Ten years ago I participated for the first time in the Austin International Poetry Festival. Each year since then I’ve gone to Austin and stayed with my cousin, Theresa and her family during the week of the festival and in that time I was lucky enough to have a poem printed in their anthology, Diverse-city a total of five times. I bought the shirt for each year, met more poets, read some of my own work, attended workshops and expanded my horizons on each visit.
Over the years I had heard that there was another big poetry festival in a place called Round Top. When I first tried to research it I found that this was more a mixed media cultural festival and it was not until last summer that I found out more about it and a lot of the folks I met in Austin were going to both events. There were people who said Round Top was really good and I began to feel that I needed to go there and experience the differences.
On this year’s visit, my cousin was good enough to drive me to Dripping Springs to attend the Poetry group called Thirsty Thursdays hosted for the last eight years by Nancy Fierstien. To my delight some of the folks I am acquainted with from the Austin festival arrived and we had a grand evening of poetry, refreshments and music.
The next day was the beginning of my first Poetry@Round Top – Festival Hill, and there I found even more people from the Austin Festival. It really felt like old home week and as Joyce Gullickson said, this is our tribe. The nice thing about being in one place, an old estate with beautiful grounds and multitudes of beautiful views and being with so many really good poets, taking workshops, reading poetry, listening to great poetry, dining together was coming away feeling inspired, stimulated and feeling content having deepened bonds and feeling like the time was well spent.