April 18, 2003

Magic, Music and Poetry at Border Voices Poetry Fair

The delicate humor and warmth of Francisco X. Alarcon, a leader of the Chicano literary movement . . .

The wit of Amy Gerstler, one of America’s most honored poets . . .

The all-American, improvised poetry of David Antin, who’s been called a cross between Mark Twain and Gertrude Stein . . .

The music of some of San Diego’s best-loved bands, including: internationally acclaimed jazz performers Mike Wofford and Holly Hofmann; Peter Sprague and his ban; and intriguing birder-singers from the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians . . .

These are just some of the featured attractions at the 10th annual Border Voices Poetry Fair, which will be held April 25-26 at San Diego State University. Parking is free both days in the university’s Parking Structure 1 just east of College Avenue.

The fair gets off to an explosive start Friday, April 25, as David Antin joins Peter Sprague and his band to mix music and poetry, gestures and silences and humor into an intriguing artistic melange. The festivities begin at 7 p.m. at SDSU’s Montezuma Hall, and are free and open to the public.

The second day of the fair begins shortly after 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 26, with a prayer ceremony by the Viejas Tribe of Kumeyaay Indians, followed by a taped welcome by Dana Gioia, poet and chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, This will be followed by readings by two Border Voces poet-teachers, Julia Doughty and Andres Monreal.

From 10:10 a.m. to 11 a.m., hundreds of student poets from throughout the county will be reading their poetry in various halls and conference rooms at Aztec Center. The students were participants in Border Voices poetry workshops held in school districts throughout the county and in Tijuana during the last year.

At 11:15 a.m. Francisco x. Alarcón, the Hispanic literary superstar, takes the stage, to be followed by Amy Gerstler, Sandra McPherson, Christine Huynh, and Donna J. Watson, with musical interludes and a one-hour panel discussion on “California Poets: At the Heart of a Landscape.”

Border Voices director Jack Webb says “there’s something for everyone at the fair. Francisco X. Alarcon has always been a big hit with kids, while parents find his wit and insight engaging. Amy Gerstler and David Antin are internationally and deservedly famous for their wit, and Sandra Mc-Pherson has one of the biggest names in the poetry business today. Christine Huynh and Donna J. Watson are just getting started as poets, but their skill and stage presence are remarkable.”

Cash and other awards will be presented to student poets throughout the day. The Border Voices program is also featured on the county’s Instructional TV program (channel 16 on Time Warner and Cox cable). There, viewers can see interviews and readings by poets who have appeared at past Border Voices fairs, including Billy Collins, Mexico City’s Alberto Blanco, Dana Gioia, Ernest Cardenal (in Spanish), W.S. Merwin, and others. A new series of shows, featuring the poets at the 2003 fair, will begin airing later this year.

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