Write what you know,' the saying goes. But in author Chris Barton's Write What You’d Love to Learn presentation, based on his experiences with both playful picture books (including bestseller Shark vs. Train) and rigorously researched nonfiction (including 2020-21 Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List book What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan), he encourages young audiences to improve their own writing by giving the not-yet-known a try. Born and raised in Sulphur Springs and now a resident of Austin, Chris is the author of many other picture books, including both fiction (Fire Truck vs. Dragon, 88 Instruments, Mighty Truck) and nonfiction (The Day-Glo Brothers, Dazzle Ships, All of a Sudden and Forever, and Whoosh!). He's shared Write What You'd Love to Learn with first graders in just 30 minutes, he's delivered a full-day version to educators and librarians, and he's adapted it for many ages and lengths in between. It can include an emphasis on (and many examples of) the importance of research, revision, or collaboration. His 3 to 4 sessions per day can also include writing workshops for both fiction and nonfiction. Photo by Heather Gallagher Photography.
PO Box 66104
Austin, TX 78766
public performance/concert $750 - $3,000
school performance $1,650 - $2,250
workshop fees $1,650 - $2,250
travel/per diem/lodging $200 - $500
State Artist Rosemary Catacalos
Rosemary Catacalos, 2013 Texas State Poet Laureate, was accidentally born in Florida during WWII of parents from San Antonio. She returned to San Antonio when she was three. Her poems are widely published in high school and college textbooks, among other venues. Her work has twice been collected in the annual Best American Poetry anthology and has earned fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Stegner Fellowship Program at Stanford University, and the Paisano Fellowship of the Texas Institute of Letters/University of Texas at Austin. One of her poems is included in Caroline Kennedy’s anthology, She Walks In Beauty, A Woman’s Journey Through Poems. Ms. Catacalos’ first full-length collection, Again for the First Time received the 1985 Texas Institute of Letters poetry prize. Again for the First Time was reissued in 2013 on its thirtieth anniversary. Also published in 2013 was a chapbook of newer poems, Begin Here, also from Wings Press.
1018 Avant Ave
San Antonio, TX 78210
public performance/concert $700 - $3,000
school performance $300 - $700
workshop fees TBD
Chris Espinosa XYZ: Improvise! Write! Perform!
Your students take center stage to create exciting and unforgettable moments using nothing but their imaginations. Chris Espinosa XYZ, arts integrated teaching artist, improv-storyteller, and author, uses improv comedy to sharpen creativity, develop critical thinking skills, and inspire students to write a narrative or expository, and perform it! Espinosa's five-day residencies and workshops motivate students to write in class and for 'The Test.' Even reluctant writers will want to write! Chris has implemented over 100 residencies (2,000+ classroom hours) and helped thousands of elementary and middle school students write their stories and essays. Many of the schools that hosted his program experienced higher test scores. His Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills-based lessons focus on ideas, voice, and word choice; he adapts his program to support the writing methods in your classrooms. Chris is an author of two books; completed improv training from an original member of the Groundlings; founded two improv comedy groups; and traveled as an improv-storyteller for a live cotton-tail bunny and a robot dog. 'Chris Espinosa provided an engaging week of writing…His exuberant personality hooked the fourth-grade students...The connections we made with him and the artistry we experienced have left a lasting impression.' Kimberly Paul, Basswood Elementary (Keller, Texas). Photo provided by artist.
2104 Old York Dr.
Keller, TX 76248
public performance/concert $550 - $1,050
school performance $550 - $1,050
workshop fees $1,850 - $3,500
travel/per diem/lodging $100 - $300
State Artist Carrie Fountain
Carrie Fountain’s poems have appeared in Tin House, Poetry, and The New Yorker, among others. Her debut collection, Burn Lake, was a National Poetry Series winner and was published in 2010 by Penguin. Her second collection, Instant Winner, was published by Penguin in 2014. Fountain’s debut novel, I’m Not Missing, was published in 2018 by Flatiron Books (Macmillan). Her forthcoming children’s book on the life and legacy of poet W.S. Merwin will be published by Candlewick Books. Born and raised in Mesilla, New Mexico, Fountain received her MFA as a fellow at the James A. Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. Currently writer-in-residence at St. Edward’s University, she is the host of KUT’s This Is Just to Say, a radio show and podcast where she has intimate conversations with America’s most influential poets. Fountain lives in Austin with her husband, playwright and novelist Kirk Lynn, and their two children.
public performance/concert $2,000 - $4,000
school performance $1,500 - $3,000
workshop fees $2,500 - $4,000
State Artist Laurie Ann Guerrero
Laurie Ann Guerrero, 2016 Texas State Poet Laureate, was born and raised in the Southside of San Antonio. She holds a B.A. in English Language & Literature from Smith College, where she received the Academy of American Poets Prize, and an MFA in poetry from Drew University. Her first full-length collection, A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying, received the 2012 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize and an International Latino Book Award, and was listed as one of 14 must-read works of Chicano literature by Rigoberto Gonzalez. Guerrero’s work has also been honored with the Panhandler Chapbook Award, and grants from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation. In 2014, Guerrero and was appointed poet laureate of San Antonio by Mayor Julian Castro. Her latest collection, A Crown for Gumecindo, was released by Aztlan Libre Press in spring 2015.
Faylita Hicks (she/her/they) is the author of HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019), Editor-In-Chief of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, an organizer with social justice nonprofit Mano Amiga, and a finalist for the 2018 PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship and the 2019 Palette Poetry Spotlight Award. Hicks was awarded fellowships and residencies from Lambda Literary and Jack Jones Literary Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and the 2020 Tin House Winter Workshop in creative nonfiction. Hicks is the 2009 Austin Poetry Slam Champion. Their work is published or forthcoming in POETRY Magazine, ITVS Independent Lens, Texas Monthly, Longreads, Adroit, Barrelhouse, Linden Avenue, Foglifter, The Rumpus, The Cincinnati Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, SLATE Magazine, Huffington Post, Texas Observer, Color Bloq, and others. Hicks offers creative writing workshops in poetry and nonfiction for adults, college students, and high school students; creative writing and resource workshops for at-risk students and justice-impacted community-based organizations; spoken word and hip hop performances for adults, college students, and high school audiences; and keynote speeches. Photo by Christopher Cardoza.
1951 Aquarena Springs Dr. #10105
San Marcos, TX 78666
public performance/concert $2,000 - $4,000
school performance $2,000 - $3,500
workshop fees $3,000 - $5,000
travel/per diem/lodging $1,500 - $2,500
Jasminne Mendez is a poet, playwright, educator, community organizer, and award-winning author. Mendez has had poetry and essays published by or forthcoming in The New England Review, The Acentos Review, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, The Rumpus, and others. She is the author of two poetry/prose collections: Island of Dreams (Floricanto Press, 2013) which won an International Latino Book Award, and Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays and Poetry (Arte Publico Press, 2018). She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and has received fellowships from Canto Mundo and the Kenyon Review Writer's Workshop, among others. She is an MFA graduate of the creative writing program at the Rainier Writer's Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University, and a University of Houston alum. She offers workshops, readings, talks, and performances that center around the intersections of Afro-Latinx identity and culture, chronic illness and disability, motherhood as a woman of color, borderlands, immigration, and what it means to be 'from everywhere and nowhere' all at once. She appeals to audiences as young as middle school and can tailor poetry, performance, and creative nonfiction workshops and events to both large and small audiences. Photo by Michael Leonard.
11742 N Michael Cir
Houston, TX 77071
public performance/concert $500 - $3,000
school performance $300 - $2,000
workshop fees $300 - $1,500
travel/per diem/lodging $100 - $1,500
State Artist Karla Morton
Karla K. Morton, 2010 Texas Poet Laureate, is an award-winning author and a celebrated poet and presenter. She has been described as “one of the more adventurous voices in American poetry,” but don’t let the title “poet” fool you– Karla is an outgoing, warm and energetic ball of fire that loves to promote poetry and the arts. She has spoken, offered workshops, and performed her poetry at venues and events across Texas. From small town classrooms to cancer support groups to large corporate conferences, Karla is comfortable in any crowd. Her poetry spans many subjects and forms and evokes laughter, tears, and inspiration. Karla is the author of Wee Cowrin' Timorous Beastie (a North Texas Book Festival Awards Finalist), Becoming Superman, Stirring Goldfish, Redefining Beauty (a 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Award Winner written during her journey through cancer), and 6 additional books. She has been featured on Good Morning Texas, NPR, ABC News and in newspapers across Texas. A Texas native and mother of two, Karla is a graduate of Texas A&M University and currently resides in Denton, Texas. Karla also offers presentations on her photography.
236 River Bend Trail
Combine, TX 75159
public performance/concert $400 - $1,200
school performance $400 - $600
workshop fees $400 - $1,200
Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton
Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton is an internationally known poet, educator, activist, Poet Laureate Emeritus of Houston, Texas, and author of Newsworthy (Bloomsday Literary). Formerly ranked the #2 Best Female Poet in the World, she was the founder of the longest-running poetry slam venue in Houston, Texas (Houston VIP Slam). Her work has appeared in Houston Noir by Akashic Press (2019), Black Girl Magic by Haymarket Books (2019), Fjords Journal, Crab Orchard Review, and on such platforms as NPR, BBC, ABC, Blavity, Upworthy, and TedX. A fellow with the Writer's Hotel and the Poetry Incubator, D.E.E.P.’s collaborations with the Houston Ballet, the Houston Rockets, and Houston Grand Opera have opened new doors for performance poetry. As a finalist for Texas Poet Laureate, a Kennedy Center Citizen fellowship, and the prestigious Breadloaf Retreat, her work has been highlighted and studied in Canada, England, New Zealand, and Germany. She had the pleasure of performing and leading a workshop at the Leipzig in Autumn literary festival in 2018, where she bridged the gap between the slam and international publishing communities. She offers workshops, performances, professional development, and dramaturgy services. Photo by Paula Lu.
19410 Clevera Walk Ln
Houston, TX 77084
public performance/concert $2,000 - $10,000
school performance $1,500 - $7,000
workshop fees $1,000 - $5,000
travel/per diem/lodging $250 - $3,000
Amalia Ortiz appeared on three seasons of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO. NBC Latino named her book, Rant. Chant. Chisme., one of '10 Great Latino Books of 2015.' It won the 2015 Writers' League of Texas Poetry Discovery Prize. Amalia spoke at TEDx McAllen 2015. She was awarded an Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Grant and a writing residency at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. She is a CantoMundo Fellow, a Hedgebrook writer-in-residence alumna, and she was the inaugural performing-artist-in-residence at ArtPace in 2018. She was awarded a National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Fund for the Arts Grant to film music videos for her latest book, The Cancion Cannibal Cabaret (Aztlan Libre Press). Amalia received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Amalia is available for spoken word performances, writing workshops, and the performances of her latest book/punk musical, The Cancion Cannibal Cabaret, with her band, Las Hijas de la Madre. Photo by Gladys Ornelas.
127 East Drexel Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78210
public performance/concert $750 - $2,000
school performance $500 - $1,000
workshop fees $500 - $1,000
travel/per diem/lodging $500 - $3,000
2018 Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs Houston Resident Artist Program and 2017 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Idea Fund grant recipient, Emanuelee Outspoken Bean is a performance poet, writer, compassionate mentor, electric entertainer, and educator. He was a 2011 Texas Poet Laureate nominee, ranked 9th in the Individual World Poetry Slam 2013, ranked 2nd in collaborative poetry at Group Piece Finals 2013, and ranked 9th at National Poetry Slam 2014. He started performing spoken word in 2005. Bean also works with youth organizations from across the country such as Inside Out in Detroit, Youth Speaks in San Francisco, and Tigertail Productions' 2016 youth slam, WordSpeak, in Miami. While balancing a very busy touring schedule, in Houston Bean serves as the project coordinator/lead coach/mentor for Meta-Four Houston, a project of Writers in the Schools (WITS) that works with professional performance/slam poets and encourages self-expression/literacy among Houston's youth through creative writing and performance. He also has a one-man show, 'Converse,' which is an interactive theatrical story-telling based on Bean, a heartbroken, outspoken, comedic, military brat. The dramatic and provocative show lures the audience into joining a long-overdue conversation about mistakes, redemption, and the power of words. Photo by Tally Mark Photos.
1127 Usener Street
Houston, TX 77009
public performance/concert $750 - $4,000
school performance $750 - $2,000
workshop fees $500 - $1,500
travel/per diem/lodging $100 - $1,500
State Artist David M. Parsons
David M. Parsons, 2011 Texas State Poet Laureate, poems are straightforward, vivid writing bringing settings alive, shaping intimate portrayals of everyday life. His poetry speaks from the past and the present, balancing ordinary and extraordinary experiences. Audiences and readers will find in his most celebrated work: award-winning poems found in as diverse locales as a romantic, historic house in England to another favorite about the poet running into President Lyndon Johnson in an iconic Austin restaurant. His latest works are also included with new revelations that will bring what has become a Parsons Poem trademark, the rewarding discovery of a transforming moment.
414 Oakhill Dr.
Conroe, TX 77304
public performance/concert $500 - $1,000
school performance $300 - $500
workshop fees $300 - $500
State Artist Emmy Perez
Emmy Perez, 2020 Texas Poet Laureate, moved to the Texas borderlands because of her mother's stories about their family history in El Paso and Chihuahua. Pérez is the author of With the River on Our Face and Solstice and her work is anthologized in numerous collections. She is a former recipient of poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, CantoMundo, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. A graduate of Columbia University and the University of Southern California, Pérez has been a member, since 2008, of the Macondo Writers Workshop founded by Sandra Cisneros for socially engaged writers. Currently, she serves on the organizing committee for CantoMundo, a national literary organization for Latinx poets and is a member of the Poets Against Walls collective. Pérez is Professor of Creative Writing and Associate Director of the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Photo by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
public performance/concert TBD
school performance TBD
travel/per diem/lodging $500 - $800
State Artist Jan Seale
Jan Epton Seale, 2012 Texas Poet Laureate, is a native Texan. She is familiar with much of Texas, having lived in north and central Texas as a youth, with summers spent in the Panhandle, and living in South Texas all of her adult life. Seale received her education at Baylor University, the University of Louisville, and the University of North Texas. She has taught English and creative writing at three Texas universities. Her life’s work includes eight books of poetry, two of short fiction, three of nonfiction, and several children’s books and dramas. Apparent in her writing is her interest in the people and places of Texas, as well as those of the Southwest and the wider world. Her short stories have been described as a “capable evocation of peculiar personalities” with a “sense of nostalgia and richly drawn places”…“all ending in epiphany.” Her poems are said to be “both beautifully witty and serious.” Seale is at home with many types of audiences. She particularly enjoys college groups, civic and writers’ organizations, nature lovers, elder learners, women, and church lay-groups. Comfortable on stage or in small gatherings, with sensitivity to and rapport with her audiences, her presentations are noted for their humor and accessibility. Seale is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, the Texas Folklore Society, the Poetry Society of Texas, the Story Circle Network, and the Texas Writers’ League.
400 Sycamore Ave.
McAllen, TX 78501
public performance/concert $300 - $500
school performance $100 - $200
workshop fees TBD
Ire'ne Lara Silva
Ire’ne Lara Silva is the author of three poetry collections, Furia, Blood Sugar Canto, and CUICACALLI/House of Song, and a short story collection, Flesh to Bone, which won the Premio Aztlán. She and poet Dan Vera are also the co-editors of Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzaldúan Borderlands, a collection of poetry and essays. Ire’ne is the recipient of a 2017 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant, the final recipient of the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, the Fiction Finalist for AROHO’s 2013 Gift of Freedom Award, and the 2008 recipient of the Gloria Anzaldúa Milagro Award. Ire'ne is currently working on her first novel, Naci, and a second collection of short stories titled The Light of Your Body. Tour offerings include keynote addresses, readings of all her published work, including poetry, essays, and short stories, and seven writing workshops of varying lengths open to writers of all skill levels and genres. Topics include Gritos as the Source of Our Voices, Writing the Difficult, Women Writing Graphic Sex, Dismantling Doubt, Forget Discipline: Wanting Your Way Through Writing, Telling the Truth, and Essentials of Fiction. Photo by Octavio Quintanilla.
Ire'ne Lara Silva
409 E. William Cannon #107
Austin, TX 78745
public performance/concert $500 - $2,500
school performance $500 - $2,500
workshop fees $500 - $2,500
travel/per diem/lodging $300 - $750
State Artist Carmen Tafolla
Dr. Carmen Tafolla, 2015 Texas State Poet Laureate, is known internationally for her moving inspirational performances and heart-felt poetry readings. A poet, children’s writer, performance artist, storyteller, motivational speaker, and Associate Professor at UTSA, Tafolla was chosen in 2012 as the first Poet Laureate of the City of San Antonio. Her mission as State Poet Laureate is to plant seeds of poetry all over Texas through her “Poet Trees” initiative, sponsored by UTSA, in which twenty public schools with predominantly low-income student populations will be chosen to receive books and workshops free of charge between August 2015 and April 2016. Dr.Tafolla also conducts dramatic performances, keynotes, readings and workshops in English and Spanish to all age groups. The author of more than 20 books, her work appears internationally in five languages, in journals, magazines, newspapers, college textbooks, and elementary school readers, and she has won numerous awards including the Américas Award, the Charlotte Zolotow, the Art of Peace, two Tomas Rivera Book Awards, and five International Latino Book Awards.