Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival Apr. 25--28, 2019

Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival

The Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival, established in 2008, is a four-day poetry festival in deep South Texas held concurrently in two countries on the last full weekend in April. You don't need to register in order to submit to our anthology, Boundless. We feed you dinner on Saturday night as part of the Poetry Pachanga--the event that started it all. V.I.P.F. is a program of 
Art That Heals, Inc., and  El Zarape Press, with sponsorship from by Creative Alignment Consulting and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and welcomes poets from around the world.

Meet The Poets of the 11th Annual Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival!!

Brenda Nettles Riojas: Harlingen, Texas (Founder, VIPF)

Brenda Nettles Riojas, a founder of the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival, is the host of Corazón Bilingüe, a weekly radio program, and editor of The Valley Catholic newspaper. Her first collection of Spanish poems – “La Primera Voz Que Oí” was published in 2009.  She earned her M.F.A. from the University of New Orleans. 

 Cody Johnson: Pharr, TX

A top 500 all-time poet according to the world's largest poetry site. Published in over twenty-five different anthologies. Quit his real job, packed everything into a van with his dog, and started traveling.

Corey Mangan: McAllen, TX.

Corey is a writer, or tries to be.

Daniel García Ordaz: McAllen, TX (Founder, VIPF)

Daniel García Ordaz, an emerging voice in Mexican American poetry, is a teacher, song-writer, former journalist, photographicationisticator, and word-maker-upper. Daniel appears in the documentary, ALTAR: Cruzando fronteras/Building bridges." He has also been a featured reader at numerous literary events, including the Dallas International Book Fair. García Ordaz also is a founder of the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival and served in the U.S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The University of Texas-Pan American. He is working on an MFA in Creative Writing. 

David Estringel: Brownsville, TX

David Estringel is a poet/writer and has appeared in 47 domestic and international literary journals/magazines, such as Terror House Magazine, Expat Press, 50 Haikus, littledeathlit, Setu, Soft Cartel, Harbinger Asylum, Cajun Mutt Press, Cephalopress, Haiku Journal, Foxhole Magazine, The Basil O’Flaherty, Agony Opera, and Synchronized Chaos, plus three anthologies: Dreamscapes (Cherry House Press), Briar’s Lit Vol. II (Briars Lit), and House of Horrors (Alien Buddha Press). David’s first collection of poetry and prose, Indelible Fingerprints, was published April 2019 by Alien Buddha Press. He is also a contributing editor/writer at Red Fez and The Elixir Magazine.

Eddie Vega: San Antonio, TX (2018 Featured Poet).

Eddie Vega is a native South Texan. A graduate of St. Mary's University, he is a member of the 2017 Puro Slam Team and a collaborator with the Blah Blah Blah Poetry Spot. Recently, he was published in the anthology, Truth to Power (Cutthroat Press) and featured in the poetry webcast, MegaCorazon. On most nights he can be found at a slam or open mic in San Antonio.

Edward Vidaurre: Los Angeles, CA (Former VIPF Featured Poet)

Edward Vidaurre is the author of collections of poetry: I Took My Barrio on a Road Trip, Insomnia, Beautiful Scars, & Chicano Blood Transfusion. His fifth collection "Jazzhouse" will be published in the fall of 2017 by indie press Prickly Pear Publishing. Vidaurre lives in McAllen, TX with his wife and daughter.

Eric Shaw: Edinburg, TX

Eric Shah has been writing poetry for the past two years and has been influenced by contemporary spoken word poetry. He derives his emotional energy from his controversial past and aims to promote solidarity through his experiences—to let others know that they are not alone, there is hope.

Jasmin García: Mercedes, TX.

Jasmin Garcia is an RGV-based Poet who enjoys writing, working, and sleeping (not in that specific order). She has performed at a variety of venues across the Valley and hopes to someday publish her own book. For the meanwhile, her work can be found on her Instagram page @thinnestlines.

Jo Reyes-Boitel: San Antonio, TX/MN/Mexico/Cuba

Jo Reyes-Boitel is a poet, essayist, and playwright, a novice hand drummer, music researcher, and Texas transplant by way of Minnesota, Florida, Mexico, and Cuba. Her first book, Michael + Josephine, is published through FlowerSong Books.

John Meza: Corpus Christi/San Benito, TX (Former VIPF Featured Poet).

barrio poet de la raza cosmica, chicano con safos

Julieta Corpus: Donna, TX (Former VIPF Featured Poet)

Julieta stumbles across a word, a phrase, an idea, or an image and turns it around and around in her head until she pulls a poem out of the hat by the ears. Her love for language goes beyond the rules of reason. She must be stopped or she'll take over the world!

Kathleen Carlson: Palmview, TX

Kathleen Bunyan Carlson writes a variety of poetry from serious to humorous, and in a variety of forms from sonnets to doggerel. Her content ranges from earthworms making shameless love on a summer day to the pain of losing one's child. Her most recent book is Spiritual Reflections and Some Not So. She and her husband Vern also write music and song lyrics.

Laura Peña: Houston/Katy, TX (2018 FEATURED POET).

Laura Peña was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She holds a BA in English Literature and an MA in Education. She is a bilingual elementary school teacher. She has been published in di-vêrsé-city, Boundless, Houston Poetry Fest anthology, The Bayou Review, Harbinger Asylum, Illya’s Honey, The Red River Review, and The Texas Poetry Calendar. Laura is a member of Gulf Coast Poets, The Poetry Society of Texas, Academy of American Poets, The Writer’s League of Texas and the critique group Poetry Works Workshops. Laura organizes Poetry Out of Bounds each year which is the official kick-off event for Houston Poetry Fest.

Lucinda Zamora-Wiley: San Antonio/Brownsville, TX

Lucinda is originally from San Antonio, Texas, but she is an RGV transplant of over twenty years now. She is a high school English teacher at The Science Academy of South Texas, and she is about to enter her twentieth year of teaching. Related to Elena Zamora O’Shea, author of El Mesquite, reading, writing, and teaching are in Lucinda's blood. A former student of Billy Collins and Sharon Olds, Lucinda’s greatest honor and privilege is being the mother of revolutionary poet, Ava Sofia Zamora-Wiley.

Lupe Castillo: St. Paul, MN.

Texas Sown, Minnesota Raised, Xicana India Through and Through. La Progress began journaling her truths and her voice came to life! She intersects duty with desire, internal wars with peace, and loss with joy. It ie invokes/evokes the inheriant memories of ceremonies of ceremonies, dancing and drumming with the ancient ones. As Tia, Granddaughter, Madre, and Lover, she shares stories of Comunidad, Justicia, y Amor. See poems in Calaca Press, "Under What Bandera?", Co-Founder of a Midwest first LatinX Spoken Word Collective and more!

M. Anthony Miranda: Weslaco, TX

M. Anthony Miranda was born and raised in Weslaco, Texas. An educator, independent consultant, and once high school teacher, M. Anthony has worked throughout the mid-Valley as a community organizer and is currently on staff as an associate producer and lead writer of the local made-for-air television program, Aqui Entre Nosotros.

Maria L.M. García Brooks: Pharr, TX

Maria Luisa is a retired bilingual teacher, caregiver, currently a MFA student at UTRGV.

Mark Esperanza: Elsa, TX

Mark Esperanza is a writer of Edcouch-Elsa, TX. Although he currently resides in San Antonio, he often returns to the Valley. He believes the next great American novel will stem from the borderlands, so he is committed to supporting literary activities throughout.

Maria L.M. García Brooks: Pharr, TX

Maria Luisa is a retired bilingual teacher, caregiver, currently a MFA student at UTRGV.

Meliton Hinojosa: Harlingen, TX

Meliton Hinojosa is a Chicano poet. Period.

Nathan Brown: Oklahoma/Wimberly, TX (2018 FEATURED POET).

Nathan Brown is an author, songwriter, and award-winning poet living in Wimberley, Texas. He holds a PhD in English and Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, and he served as Poet Laureate of Oklahoma in 2013/14. Nathan has published sixteen books. His book Two Tables Over won the 2009 Oklahoma Book Award.

Nianna Gustovich, Edinburg, TX.

Nianna E. Gustovich has a soul inspired by words. She has been published in various newspapers and has written book reviews for the websites Goodreads and Amazon. Her poetry has been featured in UTPA's Grafemas and RGVIPF's 2015-17 Boundless Anthologies. She believes: “You should always keep adding verses to your life.”

PW Covington: New Mexico (Former VIPF Featured Poet)

PW Covington writes in the spirit and beat tradition of the North American highway. He has been invitedto read from Washington State to Havana, Cuba and from the Beat Museum in San Francisco to the Texas/Mexico border. Earlier this year he published "North Beach and Other Stories", a collection of flash fiction and erotica.

Paul Pineda: McAllen/San Antonio, TX

Like me, my poetry was born of the Rio Grande Valley. All my life I have straddled dos mundos; one that held my head, the other held my heart and soul. I have been the story keeper, and now am free to ell the stories; both the sacred and the sacrilegious. I speak and write so that I may breathe free.

Robin Carstensen: Corpus Christi, TX (2018 FEATURED POET).

Robin Carstensen's chapbook, In the Temple of Shining Mercy, was awarded first place and published by Iron Horse Literary Press in 2017. Poems are also published in the Atlanta Review, BorderSenses, Connotations Press, Southern Humanities Review, Demeter Press’s Borderlands and Crossroads: Writing the Motherland, and many more. She teaches and coordinates the creative writing program at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi where she advises The Windward Review, lit journal of South Texas and the Coastal Bend, and is co-founding, senior editor of the Switchgrass Review, a literary journal of women's health and empowerment.

Santa Ramirez: McAllen, TX.

Santa Ramirezlives in McAllen, Tx. She is an MAIS Candidate at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Her work has been published in Gallery Magazine (2012, 2013 & 2017).

Sofia Zamora-Wiley: Brownsville, TX

Sofie is a Scholastic Silver Key poetry award winner for 2019, and she's honored to be considered as such a distinguished poet. Her favorite flavors to read are fiction and poetry, and she hopes to write them so that others can feel fireworks on their own literary taste buds, too.

Sara García Brooks: Mission, TX

Sara Garcia Brooks was born in 1938 and is a Native of Rio Grande City, Texas. She was a rancher and migrant worker in her youth, working various jobs. However her passions have been art, poetry, writing, song composing and creating recipes. Sara is no amateur in writing poetry and a few years ago begun a journey of self-publishing. She published her first book titled, A Very Poetic Story, a small fraction of her over 600 poems. At 80 years young, Sara will soon have her 3rd volume published and is looking forward to more.

Stephanie R. Silvas: McAllen, TX.

I am good freeloading poetry artist and awesome drawing that make minds blow sometimes. I love being me; even if, I don't understand myself or the uncertainty that's come with me. I have done poetry competitions, when I was 15 for a poetry book contest; its didn't work out for me.

Tom Murphy: Corpus Christi, TX.

Tom Murphy is a People’s Poetry Festival-Corpus Christi committee member. Murphy’s books & CDs: American History (Slough Press, 2017), co-edited Stone Renga (Tail Feather, 2017), chapbook, Horizon to Horizon (Strike Syndicate, 2015), CD “Live from Del Mar College” (BOW Productions, 2015), and CD “Slams from the Pit” (BOW Productions, 2014).

Trevor Wainwright: Castleford, West Yorkshire, UK (Former VIPF Featured Poet)

Trev Wainwright aka Trev the Road Poet returns to The Valley for his 8th consecutive appearance at the RGVIPF. Still the UK’s most prolific travelling poet last year he brought his travelling poems total to 1270 since 2011, so we ask how many will it be by the time he gets here. A regular on the UK open mic scene, last year was highly commended in the open mic section of a Yorkshire Poetry Festival, and the radio station he is a presenter for and has a poetry slot was voted by the public Community Group of the Year 2018.

Vanessa Caraveo: Los Fresnos, TX.

Vanessa Caraveo has been avidly involved in writing throughout the years and was published in HWG’s, “Out of Many One: Celebrating Diversity,” 2017 anthology, had her winning essays published for the IMIA for two consecutive years in a row (2013 and 2014) and also has various fiction, non-fiction and poems published for diverse organizations. She has been a volunteer and member for many non-profit groups and emphasizes the importance of making a positive difference and hopes to uplift the lives of others through her literary work.