Public Poetry is an innovative monthly reading series that brings the public and poetry community together, creating a buzz about poetry.
Public Poetry events feature outstanding local and visiting poets, plus a public figure or local guest celebrity and a short student reading, with a meet-the-poets book signing at the end of each program. With Mayor Annise Parker as our first Special Guest Reader, the series launched on April 2, 2011 to mark National Poetry Month.
The year-round reading series is a partnership between Public Poetry and Houston Public Library, with readings presented at four library locations: Central, Discovery Green, Kendall and Park Place. Please join us for these free programs, filled with gorgeous language, held on the first Saturday of each month at 2 PM.
Additionally, Public Poetry has partnered with The Musuem of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) to sponsor the ARTlines juried competition which invites the public to write about 9 works of art selected by the MFAH curatorial staff.
Public Poetry is equally committed to the public and to Houston’s poetry community. Events are designed to bring the two together, and to create a buzz about poetry.
PUBLIC: To grow its audiences, local celebrities and community leaders are invited to participate as Special Guest Readers, promoting the idea that poetry can be a part of everyone’s lives. Schools are encouraged to turn out and support the short student cameo reading. All events take place on Saturdays, mid-afternoon, in accessible public venues and are free to the public.
POETRY: At each event, four or five featured poets, selected from among Houston’s best, have the opportunity to energize audiences in a mini-festival format, reading in 6 minute rotations. Each poet selected will read at two different locations, 6 months apart, 25 minutes total. From 25 to 30 fine poets will appear in front of audiences annually. Their poetry books, together with others on display from Houston Public library, will be available for sale or to be checked out.
The selection committee chooses the featured poets who read at each event. Committee members serve as volunteers for one year, and then each selects their successor.
For readings starting April 2, 2011 and ending March 3, 2012, the selection committee members are:
Mike Alexander has organized poetry readings in Houston and elsewhere for decades and, in 2012, a full-length collection of his poetry, The Necessary Slice, will be published by Seven Towers Ltd.
Tony Diaz is the founder of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, author of the novel The Aztec Love God, editor of the anthology Latino Heretics, and founder and editor-in-chief of Aztec Muse Magazine.
Carolyn Florek is the co-publisher and managing editor of Mutabilis Press, a Houston publishing house that specializes in poetry, and is a poet and painter.
Robin Reagler is the Executive Director of Writers in the Schools (WITS), heads the WITS Alliance, a national consortium of literary arts education groups and is a published poet.
Fran Sanders, founder of Public Poetry, is host of The Poets’ Corner at Taping for the Blind, where she has produced over 350 poetry radio shows and, in 2009, established Houston’s first poetry audio archive.
- Hello, Houston (publicpoetryhouston.wordpress.com)