From my friend Jim LaVilla-Havelin

SLAM THE TOWN!!! National Poetry Month in San Antonio 2012 - March 10-May 13,2012

Wherever you are, on April 1 (and because April 1 is a Sunday, April 2, as well): Use this sheet  to type, hand-write, print – a poem you like (your own, someone else’s, famous, unknown). Make copies and get them out to everyone you know, and folks you don’t know, too.

Under windshield wipers, in work mailboxes, at restaurants, on chairs, on buses, to your email list. SLAM THE TOWN with poems, poems as gifts, poems as a way of letting everyone know how important poetry is in all of our lives.  (If you use a poem that is copyrighted, in a book, please note where the poem can be found, cite the source.)

Hold Everything Dear

as the brick of the afternoon stores the rose heat of the journey

as the rose buds a green room to breathe

and blossoms like the wind

as the thinning birches whisper their silver stories of the wind to the urgent

in the trucks

as the leaves of the hedge store the light

that the moment thought it had lost

as the nest of her wrist beats like the chest of a wren in the morning air

as the chorus of the earth find their eyes in the sky

and unwrap them to each other in the teeming dark

hold everything dear

the calligraphy of birds across the morning

the million hands of the axe, the soft hand of the earth

one step ahead of time

the broken teeth of tribes and their long place

steppe-scattered and together

clay’s small, surviving handle, the near ghost of a jug

carrying itself towards us through the soil

the pledge of offered arms, the single sheet that is our common walking

the map of the palm held

in a knot

but given as a torch

hold everything dear

the paths they make towards us and how far we open towards them

the justice of a grass than unravels palaces but shelters the songs of the searching

the vessel that names the waves, the jug of this life, as it fills with the days

as it sinks to become what it loves

memory that grows into a shape the tree always knew as a seed

the words

the bread

the child who reaches for the truths beyond the door

the yearning to begin again together

animals keen inside the parliament of the world

the people in the room the people in the street the people

hold everything dear

–Gareth Evans

I found the poem on this wonderful art blog by painter Deborah Barlow, http://slowmuse.wordpress.com/. She (and many others) have picked it up from painter, essayist, political activist, writer and Marxist John Berger's book of the same title. (The poem was written for Mr. Berger and before you slink away from the term Marxist, read his comments in Orion magazine here.)

I have not been able to exactly trace Mr. Evans, but he might also be a producer. Anyone who knows if there are more poems of his out there, let me know, as I would like to read them!

VIA Poetry Contest

Passed along by poet and artist friend Martha K. Grant> Get your pencils sharpened.


 VIA Metropolitan Transit will begin its 2011 poetry contest earlier this year to allow time to coordinate with other art programs.

Called “Poetry on the Move,” the contest is open to anyone over 18 years of age in Central and South Texas (except for VIA employees and their families), and entries can be sent in beginning October 1 and running through November 17. The winning poetry will be displayed on VIA buses and vans during National Poetry Month in April 2011.

 Contestants can submit up to three poems each, and the works must be understandable by a wide audience, free of any offensive language, and without obscure references. Entries should be mailed to VIA Metropolitan Transit c/o Jerri Ann Jones, Public Affairs, P.O. Box 12489, San Antonio, Texas 78212. Submissions should be postmarked by November 17, 2010, and winners will be notified before their work is published in VIA’s fleet.

 To be eligible, each poem should be typed or printed and sent by mail. No fax or e-mail submissions will be accepted. Each poem needs to be ten lines or shorter (including the title and spaces), and the author’s name or any other identifying information cannot appear on the poems themselves.

Contestants should include a cover letter that contains the title (or first line) of each poem; name, address, and telephone number of the author; a one-line bio; and a signed permission line that reads: “I hereby give VIA Metropolitan Transit permission to use my poem(s) on their buses, vans, or other agency publications as well as in National Poetry Month San Antonio publicity.”

 Poets will retain all rights for future publication. All poems must be original work and cannot have been previously published. The poems themselves will not be returned, but the winners will be notified by mail.

 In addition to being displayed on VIA’s fleet, the winning poems will also be recorded in the authors’ voices and made available through Refarm Spectacle, and they will be given to five teen youth art programs to create designs for the bus interior cards.


Poem for the Season

It's not May, but here in South Texas (even with the little cold snap that we're coping with, sweaters back out of the cupboard), it is blossom time. And it's also poetry month, I understand. Here's a poem by Ann Porter I could not resist sharing. Please leave one of your own, or a link to a favorite in the comments, if you'd like to share.

When winter was half over
God sent three angels to the
Who said to her
"Be glad, you little rack
Of empty sticks,
Because you have been chosen.

In May you will become
A wave of living sweetness
A nation of white petals
A dynasty of apples."

- Anne Porter