McALLEN – Over the course of three days the Festival Internacional de Poesia Latinoamericano (FEIPOL) will commence at the McAllen Public Library main branch to promote poetry and other Latin American artistic CULTURES.

Organized by the Latin American Foundation for the Arts the event will also feature a published anthology featuring poets from Latin America and the United States.

Honor poets will represent El Salvador, Mexico, the United States and the Mayan nation. The poetry from the Maya nation will be recited in their native language.

The honor poets include Jorge Galan (El Salvador), Cristina Rivera Garza (Mexico), Jorge Miguel Cocom Pech (Mayan Nation), Felipe Montes (Mexico) and Rigoberto Gonzalez (United States).

“This is something that has never been done here,” board president and founder of FEIPOL Rossy Lima said. “Which is to highlight Latin American culture in all its forms.”

The festival will also local poets, poets from as far as Colombia as well as high school poets. It total there will be roughly 60 poets.

Lima said with the high school poets there was a call for submissions and more than nine high schools submitted 136 poems. From there Lima and the selection committee went with 119 poems.

Last year the festival did the same thing with high school students but the submissions were not up to par, this year Lima said expectations were blown through the roof.

“Especially with the quality of the work,” she said.

Seven high schools from the Rio Grande Valley, high schools in Mexico and one in Nicaragua. Guidelines for submissions were peace, being a high school student and submitting the poem. The poems were selected blindly and will be published in the 2017 anthology. Twenty students will read at the festival.

For Lima the high school submissions this year have been extra special due in part because of the number of students participating in the competition. It is difficult to reach out to students and ask for submissions. Lima has to go through the teachers so this means more educators are on board with having students submit poetry to the festival.

Local school districts with submissions include La Joya, Pharr San Juan Alamo, Valley View and Hidalgo.

“To me this was a dream come true,” Lima said of all the student submissions. “I'm a writer and I remember being in high school and feeling like there was nothing to do with poetry, no opportunities.”

For Lima poetry was something she kept to herself but seeing how 136 students are having this opportunity as well as the courage to submit overwhelms her with joy.

FEIPOL will take place at the McAllen Public Library main branch and the Art Village on Main where a gala will be held.

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