This event was cancelled due to Kalamu's health concerns. We very much wish him a speedy recovery.

Lit Balm will kick off the 2022 New Orleans Poetry Festival with a show focusing on the life and work of New Orleans poet Kalamu ya Salaam. Presenters will read from Kalamu's work, discuss his work's importance, and engage in a direct discussion with Kalamu about his inspirations, directions, and accomplishments. The show will begin with poems from Lit Balm's hosts and end with an open mic. Full list of presenters to be announced.



A reading to celebrate the launch of the third issue of second factory, a journal from Ugly Duckling Presse. Second Factory showcases work from a variety of poets and artists in each issue. Spotted like a bird in the wild, heard as a grinding piece of machinery, Second Factory manifests in examples: an office park of shadows; a vast and boundless shed; a grape in the risograph; a butterfly in a net. Issue 3 features work by Virginie Poitrasson (tr. Mary Reilly), Lana Lephamer, Homa Zarghamee, Emmalea Russo, Claire Dougherty, Bianca Messinger, Chad Reynolds, Katherine Gibbel, Austin Rodenbiker, Guillermo Rebollo-Gil, Ariel Yelen, Patty Nash, Holly Woodward, Emily Barton Altman, J. Vera Lee, Noreen Khawaja, Tesa Blue Flores, Larry Blazek, Timmy Straw, Sara Ann Gilmore, and Joe Milutis.



Over two decades ago, a small group of New Orleans teacher-writers resolved to meet every other Sunday to read and critique each other's poetry "cold." Through the Hurricane Katrina aftermath and Covid-19 pandemic, this workshop has continued to meet. Original members of this poetry workshop will briefly discuss the origin and evolution of the group over the past twenty years. All group members will read poems that the workshop helped them re-envision. 90 minutes.



This roundtable will feature a discussion and readings by three Louisiana-based poets who engage ecopoetics through different modes and lenses. Each poet will discuss and read from recent projects, highlighting the ecopoetical intersections with their other concerns as poets, humans, and readers. 

Olivia Muenz is a disabled writer whose forthcoming chapbook Where Was I Again (Essay Press) considers the relationship between disability and environment. She’ll discuss embodiment, the social and medical models of disability, and the cyborg (among other things) and their positions within ecopoetics.

ava hofmann is a poet, writer, and visual artist, whose experimental and multimodal work concerns itself with trans/queer history, Marxism, and the frustrated desire inherent to encounters with the literary archive.

Ian Lockaby is a poet and translator, based in New Orleans. His translation of the innovative ecopoetical text Gardens, by Chilean poet, Carlos Cociña was published last year by Cardboard House Press. He’ll discuss how translation can be thought about through an ecological lens, and will read some of his translations, alongside his own work.



This panel will consist of several writers of color discussing the poetics of agenre, mixed genre, cross-genre, and hybrid work, as well as various approaches to lyricism and antipoetry in terms of building the “world” of a piece. The panelists will discuss how their individual works (and worlds) incorporate theory, song, visual art, plot, erasure and typography, and/or multiple voices and narrators as a means to break away from—and also break down—the idea of Western, “formal” constructs. Additionally, we will also discuss the possibilities that occur when working with and against literary genres, tropes, and traditions, so that our conversation will speak to the speculative, comedic, tragic, romantic, mundane, and mysterious aspects that arise when one asks the question: What is poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and where is the line between them?

Panelists include Kenning JP Garcia, Daphne Maysonet, Rone Shavers, and Dana Venerable.



Queer history is innately informed by lack, by myriad lacunae. Our collective cultural consciousness is permeated by an intractable trajectory of systemic omissions, missing reels and redacted documents. Our subjective lineages are porous and incomplete, equally marked by loss and by potentiality. How can we explore the negative space within the archive, what film scholar Giuliana Bruno refers to as "streetwalking on a ruined map," as both a generative constraint and as a locus for utopian revisionism?

In this program we will investigate the liminal circumferences and sacred geometries that materialize within the nebulous interstices of data and detritus. Gaps in our quantitative knowledge, holes in both logic and in bodies, celestial and corporeal, correlate directly to Samuel Delany's concept of "the unspeakable"; knowledge that can only be transmitted somatically or by paralinguistic activity, circumnavigating conventional societal boundaries. In this sense, we can utilize the hole as an oblique strategy, to experiment with the limitations of language and the representational power of illegibility.

Through open dialogue, interdisciplinary performance, and immersive engagement with contemporary poetics, we will work through the intrinsic queerness and multifaceted semiotics of the hole:

*as nexus of quantum entanglement 

*as weaponized erasure 

*as topography of contagion 

*as formal construct

*as glitch in the matrix

*as means of divination

*as an erotic commons that catalyzes alternative modes of social reproduction

These interlocking methodologies and spheres of inquiry are simultaneously indebted to Jose Esteban Munoz’ theories of queer temporality, as they are to Sappho's fragments, to cryptolects such as Polari, to trans oral histories, to the innumerable pseudonyms etched into toilet stalls or attributed to pornographic performers. Together we will gaze deep into the collective void and utilize a fully hole-istic approach, allowing ample capacity for play, risk, and indeterminacy along the way.



What topics and forms are deemed “poetic,” and what gets to become a poem? Formal or free verse, every text has the capacity to rupture familiar structures or elevate mundane objects. As poet Michele Battiste told Gulf Coast magazine, “Poetry bears witness. History is best documented not by scholars or journalists or writers of textbooks, but by poets and artists in all of our enraged or fascinated or seduced subjectivities.” What can the everyday tell us about history, about witness? Six poets share works that prioritize hybridity (of forms, of topics, of ideologies) and explore the so-called “lowbrow” and the quotidian—whether through pop culture, mundane experiences, familiar stories and myths, or found texts. Group reading featuring Stacey Balkun, Joshua Nguyen, Ellie Black, Maggie Graber, Lenna Mendoza, Marina Greenfeld






Poets and translators reading from recent Lavender Ink / Diálogos releases, featuring:

Blue Window CoverIndran Amirthanayagam with translator Jennifer Rathbun reading from Blue Window (Ventana Azul):

In our time, it’s rare to find poets still writing about the glory of romantic love. A noble tradition, from Sappho to Neruda, seemed to be exhausted. But the poems in Blue Window read like a gift the Muse has handed down to Indran Amirthanayagam.
—Jaime Manrique, author of Cervantes Street

Murderous SkyRosemary Daniell reading from The Murderous Sky: Poems of Madness and Mercy, 

In this searing journey through a mother’s broken heart, Rosemary Daniell’s exquisitely wrought poems transmute suffering into splendor, unspeakable pain into echoing beauty, heralding redemption for both writer and readers.
—Joyce Zonana, author of Dream Homes: From Cairo to Katrina, an Exile’s Journey

quarantinaKit Robinson reading from Quarantina:

A secret philosopher who embeds truth in a poetic practice of instants accumulating into something more than whole—like a rainstorm of many tiny drops—Robinson constructs in Quarantina a narrative of thought to keep us all steady within our shared story of a time broken by a virus. Our unexpected suffering and some unanticipated delights are coolly observed and carefully deployed in a celebration of wit and integrity.  
—Rodger Kamenetz, author of Dream Logic and Yonder

with urgencyAicha Bassry with translator Mbarek Sryfi reading from With Urgency: A Selection of Poems

Aicha Bassry takes us on a journey of the heart, mapped in deceptively simple language grounded in elemental imagery and sensuous metaphors. The words on the page are also incantation and exorcism, “votive offerings on cold nights,” the last rampart against fear and alienation.
—Hélène Stafford, Oxford University

 there wasNorman Fischer reading from There was a clattering as…

“There was a clattering as…”, is a poem about the plague, human condition, world materiality, soul fertility, and the mutual creation of God and human. This poem seems to me a dialog between all of humanity and God. … This book is magnificent and as human as it could get.
—Maged Zaher, author of Early, New and Collected Poems and The Consequences of my Body

hechizo coverMark Statman reading from Hechizo

The poems in Statman’s beautiful new book Hechizo occupy the thin place between life and death, dream and waking, love and loss. His words cast a spell on the reader; one can hear the music in each line−as if there were a voice emanating from the page. In his work, the Mexican landscape is pulsating with life, but so are the recently and long dead, as well as vibrant memories of life and people left behind.
—Joanna Fuhrman



Live events will commence on Thursday April 21 at 7pm with our first live reading, featuring New Orleans poets Karisma Price, Té V. Smith, Henry Goldkamp, & Daniel W.K. Lee, presented by The Splice Poetry Series & Tilted House.

Venue: Saturn Bar, 3067 St Claude Ave, 70117.  (Google map)



Friday April 22 at 7 PM we will host our International Feature, at Zeitgeist Theater. Headlining the event will be Mexican performance poet and multimedia artist Rocío Cerón, Chilean poet Enrique Winter, and Chilean indigenous poets and advocates Jaime Luis Huenún and Daniela Catrileo with translators Thomas Rothe and Edith Adams.

Note: Rocío Cerón will perform a piece from her book Diorama entirely in Spanish. For mono-lingual viewers, this is a link to the English translation.

Venue: Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center, 6621 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70032 (Google Map)



Bookfair and Readings at Greenway Station, 9 AM - 4 PM. (Google Map)



At 11am, these poets will take the main stage at the Lafitte Greenway for ten-minute sets.



From utopian movements to doomsday cults, the American landscape is a fertile ecosystem of religious extremisms that continue to define and divide us. This performance showcases the work of three poets who came of age in unconventional and immersive religious environments. Rodney Jones was raised in a non-denominational sect of Christianity that practiced faith healing, in a town where "every church had something strange about it, from snake handlers to foot washers." Kathleen Balma spent early adolescence in a fundamentalist Christian group home that banned secular culture, welcomed the total destruction of the environment, and practiced Gay conversion therapy. Sarah Colón grew up in a New Age cult that promoted reading and education while preparing for an impending nuclear disaster. As extreme polarization and cult thinking become increasingly normalized in the United States and the world, these poets invite you to consider both the unique challenges and the unexpected creative benefits of life in a radical religion you didn't choose. All three poets will read selections of new or forthcoming work, followed by a Q&A session.



For this reading, four poets whose work considers family, fragmentation, home, culture, and identity come together to share their work. The event will occupy 60 minutes of time and includes a comprehensive introduction and short biographical introductions for each poet before they read. The four poets include three Ph.D. students in USM’s Center for Writers: Katherine Gaffney, Jennifer Polson Peterson, Emily M. Goldsmith, and one MA student: Anna Bagoly. The theme of this reading centers on family, and the poems collectively explore immigration, perspective, ritual, trauma, isolation, language, reforging identity, hybridity, the divine, and vulnerability. 



At 2pm, these poets will take the main stage at the Lafitte Greenway for ten-minute sets.



Poets from Dillard University reading and performing their work.



Our Purpose

    To build community connection through collaboration under the guise of poetry

Mission Statement: To increase the awareness, interaction and participation of poets  and poetry with the public at large. This is done to enhance the contribution of poetry in all aspects of contemporary society.

The Poetry Matters Project consists of three programs.

I. Poetry Matters Literary Prizes

Mission Statement: We believe the intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end we agree to: Conduct our contest as ethically as possible. Provide clear and specific contest guidelines/defining conflict of interest for all parties involved. Make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public.

II. Community Based Programs

 Open Mic/ Spoken Word Events: Community Guest Readers-

III. Community Collaborations

 Publication of anthologies with P.R.A. Publishing.     

Internships: Augusta and Tulane Universities



NOPF presents its main event, featuring Rickey Laurentiis and Joyelle McSweeney.

Venue: Greenway Station, 436 N Norman C Francis Parkway, 70119   (Google Map)



Form and Discontent is a group of writers of color who are focused upon pushing the boundaries of what can be said and how it can be said. We are speculative writers. We are experimental writers. We are writers who blur the lines between prose and poetry as well as between fiction and nonfiction. 



At 11am, these poets will take the main stage at the Lafitte Greenway for ten-minute sets.



Join graduate students from The University of Southern Mississippi for a reading! We'll have six readers - five poets and one fiction writer. Each reader will have between 8 and 10 minutes. Readers will be David Greenspan, Matthew Moniz, Apoorva Mittal, Tyler Smith, Mary Christensen, and Dylan Loring. 



Six poets will come together in support of the the online journal, Unlikely StoriesUnlikely Stories has been running on the web, more-or-less continuously, since 1998. It publishes poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, cultural and artistic criticism, visual art, music, movies, and other web-based works. Unlikely Stories has pursued a unique, transgressive, and experimental aesthetic. At the same time, it has sought to publish both established and emerging authors, offering many now-known authors their first publication credit. In 2005, Unlikely Books was founded, expanding the reach of Unlikely Stories into paperbacks, e-books, and hardback volumes of poetry and prose.

Unlikely Stories is diverse, and accordingly, our presence at the New Orleans Poetry Festival will feature a diverse group of poets: demographically, geographically, and aesthetically: Ashanti Anderson (New Orleans), Wendy Taylor Carlisle (Eureka Springs, AR), Gina Ferrara (New Orleans), Kenning JP García (Albany, NY), Cecilia Martinez-Gil (Santa Monica, CA) and Jeff Weddle (Tuscaloosa, AL).



A poetry reading that would center around the poetry of location, of place, and how it is transformed, articulated, and experienced as queers, as a theme. Antonio Addessi would introduce the poets and we would be reading 3-4 poems each. All together 4 poets—Antonio, and local New Orleanian poets Daniel W.K. Lee, Z'étoile Imma, and Brad Richard. We then would like to follow the reading with a panel discussion moderated by Antonio discussing with the poets about their experience of being queer and being a part of the New Orleans community. Some of the topics we will explore is inspiration for writing, the writing process and how New Orleans herself has impacted their writing. In essence, we would explore writer Nick Spitzer’s articulation of “creolization,” that is, the conjoining of “multiple sources in new identities and expressions, continuously co-mingling and adapting traditions in ways that link the local, regional, and global.”




Desperate Living Reading Series began in April of 2020 during the COVID19 quarantine on Zoom as a way to reunite our friends in poetry during isolation. We named it after a favorite film by John Waters during a time  Desperate Living conditions in the height of the pandemic while simultaneously gesturing toward queer transgressive yet playful artistic production, particularly under moments of duress! 


For the NOLA Poetry Festival we will showcase a curation of New York City-based queer readers in a new setting, featuring new work thematically linked to Desperate Living.



Kay Gabriel

Ry Dunn

Becca Teich

Kamikaze Jones

Shiv Kotecha