More Features!
As your and our festival approaches the 25th year, we are bringing back many previous Features and a few new Features.  One new Feature is Brooke Axtell.

Brooke Axtell featured for AIPF when we were at Story Bar this fall.  Brooke was published in our 2001 di-vêrsé-city Anthology.  Hometown talent, writer, speaker, and survivor advocate Brooke Axtell will join us and share her profound and moving work. “When we express our creativity,” she said, “we have the power to decide how we will relate to our trauma and the story we will tell about our lives.”  A survivor of human trafficking and domestic abuse, Axtell is the founder of SHE: Survivors Healing and Empowerment. Watch her powerful spoken word performance at the 2015 Grammy Awards.

Barbara Youngblood Carr, Local Feature (Poet Laureate of 2013 AIPF)
Author of many (we lost count after 18) books of poetry/prose and short stories about her Native American Cherokee heritage and growing up in Texas, the South and Southwest (9 books in her Ancestor Series partially funded by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division). Served as an active API Board member for 23 years. Editor of di-vêrsé-city 2009 through 2013 (was Co-Editor for 7 years). 2012 AIPF Festival Director. Editor of the 2012 and 2013 di-vêrsé-city Youth Anthology. Member of many other creative/writing organizations. Editor for A Galaxy of Verse (2004-2010). Owner and Editor of Dreamers Three Press and Little Chicken Fried Books.  National Poet Laureate for the Military Order of the Purple Heart in Washington 2005-2008. Received the first National White Buffalo Native American Poet Laureate Award.

Joaquin Zihuatanejo, State Feature (2016 AIPF Feature)
Joaquín Zihuatanejo is the only spoken word poet on the planet to win the Individual World Poetry Slam in the states and the European World Cup of Poetry Slam in Paris, France. A published poet, and award-winning teacher, Joaquín ‘s work has been featured in Prairie Schooner, Sonora Review, Huizache, Yellow Medicine Review, and on HBO and NBC. Joaquín has shared a stage with the likes of Billy Collins, Alicia Keys, Kanye West and the late Maya Angelou among others. Joaquín will graduate with his MFA in Creative Writing with a Concentration in Poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe in May of 2017. Joaquín has two passions in his life, his wife Aída and poetry, always in that order.

Rod Carlos Rodriguez (Stryker), State Feature (2012 AIPF Feature)
Rod Carlos Rodriguez has been writing for over 30 years. His first book, Exploits of a Sun Poet (Pecan Grove Press, February 2003), was awarded the San Antonio Barnes and Noble/Bookstop Author-of-the-Month, February 2003 and also the San Antonio Current Best Book of 2005. His 2nd book, Lucid Affairs, was published by Sun Arts Press. Human Error Publishing published his 3rd book, Native Instincts. Rod began the Sun Poetic Times literary-visual arts magazine in 1994, founded the Sun Poet's Society in 1995 which celebrated its 20th Anniversary in March 2015. Rod was nominated for the San Antonio Poet Laureate in April 2012, April 2014, and April 2016.

Jena Kirkpatrick, State Feature (2011 and 2012 AIPF Feature)
Jena Kirkpatrick, Poet for Hire, is publisher and editor of the poetry anthology, Writing for Positive Change, for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Texas. Jena is a poetry instructor for Badgerdog Literary Publishing in schools throughout Austin working with elementary students to publish the anthology, Rise. The Trio of Poets: Timothy Mason, Regie Gibson and Jena Kirkpatrick tour nationally opening for musicians and leading creative writing workshops. Jena was featured in Poets and Writers Magazine and The Austin American Statesman this year. She writes poems for clients worldwide. Jena recently released her first poetry and music compellation CD, Dangerous Snakes, featuring 20 years of poems accompanied by a variety of Austin’s most talented musicians. Over the last two decades, Jena has self-published seven books; co-written, directed and produced three multi-media performance art shows; and competed in two National Poetry Slam competitions. Her performance art show, Urban Myths was performed summer 2012 at the Hollywood, New York and Amsterdam Fringe Festivals. When it’s warm here in Texas Jena can be found surfing behind a speedboat on Canyon Lake. 

Dillon McKinsey, National Feature (2009 and 2013 AIPF Feature)
Dillon McKinsey is now living in North Dakota. Dillon lived in Austin 17 years and has served on the founding board of the Austin Poetry Slam; a three term president of the Austin Poetry Society; past editor of the Monthly Bulletin and member of the Poetry Society of Texas; a past Board member of the Austin International Poetry Festival; and as the Executive Editor of Ardent, a journal of poetry published by Poetry in the Arts. Dillon was the producer, host, and Programmer of Record of the KOOP Radio show, Writing on the Air. He also served on the Board of Directors, KOOP Radio, 91.7 FM. His poetry has been published by Wings Press in In These Latitudes, and has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies nation wide, including in the Wall Street Journal. In 2010 he was a featured poet at the American Writers’ Festival in Singapore and invited to return to the festival in 2012. He is also a Trustee of the Institute for Neuroscience and Consciousness Studies. Dillon holds dual Master’s Degrees in Public Administration and Clinical Psychology, the later having a specialization in dream work. He has over 40 years of nonprofit experience.

Gia Scott-Heron, National Feature
Gia Louise Mitsuko Scott-Heron (more commonly known as Miss Gia) has been writing songs, poetry, essays and short stories since the age of ten.  She graduated with Honors from Pitzer College in 2002.  Her major, not surprisingly, was English World Literature and Creative Writing.  In addition to performing with her Father, the late great Gil Scott-Heron, she has shared the stage with Brian Jackson, Saul Williams, Kim Fields, Umar Bin Hassan of The Last Poets, Planet Asia, Dwight Tribe, and Ursula Rucker among many others.  She has performed at the most popular venues throughout her hometown of Los Angeles including: Da' Poetry Lounge, SWAAM (Spoken Word Art and Music), The World Stage, and The Conga Room to name a few.  She has hosted numerous poetry events and open mics including Pi Society, Barra, and Flight School Open Mic.  She was a member of the 2011 Damn Slam Team and in August of that year was featured in The Los Angeles Times.  She has been a featured poet on a number of radio programs including but not limited to: One Mic, One Voice, and KPFK's Beautiful Struggle, and Safe Harbor.  In addition, Miss Gia is an accomplished writer and author who has published three chapbooks "Introducing Me", "SCOTT FREE" and Contagias. Her most recent project "The Difference" was released in April. It is her 2nd album, and is currently being considered for a Grammy nomination by the Recording Arts Academy.

Robert Lee Brewer, National Feature (2011 and 2014 AIPF Feature)
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which includes editing Poet’s Market, writing a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, managing the Poetic Asides blog, and a whole lot more. A former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, he’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53) and two sold out chapbooks. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer.

Bob (Mud) McMahon, International Feature (2007-2011 AIPF Feature)
Bob (Mud) McMahon has lived and worked in several countries as a teacher of English; predominantly in China.  He has exhibited ceramic sculptures, drawings and paintings and held international contracts for literature and environmental music. Between performing at festivals, he has a long history of creative social activism.  For the last decade, he has conducted free play groups and Earth Arts workshops at Northey Street City Farm, Brisbane, Australia, always advocating home schooling. He is well-known for playing hand-made flutes and didgeridoos.

Sue Littleton, International Feature (One of the Four Founders of AIPF)
Sue Littleton was born in Abilene, Texas, began writing poetry at age sixteen.  Her poems have been published in various anthologies and on-line literary magazines. John Horvath of Poetry Repairs is preparing an issue dedicated to Sue’s poetry.  Over the years Sue became fascinated with history and refers to herself as an “investigative poet,” as many of her poems have historical references which are carefully researched.  Her bilingual epic poem, Corn Woman, Mujer Maíz, is the history of corn, which at the same time is the history of the great civilizations of the Americas, before and after the Conquest.  Her book The Ranch on the PecosRiver is dedicated to the history of her maternal grandparents’ sheep ranch in Southwest Texas.   She has 18 self-published books. 

Ranju Bhatia, International Feature
Ranju Bahtia has twelve years teaching experience in primary school, over ten years of experience blogging and writing for digital media and two years of experience with Madhuban Publications, editing and proofreading Premchand’s novels as well as primary books. Her collective poetry books include, Pagdandiyan (also worked as the Editor for the book), Pushp Pankhuri, Stri Ho Kar Sawal Karti Hai (Poems about women rights) [Bodhi Prakashan], Balarka,  Gulmohar, Tuhin Gunj, Apni Apni Dharti (Mandvi Prakashan), Naari Vimarsh, Gulmohar (Hindi Yugm Prakashan) and Sirf Tum. Ranju’s achievements include, the Tarkash Golden Pen Winner in 2007, the Best Hindi Blogger Award in 2009, the Best Science Blogger Association Award in 2009 and the Hindi Yugm Samsher Ahmed Khan Children’s Literature Award in 2011. Ranju’s has a new book coming out, Amrita and I.

Special Guest Poets:

Bucolics Anonymous (Local Special Guests)
Bucolics Anonymous honors and celebrates nature and gardens in poetry and in music. Front-man Thom the World Poet reads a mixture of his own work, along with those of Naomi Shihab Nye, Hāfez, Thomas Hardy, Rumi, and the poetic prose of Guardian writer Paul Evans. These are all set to music by Darrel Mayers (leader of Bucolics), and performed with a 3 or 4 piece folk band. They normally perform in community gardens and on farms -but are delighted to return to the AIPF on this important anniversary, six years after our last performance at Ruta Maya. 

Jason Edwards (Local Special Guest)
In 1997 Jason joined the Dallas Slam Team and the next year he and his team got the 1st perfect score for a group piece in slam history and won 2nd place in the 1998 National Poetry Slam(which Time Magazine described as "triumphant"). Jason moved to Austin in 2000 and that summer went on a national tour as part of "SlamAmerica" on a giant bus with 100 other poets and got to perform shows across the country, even to some of his biggest inspirations. In 2001 Jason formed with Ragan Fox "TriggerHappyJacks", a gay performance troupe combining poetry, performance art, theater and comedy. Three years prior Jason lost his trans-sister in a tragic car accident and at the same time was experiencing the beginnings of schizoprenia and at the peak of what was becoming a promising artistic career he unraveled completely and stopped spoken word altogether for many years. Through the years he went through many different combinations of medicated states and finally found the right combination to begin to grow once more. He began to write again and in this period began to blossom as a writer not having to worry about competitions or other writers. In 2011 he recorded an album with his partner and didn't show anyone except a select few friends. He began writing more, performing to his husband and sometimes his dog (who was a very very good audience member). In May of 2015, Jason was asked to be featured as part of the 20th Anniversary of the Austin Slam and performed in front of all his peers for the first time in over a decade and brought the house to tears and silence.  Last summer he had the honor of opening up for the U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.

Joyce Gullickson (Local Special Guest)
Joyce Gullickson lives in Sun City, Texas with her husband, Mike.  She works as a Registered Nurse while following the true desire of her heart to write poetry.  She believes poetry has the ability to uplift and unite us, promoting change.  Joyce has been published in Sunscripts, AIPF’s di-vêrsé-city, and When Time and Space Conspire.  She co-edits the Enigmatist, with her husband Mike; and Blue Hole, a poetry chapbook of the Georgetown Poetry Festival.

Mike Gullickson (Local Special Guest)
Mike Gullickson has published poems in The San Antonio Express, Affirming Flame, The Via Bus System, and the anthology, When Time and Space Conspire. His poem A Promise of Music won first place in a contest which allowed him the right to be the National Senior Poet Laureate in 2009. He publishes The Enigmatist and Blue Hole magazines with his wife Joyce. They also host The Georgetown Poetry Festival, a free festival which has readings and workshops. Any interest in publication or info on the festival, please contact poetkind@yahoo.com . His book A Promise of Music is available on Amazon.  

Ralph Hausser (Local Special Guest)
Ralph Hausser (Pluto) is a long time Austin poet, writer and past member of the API Board. He assisted in producing the AIPF di-vêrsé-city Youth Anthology. He is a native of Bergen County, New Jersey. After serving in the US Army he moved to California where he received a BA in English from California State University, Northridge in 1969. He moved to Austin in 1971 and became a journalist for the Texas Economic Development Commission. He was a graduate student at the University of Texas around 1976 -1977. His work has appeared in Ardent, di-vêrsé-city, Eclipse, Pebble Lake Review, Poetography, Rio Review, Southern Poetry, and Texas Poetry Calendar. Ralph routinely reads his work and hosts poetry venues around Austin, TX.

Ken Jones (State Special Guest)
PoetKen Jones' creative work, nationally and internationally released and reviewed since the 1980's, including verse, music, plays, prose & other genres, sprays as naturally from him as cat urine. He has played numerous roles at AIPF beginning in 1998 as reader, featured poet, venue host, workshop facilitator & Board member and has appeared in many di-verse-city anthologies. He is currently relocating to Central Texas after a long exile in Houston. See www.poetken.com

Susan Summers (State Special Guest)
Susan Beall Summers is an over-educated, under-achiever who has traveled from the swamplands of South Georgia to the Pyramids of Egypt. She interviews poets for Texas Nafas, Channel Austin, is a member of Austin Poets International, Writer’s League of Texas, Austin Poetry Society, and Gulf Coast Poets. Publishing credits include Ilya’s Honey, Texas Poetry Calendar, Harbinger Asylum, Yellow Chair Review, Di-Verse-City, Heroine Chic, Crab Fat, Cattails, Frog Pond and others. She has a full-length collection and a chapbook. She has given feature performances across the country and remains unapologetic about her open mic addiction.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the festival also!