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 2019 is FORTHCOMING!!!


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 11th 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, 2018 @ 7 to 9 p.m. Opening Reception and Anthology Release: Dustin M. Sekula Library, Edinburg

  • Friday, Apr. 27: Poets In The Schools: McAllen High School

  • Friday, Apr. 27: 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 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 #VIPF2018 #PoetryPachanga!

 THURSDAY, APR. 26, 2018


Dustin Michael Sekula Library, Edinburg

1906 S Closner Blvd, Edinburg, 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.

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

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


FRIDAY, APR. 27, 2018


8 A.M. TO 4 P.M.

 McAllen High School

McAllen, TX 78596
Poets: Daniel García Ordaz, Trevor Wainwright, Eddie Vega

8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Contact: Daniel Garcia (Room 104, but we should be in the library.)


Med High (South Texas High School For Health Professions)

700 Med High Dr, Mercedes, TX 78570

Poets: Edward Vidaurre, Nathan Brown, Robin Carstensen, John Meza

1:35 p.m. to 3:35 p.m.

Contact: Ileana García-Spitz


 San Benito High School

450 S Oscar Williams Rd, San Benito, TX 78586
Poets: Jasmin Garcia, Vanesa Caraveo, Tom Murphy, Paul Pineda, Laura Pena

8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. (call school to verify times: check-in at library)

Contact: Laurie Hernandez, Room B23.



7 to 10 p.m.

Buffalo WildWings N. 10th, McAllen

4424 N 10th St, McAllen, TX

7—7:40 p.m. V.I.P.F. Youth Slam

7:40--8:40: STC and UTRGV Student/Faculty Readings 

8:40—8:55 p.m. Featured Poet/Musician: Nathan Brown

8:55—9:15 p.m. Featured Poet: 

9:15—9:20 Poetry Slam Contest Rules/Selection of Judges

9:20—10 Poetry Slam, hosted by Edward Vidaurre (El Salvador/East L.A./McAllen)

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


SATURDAY, APR. 28, 2017

Workshops and Readings

Only Registered Poets Read

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

Sessions MUST start on time.

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 10:10 a.m. Workshop #1: The Cut Up Poem (by Featured Poet Laura Peña)

Note: Bring two copies of a single poem you're not happy with and want to revise. Should be in 12pt Times New Roman font and double-spaced.

10:10 to 10:15 BREAK

10:15 to 11:15: Workshop #2: Listing: Side to Side, Top to Bottom Tips and Techniques for Writing Every Day (by Featured Poet Nathan Brown)

This is a more focused workshop that deals with how to never be caught without something to write about. Many writers, from Dickens to Twain, and Hemingway on up to Stephen King, had (or have) a daily writing practice. And the writers who’ve written or talked about it seem to say that this discipline was their ‘great teacher’ when it comes to the craft. I’ve written a poem a day for the last fourteen years, and I can say that nothing has taught me more about writing.

11:15 to 11:25 BREAK

11:25 to 12:25: Workshop #3: (by Featured Poet Eddie Vega)

The Taco-Poet of South Texas will lead you through a mouth-watering buffet of words. Food poetry is more than just a few lines about corn tortillas; it’s about the whole enchilada. We’ll explore different poetic genre as we write about food, dining experiences, and the use of food as metaphor for life events.

12:25--2 p.m.: (Lunch—on your own)


Asian: Hop Tung, Snowbite

Tacos/Tex-Mex: El Rodeo, Taco Palenque, Los Asados, Las Tostadas, Las Tortas

Ethnic: Universal Market (Indian buffet), Kabob Guys, Zaytoon

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

 2--3 p.m.: Featured Poets Readings: Host--Edward Vidaurre

  • Laura Peña

  • Eddie Vega

  • Robin Carstensen

  • Nathan Brown

3--3:15 p.m.: BREAK

3:15--4:15 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.



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

so it's our 11th festival, but our 12th Pachanga!)

Saturday, Apr. 28, 2018

 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

7:10--7:20: Group Photos

7:20—8:20: Featured Poets Readings (~10 to 15 min. apiece):

  • Laura Peña

  • Eddie Vega

  • Robin Carstensen

  • Nathan Brown

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

SUNDAY, APR. 29, 2018

9 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 9:05 a.m.