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. 


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. 

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.

La Erika Garza-Johnson: Elsa/McAllen, TX (Former VIPF Featured Poet)

La Chica Del Apartamento 512, Local Loca, Poeta Power, Poetx, Chingona Wanna-Be, Word Witch, etc. Author of Unwoven, instructor, mother, wife, cat lady, and frenemy.

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.

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: San Antonio, TX/MN/Mexico/Cuba

poet and essayist with the occasional performance piece, Jo is a mother, hand drummer, and Latina with roots in Mexico, Cuba, Minnesota, and Texas.

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

barrio poet de la raza cosmica, chicano con safos

Kathleen Carlson: Palmview, TX

Kathleen CArlson writes a variety of poetry from serious to humorous, and in a variety of forms from sonnets to doggerrel. Her content ranges from earthworms making shameless love on a summer day to the pain of losing one's child. Her recent book, Spiritual Reflections and Some Not So, shows the versatility of her writing and her depth of spiritual understanding.

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 Zamora-Wiley is a poet who resides in Brownsville, Texas, transplanted from San Antonio, originally. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at UTRGV in 2016, and it is one of her highest privileges to have worked with poets, Billy Collins, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Emmy Perez along her writing career. She looks forward to working with poet, Sharon Olds, in summer of 2018. Lucinda was recently nominated by this press for a Pushcart Prize Award in Poetry; the nomination is an honor for which she is profoundly grateful. She is equally proud of her poet-daughter, 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 Mark Anthony Vasquez in Weslaco, Texas. A UT-Pan Am graduate (1999), educator, community advocate, and proud compatriot of the South Texas tejano experience – Vasquez has over the years furthered his love of literature with his own private gallery of short stories and poetry.

Mark Esperanza: Elsa, TX

Mark Esperanza is a teacher at San Benito High School where he has started the San Benito Creative Writers Club, a collection of high school students devoted to the craft. Aside from encouraging his own students to write, Esperanza has been published in The Gallery Magazine (UTRGV, 2013; 2017) and The Monitor newspaper. Esperanza is currently working on his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and plans to graduate May 2018.

Monica Ramirez: Guadalajara, Jalisco, MX/McAllen, TX

Monica Ramirez was born in Mexico City. She is a poet, painter, and sculpture. Her poetry has been published in Espigas de Papel in Guadalajara, Jalisco, in Boundless (VIPF) in Texas, in the newspaper in Taos, New Mexico, and on numerous websites. She has participated in many poetry festivals, at universities and other artistic institutions in Mexico and The United States, from the Rio Grand Valley, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Austin. She has been a promoter of artistic activities since 2000.

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's work is inspired by the North Americans highway. A former VIPF featured poet, he has been invited to read from San Francisco's Beat Museum, to Havana, Cuba. PW lives in Northern New Mexico, two blocks off of historic Route 66.

Paul Pineda: San Antonio, TX

Born in McAllen, Texas; a first-generation U.S. citizen. We grew up as migrant workers, picking cotton throughout Texas. After 25 years of writing, i self-published my book, El Valle de Lagrimas Valley of Tears in 2015.

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).

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)

Making his 7th consecutive appearance at the Festival Trev is still the UK's most prolific travelling poet, having last year reached his 1000th travelling poem whilst in Austin, by the time the RGVIPF was over he had reached 1095 finishing with 1111 by the time he got home. Always well received in the schools and colleges where he encourages students to write and travel and how to do it cheaply. Last year he visited Reynosa with friends and went down well with the locals. Often refers to Texas as his spiritual home.

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.