What’s the Word Around Town?

August 2, 2013, by

WAT-Flyer-front2013Houston’s poetry scene continues to grow and that is definitely something to be proud of. This Sunday, the 2013 Word Around Town, often called WAT?!, kicks off. The week of poetry readings held at different venues throughout the city runs from August 4 – 10th. And Inprint is excited to host it on Monday, August 5th,  when WAT?! comes to Inprint House.

We asked one of the lead organizers of WAT?!, Stephen Gros, to talk to us about how the series got started and what’s in store for this coming week.

Inprint: How did WAT?! get started?

Stephen: WAT?! kicked off it’s inaugural tour in the summer of 2006 with 12 poets. It was an incredible achievement and was completely unprecedented in the city of Houston, whose open mic poetry community was not particularly cohesive or inclusive. At the time poets were loyal to their local open mic and most poets didn’t go to the other open mics around town. Zelene Pineda’s ground-breaking idea for an inner city tour that would highlight Houston’s diverse and talented poets while introducing them to new venues and audiences was a concept desperately needed. She brought the concept to renowned DJ and lyricist Joe B and myself. At the time, I was an open mic host and co-founder of Panhandler Publishing, and with our combined knowledge and connections we put together the first tour. Essentially we strung together the major open mics of the time, Taft Street Coffee, Helios, Gs & Zs, Mocha Life and others. To noone’s surprise the tour was an unmitigated success that continues to grow and mature with every year. Continue reading

Word Around Town 2012 In Review

August 29, 2012, by

In the earlier part of August Inprint friend and local arts blogger Dean Liscum made the rounds at the Word Around Town 2012 tour, a week full of poetry readings at different venues throughout the city, and shared some highlights with us. Now that he’s had some time to reflect on the tour, we touched base with Dean and get his final thoughts.

Inprint: Dean, we know you couldn’t go to all the evenings of the tour, but can you share two or three of your favorite moments with us?

Dean: The most remarkable aspect of WAT is the diversity of poets on the tour. Every city has a wide range of poets that represent a multitude of styles from personal and confessional to spoken-word/SLAM to lyrical to political to communal. Often they congregate in cliques. To hear their brand of poetry, you have to travel to a particular venue or event. Not at WAT, it is welcoming and all inclusive. This year’s tour even featured a performance artist, Boby Kallor, who would read a piece and then introduce another poet or performer, some who sang a Capella. In a hard core poetry scene (not as oxymoronic as it sounds) such as NYC’s Nuyorican Poets Cafe or D.C.’s Busboys and Poets that kind of stunt will get you thrown out on your iambic pentameter with bongos.  Continue reading