Friday, April 10, 2015

April Is National Poetry Month

In case you thought April was the month where Spring happens, along with Easter and Passover, and, if we are lucky, April showers, April is also National Poetry Month. As a poet, this means I'm busy. As a poet who broke her leg last Summer and is now mobile again, this means, I am super busy. It seems everyone wants some sort of poetry event to grace their calendar and show some love for National Poetry Month. This month, I have nine events in four different states, and, oddly enough, the list keeps growing.

The month started off with an event that was more than poetry. I was asked to give a keynote, motivational speech for the CAMP students at New Mexico State University. CAMP stands for College Assistance Migrant Program and consists of college students whose parents are migrant workers. The CAMP students were a fantastic audience; they asked great questions and bought lots of books. So much so that I didn't realize they had cleaned me out of the stock that I usually travel with. I was also happy to see some New Mexico friends in the house, Denise Chavez, Daniel Zolinsky, and Pat Minjarez. Although I was brought to Las Cruces to motivate and speak to CAMP students, they ended up motivating me. I was honored that they stayed and listen to me speak and read poetry, when many of their friends had already left town for the high holy holiday, Easter, and Spring Break.
Gina Ferrara, Melinda Palacio, Andy Young

My next stop was the day before Easter at the Latter Library in New Orleans. This was a fun reading featuring my Italian twin, Gina Ferrara, (people often mistake us for each other), and Andy Young. The venue is one of my favorites and I hope New Orleans will vote yes on the library millage in order to help restore funds that were cut to the libraries after Katrina. While much attention has been placed on gentrification in New Orleans, some basic needs, such as library funding and education continue to be ignored and overshadowed. The Latter library provided a wine and cheese reception for their National Poetry Month reading. 
Two days later, I recorded poetry at WRBH, Reading Radio on Magazine Street. WRBH is New Orlean's radio for the blind. Last year, I recording my entire poetry book, How Fire Is a Story,Waiting over the course of four different session. This time I spent 30 minutes recording new poems for their poetry month program. 

In case you are reading along and keeping tally with me, the recording at WRBH represented event number 3 out 9, and two different states: Louisiana and New Mexico. Today, I add Minneapolis and events 4 and 5, plus state number 3. I'm at AWP and I will be at the Tia Chucha Press/ Kaya Books/ Lit in Color Booth 1711 and I read with Coast to Coast Poetry Press Collective at Common Roots Cafe in Minneapolis tonight at 7pm. Happy National Poetry Month. I hope you've enjoyed the first two weeks as much as I have.

Melinda Palacio's Upcoming Poetry Month Events
Los Angeles
Saturday: April 18, Cut Along the Line: An Evening of Readings in Conjunction with the Big Read at 7 pm. Craft & Folk Art Museum, 5814 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, California. In celebration of Luis Alberto's Urrea's novel Into the Beautiful North, writer Marisela Norte brings together writers Luis Alfaro, Kenji Liu and Melinda Palacio for a reading of poetry and prose.

Santa Barbara
April 19, Sunday Poets to read at the Book Den, 15 East Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA, 3pm sharp. Last year, this reading started on time and was standing room only. Take a day trip to Santa Barbara and come early to the poetry reading.

Baton Rouge
April 21, Louisiana State Poetry Reading at the State Library, 3rd Street, Baton Rouge, LA


April 26, Poetry Month Reading at Jefferson Parish Library, 4747 West Napoleon Avenue, Metairie, LA 70001. Melinda Palacio and Jose Torres Tama close out the library's poetry month program.

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