You can see what I see... 



To one and all, 

Welcome to the blog page for the Word Around Town (WAT?!) Poetry Tour. As we get closer and closer to the actual tour, a few of us will upate this blog and give you an inside look at what it is like setting up and creating a really neat experience.

For those of you that don't know the ins and outs - the WAT?! Poetry Tour is a 7 day marathon of poetry: 7 nights of poetry across 7 different venues, one night a week, all week. The line up has changed since way back in 06' and this year's selection should prove to be another amazing conglomerate.

Currently, we are up to our elbows figuring out final venues as well as working on a fundraiser, a audio collection of the poets AND a possible ANTHOLOGY (whhhhhhaaaaa?!? - yep, shuddup and keep checking back here every once in a while to get updates!).

Today's blog will be a bit of insight - particularly my take on the WAT?! Poet Draft. I could kick myself in the ass for missing it, but grown folk have grown folk business and I had to take care some of that (*note: I am in an MFA candidate at the Univ. of Texas at El Paso, and my poetry class had workshop that night - its intense and I love it- but that night, I had to attend). My amazingly flexible partners in crime, Joe B, Blanca Alanis and Stephen Gros all agreed that yes, I could miss and that yes, they would film the WAT?! Poet Draft and I would be able to review and make my judging call the next day.


To say that i missed on something amazing - that is quite the understatement. Fuck right, I missed out on such an amazing energy level, such a celebration of poetic word, such diversity. I am still shaking my head over it.  Blanca, Joe and Stephen and poets on Facebook kept me up to date on all their perspectives on that night and that made me impacient as ever to get a hold of the video from that night. Stephen work his ass off and was able to transfer the filming onto my computer and all I had to do was go home and watch. 

I thought it would such- not being able to experience the intesity, respond to emotive direction from poets on stage, hell, even order a drink from Taft, I was missing out on all that. BUT, the cool thing with technology - I got the best part: I can play that night back over and over if I wanted to. That makes me smile. 

Watching the draft from the comfort of my couch made me feel way geeky, but it was awsome. It felt like I was watching some uncut documentary, an amazing capture of word and voice without the distractions. The most amazing part, it didn't affect my judging. It actually made it much clearer for me. - Due to the fact that it is all on video, I was able to detach myself from the "awe" of it all. I was able to concentrate, really concentrate on the performances and the words of the poets. If I didn't understand a word or two from that poet, I took a moment, backed up the vid and gave a listen, sometimes, it was me that missed a word and sometimes, it was the poet, who didn't quite annunciate. It was cool. It was damn near amazing. I skipped back a few times to see facial expressions and gestures from poets and the connection to the words pouring out of their mouths, and it was spectacular. I think by the time we met up to make our decision - which was as difficult as hell, mind you, I came into the meeting, just as informed and just as ready to explain my selections as the rest of the team. 

TO ALL THE POETS THAT TOOK THE STAGE THAT NIGHT - you have my gratitude and my admiration. It takes alot of heart and soul to rise and speak a piece in front of many folks, some of whom you may not know in front of 3 or 4 people that will judge you. You made it look slick. You made that night your own. 

TO THE POETS THAT WERE SELECTED - thank you for your dedication. It is my hope, that this tour can be a way to honor your efforts in the Houston Poetry Community. It is my hope that Houston, the rest of the poetry community and us, the organizers can learn from you as much as you are about to learn about each other. Get ready for something amazing.

TO THE POETS THAT WEREN'T SELECTED - I will tell you what a fellow poet, Radames Ortiz told me as I began my submission efforts in poetry - "just because your work gets rejected, it does not mean its worthless, your work has merit. YOU created it, YOU crafted it." Keep doing what you are doing. Perhaps this draft wasn't the night for you. Join us again next year. You never know. - Ask Z.M. Wise and Jonathan Moody, they both tried out last year AND this year. Both are on the line-up now. Tenacity is name of the game.

TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC - be ready. Tell your friends, your lovers, your enemies. Poetry in this city is very much alive. It looks completely different than you might think and it lives all over town. It wants you to show up the first week in August and say hello. You will be a better person if you do. If you thought the draft was amazing - well, wait till you see us next.

Welcome to the 2013 Word Around Town Poetry Tour.



Lupe Mendez
Co- Organizer, Media Contact, Poet, Educator

Have a question? Then hit up here on the site.  



WAT?! kicked-off it's inaugural tour in the summer of 2006 with 12 poets. It was an incredible achievement and was completely unprecedented in the city of Houston, whose open mic poetry community was considered fringe and certainly not cohesive or inclusive. At the time poets were loyal to their local open mic and most poets didn't go to the other open mics around town. Zelene Pineda's ground-breaking idea for an inner city tour that would highlight Houston's diverse and talented poets while introducing them to new venues and audiences was a concept desperately needed. With the help of renowned DJ and lyricist Joe B and Stephen Gros, the open mic host and co-founder of Panhandler Publishing, the idea became realized. To no one's surprise the tour was an unmitigated success that continues to grow and mature with every year.


The 2006 poet line-up: Aria, Joe B, Kool B, Eric Dominguez, Mille Fiori, Stephen Gros, Marlon Lizama, Jasminne Mendez, Lupe Mendez, Zelene Pineda, Jerome Washington and Mario Olvera.

2006 Participating venues: Bohemeo'sTaft St. Coffee, Helios, Gs&Zs, and Mocha Life. 

W.A.T?! gives thanks to all the participating venues, poets and volunteers who make this happen every year.​

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