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.

The Basic Schedule for the 2018 V.I.P.F. is set! Scroll down for a sample of what's to come!

Quick At-A-Glance

The public is invited to the 10th Annual Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival on Apr. 26--29, 2018 with events across the RGV. Please check the schedule for any potential updates!

  • Thursday, Apr. 26, 2017 @ 7 to 9 p.m. Opening Reception and Anthology Release:  Dustin M. Sekula Library, Edinburg
  • Friday, Apr. 29: Poets In The Schools:  McAllen High School
  • Friday, Apr. 28:  7 to 10 p.m.: Youth Slam, College/University Readings, Poetry Slam at Buffalo WildWings N. 10th, McAllen
  • Saturday: Readings and Workshops @ the McAllen Creative Incubator starting at 9 a.m. 
  • Saturday night: Poetry Pachanga XII: (McAllen Creative Incubator) dinner, music, art, and readings by ALL poets!!
  • (Dinner, then Featured Poets, then Registered Poets: read a haiku or a 1-minute poem, Followed by Open Mic (for Registered Poets Only)
  • Sunday: visit to cemetery and readings in honor of the late Gloria E. Anzaldua (Meet at Starbucks in Edinburg on 107 at 9 a.m.) 
  • Follow us on Twitter @rgvipf or return to our site for updated details as the event approaches!
  • Apr. 26--29! Events are free and open to the public (except Poetry Pachanga and a few workshops.)


The 11th Annual Rio Grande Valley

International Poetry Festival



·         All events (except Poetry Pachanga Dinner) are free and open to the public.

·         Registered Poets get priority seating at workshops. In case of tie: Haiku War!

·         Only Registered Poets may read at the listed venues—no friends, spouses, etc.

 *Please note: The online schedule will be the final schedule, so check for details! Individual events are posted at:


E-mail or follow us on Twitter @rgvipf . . . and use the Hashtag #VIPF #PoetryPachanga!

 THURSDAY, APR. 27, 2017


Pre-V.I.P.F. Rebel Reading

Valley View High School 600 S. Jackson Rd., Pharr

12:40 to 4:00

Host: Nianna Gustovich: Trevor Wainwright, Harold Rodinsky, John Mesa aka One Deep, Katherine Hoerth


McAllen Creative Incubator

601 N. Main St., McAllen

7 TO 9 P.M.

Our new anthology will be released and poets who are in the anthology will read only from the anthology.

Note: Book sales are limited to the anthology. All other events are open for author book sales.

Donations welcome: $$$, cookies, chocolate, veggie/fruit trays, wine, beer


FRIDAY, APR. 28, 2017


8 A.M. TO 4 P.M.

 Weslaco East High School Library

810 S Pleasantview Dr, Weslaco, TX 78596
Poets: Daniel García Ordaz, Jose Ponce, Laura Peña, Trevor Wainwright, Eddie Vega, Odilia Galván Rodríguez

8:20 to 3:45


Robert Vela High School

 801 E Canton Rd, Edinburg, TX
Poets: Celina Gomez, Hostess, Thomas Ray García, Featured Poet César Leonardo De León, Harold Rodinsky

10:20 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.


Milam Elementary School: Mary Bain: 10:45 to 11:45 (Gym)


9:15 A.M. TO 4 P.M.

 Med High, a.k.a. South Texas High School For Health Professions School

700 Med High Dr, Mercedes
Poets: Ileana Garcia-Spitz, Hostess; Edward Vidaurre, Gina Lowry, Lucinda Zamora-Wiley, John Meza--a.k.a. One Deep, Bryan Damien Nichols, Linda Romero




7 to 11 p.m.

The Historic Cine El Rey

311 S. 17th Street, McAllen

7—8:30 p.m. STC and UTRGV Student/Faculty Readings (Host: César Leonardo De León)

8:30—8:55 p.m. Featured Poet/Musician Alejandro Cabada

8:55—9:15 p.m. Special Guest Poet: Jesse G. Herrera

8:55—9:15 p.m. Featured Poets Reading

9:25—9:35 Poetry Slam Contest Rules/Selection of Judges

9:35—10:45 Poetry Slam, hosted by Edward Vidaurre (El Salvador/East


Note: Only Registered Poets may compete. Late registration: $40 (comes with shirt, while supplies last)


SATURDAY, APR. 29, 2017

Workshops and Readings: Note TWO Locations

Only Registered Poets Read

(No open-mic for the unregistered public/spouses/friends/primos/sanchas.)

Sessions MUST start on time in order to allow for travel.


McAllen Creative Incubator

601 N. Main St., McAllen

(strict start/end times)

 9 to 9:10 a.m. BYOPD/C bring your own pan dulce/coffee

 9:10 to 10:40 a.m. Workshop #1: Vidas Cruzadas Panel, Followed by Workshop: 

A collaborative workshop intended to teach participants on the history of developing a volunteer agency and a sample of workshops focused on serving a group consisting primarily of older women from a local counseling center currently partnering with a community clinic.

10:40 to 10:45 BREAK

10:45 to 12:15: Workshop #2: Catching Quetzalcoatl:

It's no coincidence the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl supports learning, priestly study, writing, and books. Poets have served as educators, intellectuals, and spiritual leaders for eons. But what if you can't get the writing started or are faced with writer's block? Edward Vidaurre and Jo Reyes-Boitel will have you generating work in this intensive workshop. Discussion will include ways to keep the writing momentum, stepping past fear, and ways to generate ideas for future writing. Jo Reyes-Boitel and Edward Vidaurre (Moderators)

12:15 to 1:45: (Lunch—on your own)

Suggestions: Republic of the Rio Grande, Blue Onion, Los Asados, Hop Tung, Taco Palenque, Cheddars, Ranch House Burgers II

 1:45--3:45 p.m.: Afternoon Delight Readings: Host--Edward Vidaurre

Featured and Registered Poets Only will read; No open-mic for the unregistered public/spouses/friends/primos/sanchas.


Mission Historical Museum

900 Doherty Ave., Mission (corner of Business 83--one-way street)

(strict start/end times)

9 a.m. to 9:10: BYOPD/C bring your own pan dulce/coffee

9:10 to 10:10 a.m. Workshop #1: Loteria Poems

This workshop focuses on using images dealt with loteria decks to formulate poems of arte menor or arte mayor. Discussions of cultural significance welcomed and encouraged. Moderators: Nianna E. Gustovich and Amy Becker-Chambless

 10:10 to 10:15 a.m. Break

 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. Workshop #2: Celebrating Our Voices

This hour-long workshop will celebrate the voices that come through in our writing when we can get our conscious minds, every day concerns, and our censors out of the way. We will be doing a series of timed flash writes focusing on different writing prompts to get to some rich writing.  Flash writes are a way of letting our writing flow from our creative minds, to heart, to hands, and onto the paper.  For those who are so inclined, we will also make time to share some of what we’ve written during the exercises with the whole group. (Please bring a journal, pen or your favorite writing implement. (For those newer aged folks, computers or tablets are okay too though are not as effective in flash writing.) Moderator: Odilia Galván Rodríguez


 11:15—12:45 p.m. (Lunch—on your own)

Ranch House Burgers II, Rocha’s, Blue Onion, Los Asados, Hop Tung, Taco Palenque, Cheddars,

 12:45 to 1:55 p.m.:  Afternoon Delight Readings: Featured and Registered Poets Only; No open-mic for the unregistered public/spouses/friends/primos/sanchas. (Museum closes at 2 p.m.



(2007 was our first Poetry Pachanga. A year later, we started the festival;

so it's our 10th festival, but our 11th Pachanga!)

Saturday, Apr. 29, 2017

 McAllen Creative Incubator

601 N. Main St., McAllen

6 to 7 p.m.: Private Dinner: Poetry Pachanga

Note: For Featured & Registered Poets & Pre-Paid Guests Only; only event not open to the public.

Doors open to the public at 6:45 p.m. Books, t-shirts, CDs, and mugs available for sale.

 7--7:10: Poetry Pachanga Welcome: Brenda Nettles Riojas and Daniel García Orda

7:10--7:20: Featured Artist Statement/Poem: Jen Mendoza

7:20—8:30: Featured Poets Readings (~10 to 15 min. apiece): Vidas Cruzadas, Special Guest Anne Estevis, Kathy Trenfield Raines, Alejandro Cabada, César De León

 8:30—10 p.m.: Registered Poets: ONE poem only. Open Mic to follow if there's time: Registered Poets Only
Alyssa Canul, Amy Becker-Chambless, Brenda Nettles Riojas, Bryan Damien Nichols, Celina A. Gómez, Charles McGregor, Dr. Clark von Heller, Daniel García Ordaz, Eddie Vega, Edward Vidaurre, Gina Lowry, Harold Rodinsky, Jacqueline Ho-Shing, Jesse G. Herrera, Jo Reyes-Boitel, John Meza, José M. Ponce, Laura Peña, Lucinda Zamora-Wiley, Dr. Ma. González Pérez, Mary Bain, Nianna Gustovich, Odilia Galván Rodríguez, PW Covington, Rodney Gómez, Thomas Ray García, Trevor Wainwright, Virginia Gilstrap


SUNDAY, APR. 30, 2017

10 a.m. Dr. Gloria E. Anzaldúa Panteón visit

Note: Must RSVP so we know to expect you, since directions take too long and are complicated. RSVP with Daniel:

Meet @ Starbucks at Hwy. 107/University Drive in Edinburg. Leave at 10:05 a.m.

Lunch at Treviño’s in Edinburg afterwards for anyone interested.