Austin International Poetry Festival begins September 27

Today marks the first day of the 20th anniversary celebration of the Austin International Poetry Festival. When I spoke with festival director, Barbara Youngblood Carr, she emphasized the importance of tradition in festival planning. “If you want to make big changes, do it on the 21st anniversary,” she said. This year, they’re paying tribute to their origins.

All four of the original founders — Herman Nelson, John Berry, Sue Littleton and Festival Thom — will be in attendance this year, along with many local, national and international poets. The celebration spans four days (September 27th to the 30th) and the whole city of Austin, with readings and events at various local establishments. An official festival schedule is available online.

From a Remembrance Reading at the Crystal Auditorium headquarters, to the launch of a Capital Metro “Poetry on Wheels” project, the festival is planning to celebrate a number of special occasions, featured poet readings and open mics all over town. Events are scheduled at coffee shops, including Hot Mama’s and Monkey’s Nest, bookstores, like BookWoman and World Spirit Books, and other venues.

The launch of AIPF’s annual 100-page anthology, Di-vêrsé-city, will be held Thursday night at 7:00 pm, at Huston-Tillotson Auditorium. (Author’s note: I’ll be reading in this event, as one of my poems has been selected for the anthology. Wahoo!)

All events are free and open to the public, so come be a part of the “largest non-juried poetry festival in the U.S.” For more information on becoming a member of Austin Poets International, a non-profit organization, go to their website.

I hope to see you out there! Come support poetry in your community, and all over the world.

Are you going to the poetry festival? Let us know how the festivities are going. And if you know of any poetry events coming up soon, keep us in the loop!


Erin Coffin is the contributing poetry editor for Professional Writers of Austin, and very excited to announce her publication in Austin International Poetry Festival’s anthology, Di-vêrsé-city. Also, send her an email at erin.rose.coffin@gmail.com if you want to be a part of a new poetry networking group. Let’s get together and help each other write better poetry!

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