Archive for the ‘Poet Laureate’ Tag

Billy Collins At The Tucson Festival Of Books, 2018   Leave a comment

One of my favorite living poets is Billy Collins, and no less than the Wall Street Journal has called him “America’s Favorite Poet.” If you were to do a search on this blog, you would find five references to Billy Collins.

This year’s festival is the 10th, and as usual, the two-day event was loaded with many great writers, and when it comes to poets, Collins is worthy of “rock-star” status. Let there were two poets I regret not being able to see and visit with: Sarah Cortez who has been a frequent reader at the annual Walt Whitman and Emily Dickenson birthday celebrations part of the Montgomery County Literary Arts Council “Writers In Performance Series” (One of the blogs I manage but have not updated since leaving Texas in 2010, is Writers In Performance); Juan Felipe Herrera a poet, performance artist and activist. Herrera is the son of migrant farm workers and was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2015–2017. 

There is so much to do and see at this annual festival, which means there is so much to miss.

— kenne

Billy Collins blogBilly Collins at the Tucson Festival of Books, 2018 — Image by kenne

Billie Collins blogImage by Joy

 

Video — Billy Collins reading about goats fainting at the Tucson Festival of Books (March 10, 2018)

— Video by kenne

“HealthCare” — ” But, No On Cares” from Carmen Tafolla’s Poem, “HeathCare, The Sign Says”   1 comment

Carmen Tafolla Collage blogCarmen Tafolla — Images by kenne

It was a little over six years ago that I first met Carmen Tafolla. She was the March 2007, guest reader at Montgomery College’s (now Lone Star College – Montgomery) “Writer’s In Performance” series. I was impressed!

Carmen, a native of the West-Side barrios of San Antonio, Texas is an excellent writer, but first and foremost a storyteller. Often her readings include taking on the persona of the person in the poem, as shown in two of the photos in the above collage (older women and a child). Carmen is very inspirational — she touches your heart.

As a storyteller, Carmen follows the instruction from a historian, which she writes about in the poem, “The Storykeeper:”

Ask the whispers, she whispers,
breathed out in unguarded moments,
when the soul is too worn down to hurt more,
in the numbness of the night,
when the father wrestles with the unwritten history,
pleading to save it, speak it, bury it,
staring at the pluma across the room,
avoiding the paper.

from the poem “The Storykeeper” in the book of poems, Sonnets and Salsa

Even though I like to think I’m relatively up to date with the southwest literary world, I was surprised to learn yesterday that last March 2012, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro appointed Carmen Tafolla as the inaugural poet laureate — an honor well deserved.

The University of Arizona houses one of the best-known centers of poetry, “Poetry Center,” in the country; yet after doing a site search, I learned that Carmen Tafolla has never read there, which I difficult hard to believe — wondering out loud (in print), WHY! The Poetry Center should invite this unique Southwestern voice to read in Tucson.

We do know that many in Tucson are aware of Carmen Tafolla, since one of her books, “Curandera” was banned  Tucson Unified School District’s unprecedented censorship and massive removal of Latino and Mexican American literature and texts from its classroom. As a result, and in honor of the book’s 30th anniversary, Wings Press reissued a special “Banned in Arizona!” edition, of “Curandera.”

kenne

(The title of this posting, “HealthCare” — ” But, No One Cares” is a line from Carmen Tafolla’s poem, “HealthCare” the sign says.)

Capturing the Moment — iFest and Public Poetry with Dave Parsons   Leave a comment

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Images by kenne

While Jill and Joy spent time with James and Chase at the iFest (Houston International Festival), I went to the Houston Public Library – Downtown, to listen to Dave Parsons (2011 Texas Poet Laureate) and some other poets at Public Poetry, after which Dave and I went to the Doubletree Houston for a beer.

kenne

Ruffin & Parsons Texas Poetry Shoot-Out — Revisited   Leave a comment

Now that Montgomery County has two Texas poet laureates (Paul Ruffin, 2009 & Dave Parsons, 2011), I share again a video I produced and posted on this blog, August 7, 2009,  of the Texas Poetry Shoot-Out at “Good Books In The Woods,” Spring, Texas.

The event, a poetic shoot-out , paired two Montgomery County poets, good friends and mutual supporters, which carries even more significance now that Parsons has become the most recent poet laureate of Texas. Southeast Texas is the new hub of poetry in Texas.

And on that note. . .

the event Dave Parsons began eighteen years ago, The Annual Walt Whitman Birthday Celebration will be at Lone Star College – Montgomery, is Thursday, May 12th, featuring Pulitzer winner and iconic American author, C. K. Williams. As always, the afternoon campus event will be followed by “The Gathering of Poets,” 7:00 p.m. at the Corner Pub in Conroe.

kenne

Images & video by kenne

Dave Parsons — Texas Poet Laureate, 2011   Leave a comment

Dave Parsons — Image by kenne

In a June 6, 2009 posting on Paul Ruffin being selected as the Texas poet laureate, I wrote,  “As a member of the Montgomery County Literary Arts Council (MCLAC) and close friend of it’s founder, Dave Parsons, it was with mixed emotions that we received the news from Dave that Paul had been named the new Texas poet laureate, an honor for which both were finalists. Although the irony of Dave having nominated Paul can’t go unnoticed, Dave would have it no other way. We are blessed to have both these great writers living in Montgomery County, fast becoming a literary hub.” NOW MONTGOMERY COUNTY HAS TWO TEXAS POET LAUREATES! Yes, I just learned from a Facebook entry posted by Nancy Parsons, Dave’s wife, about this great news. This is indeed a most deserving honor for my dear friend, Dave. CONGRATULATIONS! 

kenne

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