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7 Reasons to Be Part of Poetry Palooza! April 6 – 8, 2023

Poetry Palooza! 2023

March 21, 2023

Poetry Palooza! is just around the corner in Downtown Des Moines (DSM), and thanks to local organizations like Humanities Iowa, Mainframe Studios, Franklin Jr. High Event Center and the Iowa Poetry Association, the festival will offer events celebrating local poets, encourage artist networking and more.Poetry Palooza Logo

Reasons to Attend

1. April is Poetry Month

Free your mind while celebrating the joys of poetry! For nearly 20 years, Des Moines was known for its dynamic Des Moines National Poetry Festival which ended in 2006. Last year, an energetic group of poetry lovers came together to revive and pay homage to the earlier festivals. The group, Poetry &, is an Iowa-based nonprofit organization created to advance awareness and appreciation for poetry and poets through educational events that celebrate the written and spoken word. The group is dedicated to nurturing creativity, encouraging understanding and enriching lives by making the cultural and communication benefits of poetry accessible — especially to underserved communities. Already, they have sponsored popular poetry events including Poetry and Pie in the Park, Poetry on the Prairie in Perry and Pop-Up Poetry events and now they are promoting their signature three-day event, Poetry Palooza!

2. Poetry Palooza! Promises to Be Packed with a Powerhouse of Poets + Poetry

From slam poetry to the ancient art of haiku, you can experience poetry in all its amazing forms during the three days of events. Four poets laureates, former and current, and two nationally acclaimed performance poets join Iowa poets and artists in celebrating this expressive art form in Des Moines. Find a complete schedule at poetryamp.org.

Read more about the four poets laureate.

3. Experience a Poetry Slam

To kick off the Palooza, the Iowa Poetry Association will host its final competition at the Franklin Jr. High Event Center on Thursday night from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad will welcome featured poet Akwi Nji and 12 outstanding finalists from three Iowa poetry slam competitions as they compete for the honor of advancing on to the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) national competition. (The NFSPS’ Annual National Convention will be held in Iowa in June.)

4. Share the Joy of our Diverse Community

Poetry Palooza! aims to strengthen our community across diverse groups and perspectives by increasing empathy and understanding. During the day on Friday, guest poets will be paired with local schools and organizations to introduce students to poetry and inspire them to create their own. Poetry & is grateful to the many wonderful community organizations and individuals who have joined in supporting its mission, including Humanities Iowa and countless other donors.

5. Mix, Mingle + Meet up at Mainframe Studio for First Friday

Join in the fun (from 5 to 9 p.m.) as dozens of artists and poets collaborate during Mainframe’s popular monthly gathering. Wander through the building, visit artist studios and listen to readings by guest poets while enjoying refreshments and interactive exhibits. Deb Marquart and her Bone People will sing her surprising and humorous verse. Be wowed by performance poets Caleb Rainey, B. Well and Kelsey Bigelow. Attendees are welcome to join in open mic performances, listen to a gathering of local poets and create container art or clay figures inspired by poetry. Beaverdale Books will have books by performing poets available for sale and signing.

6. Immerse Yourself in Award-Winning Poetry

Reserve your spot to enjoy star-powered performances (from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Big Room) by current and former State Poets Laureate — Deb Marquart (IA), Matt Mason (NE), Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg (KS), Catherine Stewart-Nunez (SD) plus our Guest Poets Akwi Nji and Caleb Rainey. An Open Mic program for established, emerging and first-time poets will immediately follow.

7. Wrap Up with Workshops on Saturday

Attend a workshop offered by poet laureates and guest poets, for writers and artists, beginning and experienced. Workshop titles include Poetry as a Healing Path; Let’s Write a Ridiculous, Meaningful Poem; Co-Creation and Containers; and Exercises in Revision. Registration is recommended. The event will conclude with a Panel Lunch: Deepening the Poetry Community.

Need more reasons?

Poetry can soothe your body and soul, release stress, inspire creativity and is just plain fun. Don’t miss being a part of this year’s premier poetry event: Poetry Palooza! April 6 - 8 in Des Moines. New and seasoned poets are encouraged to participate. All events are free, but an R.S.V.P is appreciated. For complete details and to register, visit poetryamp.org and find updates at facebook.com/poetryamp.

Header image from poetryamp.org.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership calendar of events is a one-stop resource for activities taking place throughout the region. Find networking information for Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses or events specific to Downtown DSM.

Jan Danielson Kaiser

Jan Danielson Kaiser is Marketing & Events Coordinator for Beaverdale Books, where she hosts and promotes author events, reads a multitude of ARCs, and elicits occasional eyerolls from her coworkers for her enthusiastic responses to books and readers.