san-antonio

Although I’ve been writing poetry since I was 15 years old, I entered the poetry scene here in San Antonio in 1992 after returning from a US Military 3 year tour of duty in Germany (England, and Saudi Arabia). I spoke to my first San Antonio poetry crowd gathered at King William Bookstore (now defunct) for Ed’s Poets Society. I met such influential poets like Darrell Pittman and Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. Their performance styles and their words inspired me all the more to continue expressing and promoting poetry in San Antonio. Many poetry venues came and went in those early years including Stone Soup, Excalibur Poets Society, and Clipper Ship Bookstore. The Excalibur Poets Society was also a very influential venue thanks to the host, Will Person. He allowed me to guest host the poetry reading a couple of times and it inspired me to consider hosting my own poetry reading.

Cafe Gaea1

Formerly Cafe Gaea, now a tax and bookkeeping office

In 1995, the Sun Poet’s Society started in a small coffeehouse called Cafe Gaea (now a tax and bookkeeping office). Brooke Mazella (the business owner) approached and asked me to take over a poetry reading on Thursdays. I decided to try my hand at it and when Brooke asked what I wanted to call it, I thought of the magazine I was publishing at the time called Sun Poetic Times (1994-2005) and chose the name: Sun Poet’s Society. The poetry reading lasted about 9 months before Cafe Gaea closed. I didn’t want SPS to fold like many other poetry venues in San Antonio so I decided to move the whole venue to Java Junction (now a sports bar). Coffee shop after coffee shop where the SPS poetry readings were held closed and I kept moving the venue so it would survive. SPS had its weekly open-mic readings at Barnes and Noble (321 N.W. Loop 410, across from North Star Mall) for 14 years.

Barnes and Noble

Since its humble beginnings, the Sun Poet’s Society now sponsors events in San Antonio that include, Writer’s Take a Hike (a hiking workshop) as well as a monthly writers workshop called the Sun Poet’s Society Writers Workshop. SPS members routinely speak at local schools (i.e. Luther Burbank High School, Lanier H.S., McCollum H.S., Cooper Middle School, Bexar County Juvenile Justice Academy, Jackson/Keller Elementary). We’ve had interviews by the San Antonio Current, articles in the Mesquite Review, and we were awarded the San Antonio Current’s Best Performance Art Event of 1998. We’ve also traveled to the Texas Bookfest (98-99, 2003), the Austin International Poetry Festival (1996-2015) and Forrest Fest (Lamesa, Texas, April 2006, April 2008). What Keeps the Sun Poets going? -Desire to keep the spoken word alive.

Rupert Hopkins (England) at Sun Poets

Rupert Hopkins (England) at Sun Poets

Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Rosemary Nissen-Wade (Australia)

Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

In the 20 plus years that the Sun Poet’s Society has held our weekly poetry readings, poets from every corner of the world crossed the Sun Poets stage. Poets from countries like Singapore, England, Australia, and Germany have shared their words with the Sun Poets. We’ve also had city and state poets laureate (like Dr. Carmen Tafolla, Larry Thomas, and Nathan Brown) perform for the Sun Poets. It has truly been an honor and privilege to have so many grace our poetry reading and our fair city with their unique words and voices.

Nathan Brown at Sun Poets

Nathan Brown (Former Oklahoma State Poet Laureate) at Sun Poets

After providing 20 years of poetry to San Antonio, we currently hold our open-mic poetry readings at Olmos Pharmacy Diner, 3902 McCullough Ave. and we hope to continue inspiring poets, poetry lovers, hobbyists, writers, singers, artists, and more for many years to come.

Olmos Pharmacy Diner

Olmos Pharmacy Diner

Surfing the Internet one day, I stumbled on a web site for Local Guides listings of San Antonio arts events. The Literate Lizard Writer’s Workshop (Now the Sun Poet’s Society Writers Workshop) was listed. Jennifer Wehunt reviewed the now defunct Calcutta Coffeehouse (where the workshop was held) and referred to the Sun Poets as “knights of serious spoken-word.” I was pleasantly surprised, but decided that is what keeps the Sun Poets going, its reason for its existence: knights of serious spoken word, champions for writers and artists the world over. The Sun Poet’s Society can do no less.

Dr. Carmen Tafolla, Texas State Poet Laureate

Dr. Carmen Tafolla, Texas State Poet Laureate 2015, at Sun Poet’s Society 20th Anniversary Event

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Comments
  1. A great, long running venue!

  2. out of all the open mics i’ve ever attended regularly, SPS will always be my favorite!

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