Meet The Poets of the 12th Annual Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival!!
Amy Becker-Chambless: Pharr, TX
Professor and poet, Amy Becker-Chambless is pleased to call the Rio Grande Valley home for the past fifteen years.
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.
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.
Edna Ochoa: Mexico City (2019 VIPF Featured Poet)
Edna Ochoa is an associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Literatures and Cultural Studies at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She teaches Creative Writing and Theater, Latin American and Latino/a Literature. Ochoa writes in her native language, Spanish. The topics that predominate in her poetry are those that focus on women, immigration, colonialism, and family.
Edward Vidaurre: Los Angeles, CA/McAllen, TX (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 Shah: 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.
Joshua Murray-Jones: Pharr, TX
Self proclaimed, modern day warrior, storyteller, writer and poet. Joshua Murray-Jones is a current U.S. Army soldier and mixed martial artist, who finds time to play with words in between it all. He has been weaving words of love and passion together for over 10 years, and now seeks to bring it all to life through voice.
Jo Reyes-Boitel: San Antonio, TX (2019 VIPF Featured Poet)
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.
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.
Linda Romero: Harlingen, TX (Former VIPF Featured Poet)
Linda Romero is from Harlingen, Texas and has been published in the VIPF Boundless anthologies, Along the River 2: More Voices from the Rio Grande (VAO Publishing), Twenty: In Memoriam (El Zarape Press), and La Bloga. She is executive director of Vidas Cruzadas and teaches students as an independent Dyslexia Practitioner.
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.
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: 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.
Meliton Hinojosa: Harlingen, TX
Meliton Hinojosa is a Chicano poet. Period.
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.com. Her poetry has been featured in UTPA's Grafemas and RGVIPF's 2015-18 Boundless Anthologies. She believes: “You should always keep adding verses to your life.”
Odilia Galván Rodríguez: Texas/California/Chicago (Former VIPF Featured Poet)
Odilia Galván Rodríguez, poet, writer, editor, and activist, is the author of five volumes of poetry. Her latest book, from Merced College Press, is a collaboration with photographer Richard Loya, entitled, The Nature of Things. She is also co-editor, along with the late Francisco X. Alarcón, of the award-winning anthology Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, The University of Arizona Press. She has worked as the editor for several magazines, most recently at Tricontinental Magazine in Havana, Cuba and Cloud Women’s Quarterly Journal online.
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 invited to 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.
Randy P. Conner: Chicago (2019 VIPF Featured Scholar)
Randy P. Conner, PhD (Humanities: Philosophy & Religion), is a writer and educator. He has published four books: Blossom of Bone; the Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol, and Spirit and Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions (with David Hatfield Sparks, and the Encyclopedia also with Mariah Sparks, with a foreword by Gloria Anzaldua), and The Pagan Heart of the West, as well as essays in Gloria's and AnaLouise Keating's This Bridge We Call Home and elsewhere. He has taught at the University of Texas, Austin Community College, the University of California at Berkeley, CIIS in San Francisco, and Moraine Valley Community College. Randy was one of Gloria's closest friends and writing companions for 30 years and has written several articles on her work. His visit is sponsored by UTRGV’s Center for Mexican American Studies and co-sponsored by VIPF.
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.
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.