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‘Epic” poetry event comes to Des Moines April 2023


April is National Poetry Month. For the first time in nearly 20 years, Poetry& of Greater Des Moines is hosting Poetry Palooza! – an epic celebration of poetry and poets April 6-8, 2023. Current partners and sponsors of this inaugural event include Poetry&, Humanities Iowa, Iowa Poetry Association (IPA), Mainframe Studios, Dr. Richard Deming, and many other organizations and individuals who support enriching Iowa’s environment for Arts & Culture. Thanks to these partners, all events are FREE to attend. 

This free event welcomes six guest poets of renown to Greater Des Moines (their bios attached): 

  • Two current state Poets Laureate – Deb Marquart (Iowa) and Matt Mason (Nebraska) 
  • Two former state Poets Laureate – Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg (Kansas) and Catherine Stewart-Nunez (South Dakota) 
  • Cameroonian Artist-Poet Akwi Nji 
  • Spoken Word Poet Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey 

Free-to-the-public, Poetry Palooza! launches Thursday evening at Franklin Jr High Event Center auditorium (4801 Franklin Avenue) with the IPA Poetry Slam Final Stage. Top poets from earlier qualifying rounds will compete for the title of State Champion and the opportunity to represent Iowa at a national slam event in June. Akwi Nji will serve as the slam’s featured poet. 

Friday features the Poets Laureate, Nji and Rainey in workshops at Franklin, Oakridge Neighborhood and area schools. Friday evening guest poets will read and perform at Mainframe Studios (900 Keo Way) at 7 p.m. (All events are free, but online reservations are recommended!) The Poetry Palooza! will also bring local poets, artists and the public together for engaging experiences and workshops in various studios at Mainframe that evening. Open mic performances are slated for 5:30 p.m. on the fourth floor and 9 p.m. off the main lobby. 

On Saturday morning, free workshops will be held at Mainframe Studios for aspiring and emerging poets on how to hone their craft followed by a luncheon discussion on deepening the poetry community of the Midwest. 

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa (March)

Background: A group of accomplished Central Iowa women poets, professors, publicists, publishers, and philanthropists decided in mid-2022 the time was right to form a nonprofit organization called Poetry &. Since then, they have been planning Poetry Palooza! and hosting pop-up poetry events at various locations in Central Iowa. 

For additional details or reservations for Poetry Palooza! go to 

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