Poets to showcase offerings for listeners

Poets and poetry fans can expect a memorable weekend at the 2008 Autumn Poetry Festival, which will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. today and Saturday at the Jung Center, 5200 Montrose Blvd. The event will feature poetry readings by some of the Houston area’s most renowned poets, a book fair and a Saturday reception and panel discussion.

The panel discussion will be led by Mike Alexander and includes poets Larry D. Thomas, Fady Joudah, Radames Ortiz, Sharon Klander and Andr’eacute; de Korvin. Thomas, who holds the post of Texas Poet Laureate, will headline Friday night’s readings with Joudah, winner of the 2007 Yale Series for Younger Poets award.

The Autumn Poetry Festival events were organized after the cancellation of the 2008 Houston Poetry Fest, which had been held annually in October since 1985.

"We decided that it was a shame Houston would miss out on poetry in the fall…. After consulting with a number of other poets in the community who were supportive of the idea, (we) decided to move forward with an alternative†event," said Carolyn Adams who, along with her colleague R.T. Castleberry, organized the 2008 Autumn Poetry Festival.

The festival will also include an open mic reading from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium of the†Museum of Printing History, 1324 West Clay St. Sign-ups will begin at 1:30 p.m., and each poet will be allowed five minutes.

While the poetry readings showcase an older, more established crowd of poets, UH students interested in poetry and young poets are encouraged to attend.

"Art is always a fusion of old and new, and the arts are constantly in need of an infusion of fresh blood," Castleberry said. "When the already-famous W.B. Yeats wanted to ensure his poetry would stay contemporary and fresh, he hired the young, always fresh Ezra Pound as his secretary."

All festival events are free and open to the public. For more information, including a full list and schedule for the poetry readings, visit or the Jung Center at

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