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VisArts announces inaugural Richmond Poetry Fest April 14-15

The Richmond Poetry Festival begins Friday, April 14th with a kick-off event, Of Use: A Poetry Reading + Celebration.  From 6 – 8 p.m. in VisArts’ Dominion Energy Room.

Trevor Dickerson



The Visual Arts Center of Richmond has announced an inaugural Richmond Poetry Fest will take place at VisArts on April 14-15, just in time for National Poetry Month. Richmond Poetry Fest is a brand new VisArts event co-created by former and current VisArts writers-in-residence: Rosa Castellano, Laura Chow Reeve and Emily Okamoto-Green. These three came up with the idea for a festival that celebrates poetry, highlights our local writing community and invites the public to experience poetry in many ways. The festival is a free community event supported by the Carole Weinstein Endowment for Creative Writing.

“The festival is a celebration of poetry, but also of the vibrant writing community here in Richmond!” Says Rosa Castellano, VisArts’ 2019-20 Creative Writing Resident who now serves as VisArts’ Writing Engagement Coordinator. “Poetry is a special kind of writing and so it needed a special kind of celebration—a festival to bring together Richmond’s diverse writing communities to share what makes each so vibrant and necessary to the whole.”

VisArts’ interim Executive Director, Jordan Brown, agrees with the sentiment behind the festival, “VisArts has a thriving creative writing program that’s been growing now for many years. The festival honors our role as a hub for creative writers, while also honoring Richmond’s rich poetry scene and the community around it. The weekend will be welcoming to poets and poet-appreciators and will include readings, workshops, vendors, and activities for poets and artists of all levels and ages.”

The Richmond Poetry Festival begins Friday, April 14th with a kick-off event, Of Use: A Poetry Reading + Celebration.  From 6 – 8 p.m. in VisArts’ Dominion Energy Room. Friday evening kickoff will feature readings by VisArts’ current writer-in-residence, Emily Okamoto Green and others including Tara Burke, Catherine Carson, Rosa Castellano, Kristina Hammet, Lauren Minor and Laura Chow Reeve.

The festivities continue from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 15th with:

  • Readings that take place in the True F. Luck gallery will feature local poets, VisArts writing teachers and students, and spoken word performances.
  • Workshops: A free poetry workshop with writer-in-residence Emily Okamoto Green!
  • Activity Tables: Guests can experiment with poetry comics and zines, letterpress, black out poetry, paint chip poetry, and poetry jewelry!
  • Tablers & Vendors: Guests can check out and celebrate the vibrancy of our Richmond literary and arts community by meeting folks from literary organizations such as Richmond Young Writers, The Writers Den, James River Writers, and Appomattox Regional Governor’s School. Shop local with vendors such as Shelf Life Books, Three to Em Prints, Blue Skies Workroom, and Merenda Cecelia.
  • Related Events/Classes will occur at VisArts on Saturday, April, 15 such as Tiny Books, Big Charm with Alyssa Salomon which guests can register for and take during Richmond Poetry Fest.

For information on how to support, participate or get involved contact VisArts’ Writing Engagement Coordinator, Rosa Castellano, [email protected].

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.