The Annual Neruda Poetry Festival celebrates Chicano oral tradition and flor y canto (flower and song) meaning a flowery, rhythmic style of reciting poetry. Each year, visiting artists define the individual mood of the festival; for this year, in particular, the late poet Raúl R. Salinas's motto says it best: "From the Bebop Generation to the Hip Hop Nation."
"Our artistic director, Tony Garcia, really likes the spoken-word form. He thinks of it as the next step in Chicano theater," says John Kuebler, media contact for El Centro Su Teatro, which is hosting the festival. "Many artists are doing these hip-hop-influenced spoken-word theater acts, so there's kind of a merging of these forms."
Events include tonight's interpretation of the works of poet Lalo Delgado by Su Teatro actors (starting at 8:05 p.m.), tomorrow's Barrio Poetry Slam competition (including a $500 prize), Saturday afternoon's Tacos and Words Literary Salon part reading, part taco lunch and roundtable discussion and Saturday night's spoken-word event, Palabras Vivas. Literary luminaries such as Nuyorican Poets' Cafe original Sandra Maria Esteves, acclaimed poet Sheryl Luna and Cafe Cultura co-founder Bobby Lefebre will appear as special guests.