Speaking in Tongues Workshop/Reading

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A nice event, indeed! 

There we are, a little slice of the beautiful RGV poetry community. From left: Anthony Ripp, Brenda Nettles Riojas, Odilia Galvan Rodriguez, Edward Vidaurre, Me, Celina Gomez, Emmy Perez and Ronnie Garza.

It had been awhile since I'd participated in a poetry reading, and with my big move ahead, I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of this opportunity to meet with my fellow Valley poets. I'm glad I did! There were plenty of hugs to be had :)

The event took place at Rio Grande Grill in Harlingen. It's a nifty little restaurant that serves BBQ and tacos, good Tex Mex. They had us in a private room so we could have some peace away from the noise of the restaurant. The vibe felt comfy and cozy -- perfect for the reading/workshop, which is a part of a series organized by Odilia. Emmy, Edward, and Brenda were featured. I read at the open mic. 

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Here I am, reading a few of my newest poems. They're from my currently disorganized/crazy collection in-the-works, Iliad of Bones. One of the reasons I love smallish readings like this one is that it provides the kind of venue that encourages you to share new work, to experiment. So these were never-read-before poems. One of them was about B's recent "supernatural" experience seeing a ghost. He's superstitious. I'm not. So it's about how we both come to terms with the experience. The other poem I read was "Leaving El Valle" which, wahhhhhh, is recent and illustrative of my current state of mind as I prepare to do just that.

Goodness, I'm going to miss these folks. Having them in my life has really helped me thrive and grow as a poet. What I like best about our scene is that it's very eclectic. Some of us have MFAs, some of us don't. We write in different styles. We have unique voices. Some of us are religious/spiritual. Some of us write love poems. Some of us write political protest poems. But with all of these differences, we come together, break bread, sip beer, and share. It's a beautiful thing we have going; I'm going to miss it dearly. 

In the coming months, I'll be searching for a new "tribe" in southeast Texas. I've submitted to the Houston Poetry Festival. It's juried, so who knows, but even if I'm not chosen to read, I plan to scope it out to meet people. I've also signed up to read at a local bookstore in Houston in August. I hope to connect with some Beaumont area poets, too. It'll be an adjustment, for sure, but it's so important to have/build/foster that sense of artistic community. It's on my list of priorities, right after, um, finding a place to live. And a good vegetarian restaurant :D