonio: Crossroads City (1846-1946), and Modern Times (1947-2017). From those submissions, 30 poems were selected, and then local artists were chosen to provide visual interpretations of the poems. At this reading, a handful of the featured poets will read their works. Thurs., April 11, 6:30-8:30pm, Culture Commons Gallery, 115 Plaza de Armas.

Voces Cósmicas Poetry Reading
Voces Cósmicas, a talented and diverse group of local poets, will present a special National Poetry Month reading that takes as its thematic focus the idea of memes and their application to poetry. So whether you are already a poetry lover or you simply can’t get enough meme culture in your life, this should be an interesting experiment in the confluence of divergent cultural forms. Sat., April 13, 2-3:30pm, Collins Garden Library, 200 N. Park Blvd.

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