The Southern California Poetry Festival is an annual celebration of the art of poetry and the diversity of voices within Southern California. All programs and workshops are free.

The festival kicks off with a landmark event: the official renaming of Beyond Baroque’s theater after groundbreaking poet, L.A. literary icon, and Beyond Baroque alumna Wanda Coleman. In celebration of the new Wanda Coleman Theater, the evening will feature a ceremony and reception, performances by Terrance Hayes and Mimi Tempestt, and readings of Coleman’s poems by Pam Ward, Luis J. Rodriguez, Sesshu Foster, and Laurel Ann Bogen. This November would have been Wanda’s 77th birthday, and marks the 10th anniversary of her passing. Please join us in celebrating her legacy in the theater which she called home throughout her career as a poet.

On Saturday, November 18, we’ll feature generative workshops on the craft of poetry and present emerging voices of the SoCal Literary scene curated by Huizache, World Stage Press, Lambda Literary, Air/Light and more. Iranian-American poets Frieda Afary, Majid Naficy, and Sheida Mohamadi, in partnership with PEN America, will read poetry in translation from Iran celebrating the Woman Life Freedom Movement. Poets Juan Felipe Herrera, Safia Elhillo, & Marcelo Hernandez Castillo will read new work commissioned by Beyond Baroque as part of the NEW Series.

Sunday, November 19, features workshops by Amanda Ackerman and William Archila; readings curated by Graywolf Press, the Tuesday Night Project, and the Inlandia Institute; and a bilingual reading and conversation with three dynamic Latinx poets featured in Donde Somos Humanos/Somewhere We Are Human Authentic Voices on Migration, Survival, and New Beginnings, moderated by the anthology editor, Sonia Guiñasca. A reading and conversation curated by Diane Ward explores the influence of Language Poetry and other experimental poetics. The festival will conclude with a powerful set of readings by Sally Wen Mao, Muriel Leung, and others.

About the Festival
The Southern California Poetry Festival was founded in 2016 by Sonia Greenfield and Donna Hilbert in partnership with the Poetry Foundation. The festival moved permanently to Los Angeles’ historic home for poetry, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, in 2018. Beyond Baroque now organizes and curates the festival with the support of several partner organizations. The 2023 festival is funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles.

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