Word Around Town Celebrates 10 years with citywide poetry tour

July 31, 2015, by

11014968_978827775475073_8222462771485068992_nThis Sunday, the 10th anniversary season of Houston’s widely celebrated Word Around Town (WAT?!) Poetry Tour begins. The tour features seven straight nights of poetry in seven different venues across the city. The tour will feature 16 of Houston’s top poets and a select nightly feature.

The WAT?! Poetry Tour kicked-off its inaugural launch in the summer of 2006 with 12 poets. The tour’s purpose is twofold: 1) to introduce poets to venues they’ve never been to and 2) to expose audiences to poets they’ve never heard before. This year’s tour features  Kool B, Brother Said, Chris Crawford, Gerald Cedillo, Deep, Corina Delgado, Winston Derden, Marlon Lizama, Tracy Lyall, Jonathan Moody, Joshua Nguyen, Nyne, Bishop Ragtime, Bucky Rea, Roses, and Royal the Poet.

We had a chance to interview Lupe Mendez, Houston writer and one of the lead organizers of the tour.

INPRINT: How long have you been involved with WAT and how has being involved with it shaped you as a Houston writer?

LUPE: I have been one of the lead organizers for the tour for the last 7 years; with this tour, it marks my 8th year as an organizer.  I would say organizing has helped me push the limits of discipline in my own writing time. It’s been a good 5 years since I have held a spot in the line up and so getting to hear such amazing poetry from the featured poets encourages me to sharpen my words, it builds the excitement in my own writing.

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Houston Tiny Press Part 1: “DIY Ain’t Easy, Baby”

July 8, 2015, by

11289035_10206706164962998_3628100838413190612_oAlthough Houston proves itself in the literary arena with multiple organizations hosting readings, workshops, and arts journals, our sprawling oil city isn’t the first place people think of when they imagine an extensive scene for actually publishing those works. However, this city is proving itself in that sphere as well. Houston is experimenting, fruitfully, with tiny presses. Some of these small publishers are working to blur the lines between craft and literary production, while others are trying to pull the DIY culture of zines into a more traditionally poetry and prose-based atmosphere.

I sat down with Traci Lavois Thebaud and Kalen Rowe to discuss their DIY-based literary projects, Anklebiters Publishing and Whatever, Mom Publications.

Sara: Talk about your projects (publishing and otherwise!). What role do you think you have in Houston?

Kalen: My friend Chris Wesley and I had been talking about making an anonymous poetry zine, and wanted our friends to contribute. All of us helped make the first two issues of what we called Poets Anonymous. The zines were made cheaply and DIY with ten poems by ten poets in each. I printed a few on my printer until the ink ran out and Chris printed the majority at his mom’s work.  Continue reading