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.


Subject to change. CHECK BACK FOR UPDATES!

Basic Schedule for the 2019 V.I.P.F. is set! 

The public is invited to the 12th Annual Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival on Apr. 25—28, 2019 with events across the RGV. Please check the schedule for any potential updates!

  • Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019 @ 7 to 9 p.m. Opening Reception and Anthology Release: McAllen Creative Incubator

  • Friday, Apr. 26: 7 to 10 p.m.: Youth Slam, College/University Readings, Poetry Slam at Brick Fire Pizza & Inferno Patio Bar (704 E Griffin Pkwy, Mission, TX)

  • Saturday, Apr. 27: Readings and Workshops @ the UTRGV McAllen Teaching Site (1800 S. Main Street, Suite 1100 McAllen) Room 1.103 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Saturday night: Poetry Pachanga XIII: (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

  • (Dinner is for Registered Poets Only)

  • Sunday: visit to cemetery and readings in honor of the late Gloria E. Anzaldúa (Meet at Starbucks in Edinburg on Trenton and Exp. 281 at 8:55 a.m., depart at 9 a.m.)

  • Follow us on Twitter @rgvipf or return to our site for updated details as the event approaches!

  • Apr. 25--28, 2019! Events are free and open to the public (except Poetry Pachanga and a few workshops.)

 The 12th Annual Rio Grande Valley

International Poetry Festival

SCHEDULE Apr. 25—28, 2019

 ·         All events (except Poetry Pachanga Dinner and school readings) 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 Hashtags #VIPF #VIPF2019 #PoetryPachanga!


(Subject to Change, so check back)



McAllen Creative Incubator

601 N. Main St., McAllen, TX

7 TO 9 P.M.

Our new anthology will be released and poets who are in the anthology will read only from the anthology. Since there are many anthologized poets, it’ll be first-come, first served. Not all anthologized poets will be reading their work. Meet the Featured and Registered Poets of VIPF 2019.

Note: Book sales are limited to the anthology. All other events are open for author book sales. Entrance is via the alley, not on Main Street, per se.

Donations welcome: $$$, pastries, chocolate, veggie/fruit trays, wine, water

 FRIDAY NIGHT, APR. 26, 2019


7 to 10 p.m.

Brick Fire Pizza & Inferno Patio Bar

(704 E Griffin Pkwy, Mission, TX)

7--7:40: Youth V.I.P.F. Poetry Slam; free for Valley youth/high school students

7:45--8:15: UTRGV Student/Faculty Reading

8:20--8:40: Featured Musician Madman Fashions

8:45--8:55: Featured Poet Jo Reyes-Boitel

8:55—9:05: Featured Poet Edna Ochoa

9:05: Adult Poetry Slam

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

Featured Visual Artist: Mario Godinez will have his artwork displayed and selected pieces for sale throughout the evening.


SATURDAY, APR. 27, 2019

Workshops and Readings

Only Registered Poets Read, but all are welcome (If space is limited, Registered Poets get seating priority.)

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

Sessions MUST start on time.

UTRGV McAllen Teaching Site

1800 S. Main St., Suite 1100, McAllen

Room 1.103

(strict start/end times)

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

 9:10 to 10:10 a.m. Workshop #1: Taco ‘Bout Feelings: I Wish I were Full of Tacos Instead of Emotions

A workshop by Mark Esperanza: This proposed writing workshop will incorporate food pedagogy and it’s impact on the social aspects of writing poetry. It will present the audience with research on how food transcends divisions and brings people together. Specifically, “Taco ‘Bout Feelings” will contain pedagogy by Dr. Steven Alavarez’ Taco Literacy course, and discuss the cultural significance of the Mexican cuisine. Lastly, audience will examine and write about the social and personal perspectives of tacos in their community, past or present experiences, and/or their everyday lives.

10:10 to 10:15 BREAK

10:15 to 11:15: Workshop #2: The Visual and Literary Arts Writer
A workshop by poet, writer, editor, and publisher ~ Odilia Galván Rodríguez: This hour-long workshop will work with art images as prompts for free writes that may result in poetry or short/flash fiction. Come write,  put yourself in a painting or a piece of art and write from the point of view of the artist whose visual art you will be interacting with. Participants will be given an opportunity to share their work as time permits.  If you like, bring colored pencils, pens, pastels or whatever other medium you'd like to jazz up your own pieces. Please do bring  a journal to write in! This workshop will not disappoint, come, write, create with art, and have fun.

11:15 to 11:25 BREAK

11:25 to 12:20: Workshop #3: THE HEART OF THE MATTER!

A workshop by poet, former journalist, teacher, human being Daniel García Ordaz. Remember. Forget. Stages of grief. What do you worship? What do you loathe? What do you desire? What do you need to sustain yourself with? How do you ask for them? How do you let go? How do you receive? Emotional session. Bring something to write with/on. Bring something to make noise with: an instrument (You don’t need to know how to play it or play it well.), a noisemaker. A whistle. A rattle. Bring your truth. You’ll be hungry for hugs, love, laughter, and food afterwards.

12:20--1:50 p.m.: (Lunch—on your own)


Asian: Pho Houston

Tacos/Tex-Mex: Tacos/Tortas Las Rocas; El Rodeo; Taco Palenque; Los Asados; Las Tortas; La Siberia

Ethnic: Universal Market (Indian buffet), Kabob Guys

Unique To The Valley: Republic of the Rio Grande, Blue Onion, Khan's Grill, New York Deli

Sushi: H-E-B, Yasuke

BBQ: The Smoking Oak, Willie's BBQ, Rudy's

Burgers/Pizza/American: Ranch House Burgers II, The Whistling Duck, Brick House Pizza, Walbangers

Chains: Cheddars, Zoe's Kitchen, Buffalo WildWings, Barbecuties, Olive Garden, Pappadeux

1:50 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.: Workshop #4: WRITING THE HYBRID

A workshop by Featured Poet jo reyes-boitel: We survive - and thrive - in multiple spaces, languages, and identities at once. It's only natural that our creative writing was also capable of defying one genre. This short workshop will introduce you to hybrids. If you have them, bring along writing ideas, photos, lists, haikus, essay starts and other scraps. We will play with the idea of blending these different voices and generate some writing. Instructor will provide copies with examples for further self-study.

El Retorno: El Valle Celebra Nuestra Gloria
an annual UTRGV Center for Mexican American Studies

event co-sponsored by VIPF

Saturday, Apr. 27, 2019

UTRGV McAllen Teaching Site

1800 S. Main St., Suite 1100, McAllen

Room 1.103

3--4:45 p.m.: An Anzaldúan Tryptich: Presentation & Community Plática

This year’s El Retorno will feature special guest Randy P. Connor, PhD. (Humanities: Philosophy & Religion), 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 Anzaldúa), 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 Anzaldúa’s closest friends and writing companions for 30 years and has written several articles on her work. His El Retorno talk, "An Anzaldúan Triptych," will include a discussion of Anzaldúa's poetry. There will also be ample time for a community plática afterwards.


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

so it's our 12th festival, but our 13th Pachanga!)

Saturday, Apr. 27, 2019

 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 6:55 p.m. Books, t-shirts, CDs, and mugs available for sale.

 7--7:10: Poetry Pachanga Welcome: Brenda Nettles Riojas and Daniel García Ordaz, Founders

7:10--7:15: Group Photos

7:15—8:15: Featured Poets Readings (~10 to 15 min. apiece):

  • jo reyes-boitel

  • Edna Ochoa

  • Madman Fashions

 8:20—10 p.m.: Registered Poets: ONE poem only. Open Mic to follow if there's time: Registered Poets Only

SUNDAY, APR. 28, 2019

9 a.m. Dr. Gloria E. Anzaldúa Panteón visit (plus traveling time)

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

Meet @ Starbucks at Exp. 281 and Trenton in Edinburg at 8:55 a.m. Leave at 9 a.m.