The first ever Magic City Poetry Festival is set for April 2-7 in Birmingham just in time for National Poetry Month.

The Magic City Poetry Festival is the brainchild of award-winning poet Ashley M. Jones, who serves as director of the festival.

“Birmingham needs every good thing,” Ashley said when asked why she decided to organize the festival. “This city is so special, not only to me but to all of us who call it home. We have the history, the culture, the artistic spirit to support a celebration like this one, and I’m glad I could be a part of making it happen. This city has inspired so much art, and this festival is just one small way of showing it off.”

The following events have been planned for this year’s festival:

  • Opening Mixer and Open Mic, Monday, April 2 at Studio 2500. This event features local poets Lauren Goodwin Slaughter, L. Lamar Wilson, Laura Secord, Shaunteka LaTrese, and youth poets from Real Life Poets, Inc. And this event can feature you, too! Come ready to share your work at the open mic portion of the event.
  • 50 Years Post MLK Keynote Event sponsored by PEN America, Wednesday, April 4 at the Civil Rights Institute. At the keynote event, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, writers Kiese Laymon and Jacqueline Trimble will share their work and discuss race, progress, and the media in the American South.
  • Wine, Cheese, and Poetry Social, Thursday, April 5 at Naked Art Gallery. You’ll have another chance to share your work at this event!
  • Closing Community Poetry Showcase, Saturday, April 7 at Desert Island Supply Co. and hosted by Alabama Writers Conclave. The final event of the festival is a community poetry showcase featuring poets See Jane Write member Kwoya Fagin Maples, Katherine Webb, Maria Vargas, Tina Mozelle Braziel, Jason McCall, and two youth poets from the Woodlawn Writers Corps. DJ Rynea Soul will be on the ones and twos!

To learn more about the Magic City Poetry Festival, check out my latest column for B-Metro and a profile of Ashley I recently wrote for StyleBlueprint Birmingham. And don’t forget to buy your Magic City Poetry Festival t-shirt. All proceeds to go the Woodlawn Writers Corps.