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Bartula and Alvaré to Headline Poetry Café

Lena Bartula

By Maia Williams, photos by Phillip Alvaré

On Tuesday, April 19, at 5pm, Poetry Café Bellas Artes will feature poetry, including ekphrastic works, by two of San Miguel’s multi-talented residents, Lena Bartula and Phillip Alvaré.

Poetry Café Bellas Artes Presents:
Lena Bartula, Phillip Alvaré, and more
Tue, Apr 19, 5pm
Bellas Artes
Hernández Macías 75
Sala Literaria, 1st Floor
Suggested donation 50 pesos

Ekphrasis is the ancient tradition of writing descriptive verse about works of art. In recent years it has experienced resurgence. An early example of ekphrasis is the description of Achilles’ shield found in the epic Greek poem, The Iliad, attributed to Homer (850 B.C.E.).

April’s Poetry Café will also feature a group of poets reading their ekphrastic works inspired by Lena Bartula’s Hilos (Threads), an evocative and thought-provoking art exhibition on display now through April 24 in Gallery One of Bellas Artes. If you’d like to participate, please see the call for submissions at the end of this article.

A visual artist for more than 35 years, Lena Bartula creates conceptual works including installation, mixed media, and collaborative community projects. Since 2001, Lena has considered writing among her passions. Her poems, essays, and short stories have appeared in Nimrod International Journal, Dry Ground: Writing the Desert Southwest, and Foreign Ground: Travelers’ Tales, Solamente en San Miguel, Zingology, and Dream Network Journal. Lena has made her home in Mexico since 2004.

“Weaving words, spinning tales, telling stories, common threads, women’s work, social fabric, mending, stitching, all these wordplay connections have birthed this ekphrastic collaboration with Maia Williams and the Literary Sala. I’ve created poems from art and art from poems in the past, never knowing there was a long and ancient history of this process.” –Lena Bartula

Philip Alvaré was most recently editor/co-creator of AVENUE Magazine, San Miguel. His work has appeared in Cimarron Review, and The Wolf London is archived in the Saison Poetry Library, London, featured in El Labyrinth, the literary supplement to El Milena Dario, Mexico City, Subtropics Magazine, Verse Daily, and other publications. He received the 2011 W.D. Snodgrass Award for Poetic Excellence and Endeavor and was the Arts and Culture Columnist for Inside Out magazine, a regional NY publication based in the Hudson Valley. His stories have appeared in Berkshire Living, Westchester Cottages & Gardens, New England Journal of Arts and Antiques, 1STDIBS.COM, and other publications.

Phillip served as a coordinating producer with WGBH/PBS Boston and as special consultant to PBS National Productions with additional credits as producer and production manager with ABC, NBC, and MGM-FOX as well as other US national and regional production companies. He was awarded the National Educational Film and Video Festival Gold Apple as co-producer on an NSF grant to the Harvard-Smithsonian Science Media Center, served as a lecturer at the Graduate School of Broadcasting and Film, Boston University, and co-founded Stage source, Boston. Phillip also distinguished himself as owner of Botanic Antiques & Fine Arts in Hudson, New York, a gallery of late 18th- and 19th-century antiques, fine arts, and decorative elements, and has served on a variety of boards and associations. He was born and raised outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and educated at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a BA in theater arts and was selected for the Judy Lee Award in Playwriting. He attended graduate studies at The Annenberg School for Communication.

Call for Submissions by April 17: Members of the community and visitors to San Miguel are invited to visit Lena’s exhibit and submit, in English or Spanish, one to three poems or one prose piece of 750 words or less (English and/or Spanish) to (Subject Line: Threads) by April 17. If your work is selected, you will be invited to present it at the Poetry Café Bellas Artes on Tuesday, April 19.

Poetry Café Bellas Artes (August–April) features local and visiting poets—established and emerging—sharing their work in a casual setting. Please arrive a few minutes early. Seating is first come, first seated.


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